Safety and OSHA News

OSHA’s new budget shows its upcoming priorities

Will OSHA conduct more inspections in federal Fiscal Year 2013 (FY 2013)? Will there be new regulations? And how does the agency plan to fund compliance assistance to companies? President Obama’s budget proposal shows what’s ahead.

The overall budget for OSHA would remain almost the same at $565 million, only a  0.12% increase over this year’s funding.

However, there’s some significant shifting of funds proposed.

The FY 2013 proposed budget includes a 23.5% increase, including 37 new employees, for the 21 whistleblower protection programs administered by OSHA.

The increase is to reduce the backlog of whistleblower claims and prepare for a high volume of complex cases with recently passed laws involving health care reform, food safety and finance reform. The current administration, compared to the previous one, has also done more to encourage workers to come forward with whistleblower complaints.

Another significant increase (+5%) would go to standard development. OSHA says it will continue to develop its proposed Injury and Illness Prevention Program standard which would require companies to develop and implement comprehensive safety plans to find and fix hazards.

In FY 2013, OSHA projects it will issue four final rules: Walking and Working Surfaces, Modernization of Recordkeeping and two consensus standard updates. Work also continues on standards for combustible dust and beryllium. Those two standards aren’t expected in 2013.

Funds for federal enforcement programs remain basically flat with just a small decrease. Despite that, OSHA intends to increase the number of federal inspections slightly. Inspections in FY 2012 (ending Sept. 30) are projected to be up 4% over the previous year. OSHA plans 43,100 inspections in FY 2013, a 2% increase over 2012. In FY 2011, federal OSHA conducted 40,648 inspections.

Federal funds going to the 27 state OSHA programs would also remain unchanged.

Federal compliance assistance funds would drop 4.2% under the proposal. OSHA will no longer offer its Corporate and Merit Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) to new sites starting in FY 2013.The VPP Star program would continue with OSHA adding 60 new sites, a decrease from 100 new facilities in 2012.

VPP Corporate extended the program across a large scale for bigger corporations. VPP Merit was designed for employers that have demonstrated the potential and commitment to achieve Star status but that need to further improve their safety and health management system and/or injury and illness performance. OSHA gives a Merit Program participant specified Merit goals that it must meet in order to achieve Star status and continue within VPP.

The decrease in funding for assistance programs comes as no surprise. The current administration has said it wants to continue with a balance of enforcement and assistance programs, but the emphasis has been greater on enforcement.

One assistance program would maintain its current funding. The On-site Consultation Programs administered at the state level would receive the same funding in FY 2013 as they are this year.

Of course, this just reflects the Obama administration’s request for 2013 funding. The president’s entire proposed budget must receive Congressional approval. These plans would also be likely to change if the president is not reelected.

To sum it up, funds for whistleblower programs would go up, enforcement funding would stay the same but there would be 2% more inspections, and some compliance assistance funding would be cut. What do you think of this proposal? Let us know in the comments box below.

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  1. I hope Obama is not reelected.

  2. It is insulting to me that this administration apparently thinks all businesses are out to hurt their employees. What business doesn’t know that safe, uninjured employees improve the bottom line figures?
    I realize there are some bad eggs in the group, but it’s clear this administration thinks all employers are irresponsible and unsafe.

  3. I agree with the two previous posts

  4. Safety Dave says:

    More workers are killed on the job every year than at War! 4,547 workers died on the job in 2010!!!

    “With every one of these fatalities, the lives of a worker’s family members were shattered and forever changed. We can’t forget that fact.” -Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor

    14,000 workers were killed every year prior to OSHA! I’d say we are getting the best bang for our tax dollars when investing in OSHA! God Bless!

  5. Here we go again Its bad for business!@!!!!

    Right and letting folk get killed or injured is appropriate so long as there is a profit

    And No the Administration does not think “all employers are irresponsible and unsafe.” But there are many that are look at this site OSHA’s site The Chemical Safety Boards site. There are enough employers out there that are irresponsible and unsafe that these organizations are needed. Every human is like a work of art there never was one like that and there will never be another one. That needs to be protected. Just think of your family being affected by poor or nonexistent safety on the job.

    Safety Dave I agree I was working when OSHA first started and lived with someone who had severly damaged lungs (May they rest in peace) from chemical exposure at work.

    Obama is looking out for us poor slobs who are the ones that get overlooked or are discarded when we become damaged goods.

    People need to look at the history of labor as it relates to business and the human condition.

    Just as the posts were on the employee who was trampled to death at a Target on Black Friday (LI, NY) a while ago……..Target protested a OSHA fine because there were no OSHA guidelines for crowd control or for Black Friday and Target said the General Duty Clause did not apply to this ……..incident.

  6. Editor’s note: It was Wal-Mart that was fined for the Black Friday employee trampling.


    Sorry Target

    Thank You Mr Hosier

  8. Nanny state. ‘Nuf said.

  9. The numbers are all there for everyone to see on the internet. In 2003 there was 5,575 fatalites in 2004 5,703 and on and on. Does OSHA make a difference today? Keep in mind OSHA generated $1.4 Billion Dollars last year. OSHA has become a revenue generating department, safety of workers is secondary. Mr. Employer is guilty until they spend unbelievable time and money to prove they are not guilty.

  10. Captain Safety says:

    More focus needs to be on compliance assistance rather than inspections. I agree with Mimi in regards to OSHA being more concerned with fining companies than actually preventing injuries. Andrea and Lori are morons.

  11. JHSchwelm says:

    OSHA’s new budget, well because there are only a few comments I read them all. I agree with all but it is common knowledge that OSHA is a self supporting agency and its role is not to prevent incidents but rather enforce compliance of the employers. It is an Employers role to provide preventative measures and ensure safe working environments for thier employees. That is not OSHA’s job. Theirs is of Compliance enforcement to ensure that industries are in compliance with the ANSI statutes that govern specific industries.

    If non-compliance is noted they bang ones doors with a monetary fine. That is the only thing a company understands, TAKING of MONEY. Thats what they do. Are they concerned with generating revenue, absolutely for sure! as that is where they will obtain their real spending money and the ability to grow and put on more inspectors. You all read the article, Their budget is about the same and has been for years.

    Until the Senators and Congressman who are in fact our leaders in Industry get on board with Safety compliance in their own factories and industries they will never allow OSHA to grow to the size it really needs to be to be instrumental in reducing incidents. It would reduce their productivity and of course profits.
    Charge on OSHA! I am a follower.

  12. JHSchwelm

    Well said and covered many things overlooked.

    Thank You

    Please all posters there is no reason to make negative remarks………All are entitled to their opinion I do not agree with many but all have the right to their opinion and to say it.

    Many of the folk on these forums may be very young and seem to be unaware of what working was like before OSHA, the Unions, the Labor board and the other agencies that try to make employers have safe workplaces. Apparently these folk are not aware of the human costs when things are not made safe there was no reasonable wage reasonable work hours/days or many of the other benefits we all enjoy that were established and a huge cost to folk.

    Some basic education on the history of work for the past 200 years may let some understand what has been accomplished……..Now way too many are too preoccupied with the profit margin and not the human costs associated with that margin.

    All can be accomplished profits, safe work places with reasonable wages work hours work days and many companies organizations do provide these things. Far too many are only looking at the profit.

  13. Clearly statistics were not accurately kept before 1970 where it was “estimated that 14,000 workers died on the job. By 2009 that reduced to 4,340, when records were kept. Somehow I do not believe the 14,000 number because statistically a heart attack on the job would be considered “died at work.” Accuracy is important in this discussion. Plus, we need to consider the total number of exposed employee increase. Just throwing out numbers is an OBAMA shell game. OSHA’s inforcement side has outlived its need. They have become a collection agency. They rarely take into consideration all that employers do to provide a safe and healthy workplace. Employee misconduct is rarely even considered. For alecfinn, go ahead start a business without a profit in the picture. Just start a business–first invite a union to run it for you, epa to regulate you out of existance, osha to fine you out of existance and the irs to take any profit you might have looked forward to. Unfortunately this has become the American way. Don’t believe me? Try to start a simple business.

  14. alecfinn says:

    Geeeezzzzz following that train of thought why try at all? I have never said that this was a perfect system but I was saying that we today enjoy the fruits of what came before us. At one point there was a 12 hour workday 6 day work week minimum pay was whatever the business decided was best. Safety for employees or the environment was not even an afterthought. PPE was only given to the fields where there was obvious danger there was no consideration given to any resource from human to the environment. Just look at what has happened below are some examples
    Ex: the fire depts. got helmets and fire-coats and frequently they had to pay for it themselves. Chemical companies sometimes provided PPE again frequently the employee has to pay for it. Someone got injured or killed on the job it was up to them or their families how they coped with medical care or how they would live without the financial support. Factories had locked doors no fire extinguishers no fire drills no egress points and doors kept locked to prevent theft so if there was a fire there was no escape. Companies disposed of their wastes in rivers or buried them in landfills causing pollution and illness resources were used up and there was no thought to conserving on any level. (Look at three mile island Love Canal, Chernobyl the BP plant in Texas that blew up killing several folk then after a few years later had a compressor valve break releasing tons of cancer causing gasses and chemicals in the air but did not shut the compressor down as it would have a poor effect of production a couple of years later that same plant had another explosion that killed folk. The town/city near the plant has an excessive cancer rate and is suing BP and that was before the Gulf incident. So it goes on and on.)
    Many businesses do look out for their people and the environment the same for unions but many do not, there is nothing wrong with making a profit if there was none we would all be in a mess. My comments are that…

  15. alecfinn says:

    2nd post
    I am long winded but for any interested here is the rest
    Many businesses do look out for their people and the environment the same for unions but many do not, there is nothing wrong with making a profit if there was none we would all be in a mess. My comments are that these organizations came into being because of what was happening to people and the environment. All of the above can turn around (just look what is and has been done) but only if all are working as partners.
    To think that all businesses are responsible and have a safe healthy work place is in my opinion naïve. I truly wish it were so just as I wish all the agencies from business to the government would work for the betterment of all human beings. However looking around I do not see that. Progress has been made but not enough. To say business will fix all it is also naïve as history has shown different. The only part of our society that can take on these tasks is the Government and that is not perfect as history has shown…….but then who should?

  16. This is late, but I couldn’t help mylsef. I used to work in an office that threw this huge party when they got OSHA’s VPP certification. Um When paper cuts are the largest safety risk, snagging an uber safety cert designed for a manufacturing facility seemed a bit like ganking people in the startings zones.I still have the celebratory jacket, though

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