“A less effective OSHA will not promote more jobs”

As Congress looks for ways to cut government spending and reduce the federal deficit, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has registered its opposition to a proposed 17.7 percent decrease in funding for OSHA.

In a letter sent to Rep. Dennis R. Rehberg (R-MT), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, ASSE president Darryl C. Hill, PhD, said that such a decrease would prevent the agency from performing the most basic work expected of it.

Hill urged Chairman Rehberg not to adopt the bill, saying that the proposed cuts could weaken OSHA and many of its programs.

“A less effective OSHA will not promote more jobs,” Hill stated. “And a three million dollar reduction in OSHA’s standard-setting resources will only delay the need to bring this nation’s hazard communications in line with the rest of the world, allowing our companies to better meet one set of global standards, helping them be more competitive in the world marketplace.

“Reducing by $41.3 million OSHA’s enforcement capability will have little effect on most of this nation’s employers already committed to safety and health without having to be told by OSHA to do so because they know it is good for their business as well as their workers. However, less enforcement will help keep OSHA from targeting their competitors who are not committed to safety and health and, so, compete unfairly with them,” Hill added. “Cutting $14.9 million, or 15 percent, of OSHA’s statutory commitment to state programs will only drive some state plans out of operation, taking away programs that our members believe are more flexible and more willing to work with employers cooperatively than if federal OSHA took over.”

ASSE is the oldest safety society (turning 100 this year) and represents more than 33,000 occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals who work with employers in a variety of industries throughout the world.