In a speech last week, OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels described current agency activities on a variety of fronts:

“We've increased our scrutiny of employer injury and illness reporting and "disincentive programs" that discourage workers from seeking and getting help when they're hurt on the job.

”We've overhauled OSHA's oversight of the 26 states that manage their own OSHA programs, to ensure consistency of quality and response and to build in measure that will alert us to any state programs that are underperforming.

”We've proposed a sweeping new standard that would move employers to think in broader terms about worker health and safety by mandating an Injury and Illness Protection Program in every workplace. This mandate seeks to focus on prevention by creating a culture of safety.

”We're also investing in prevention in the 2010 budget with more funds to support worker training through Susan Harwood Training Grants, more funds for the On-site Consultation Program, and more funds that have increased personnel by almost 30 percent to investigate whistleblower protection.

”No single solution is going to fix everything, and with a "frugal" budget — I'm being diplomatic here — OSHA has to make painful priority decisions.

It is becoming clear, though, what those priorities are.