The writing was on the wall when OSHA said last year it was reviewing its Voluntary Protection Program. But now it’s official: The program is slated to get less funding in the President’s proposed 2011 budget.
VPP’s budget would decrease 4.1%. Simultaneously, OSHA’s enforcement budget would go up 4.5%, including the hiring of 25 new inspectors.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the administration is working to identify funding for VPP outside of the government.
Solis said, with scarce resources, OSHA has decided to redirect funds to enforcement, targeting companies that disregard workplace safety and allow workers to die.
Besides the new inspectors, OSHA will also shift 35 employees from its compliance assistance directorate to its enforcement department.
OSHA hopes to conduct 6,250 more inspections as the result of new and transferred employees.
OSHA administrator David Michaels noted that VPP companies are doing the right thing regarding worker safety. He said OSHA needs focus on employers who don’t understand the importance of protecting workers.
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