OSHA’s request for a budget increase in Fiscal 2012, including funding for more inspectors, is likely to face substantial resistance from the Republican majority in the House if current activity is any indication.
OSHA is coming under attack from Republicans who say that OSHA regulations are hurting the ability of business to create new jobs. As part of a plan to cut this year’s federal budget, they’ve proposed a 20 percent reduction in OSHA’s current budget. That would amount to a $99 million reduction.
“The Republicans have proposed a 20 percent cut and given [that] half a year’s over, that really means a 40 percent cut,” OSHA administrator David Michaels says. “It would really have a devastating effect on all of our activities.”
Under the Obama Administration, OSHA has sharply ramped up enforcement, an approach that Republicans say threatens jobs. At a recent hearing on the issue, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, Michigan Republican Tim Walberg, questioned the agency’s priorities.
“Over the last two years, OSHA has not only attempted to implement several policy changes that would have profound impact on the workplace; it has become an administration more focused on punishment than prevention,” Walberg said. “Our goal should be to prevent workplace accidents before they happen, not simply shame an employer once a tragedy has occurred on the job site.”
Even if Republicans do not succeed in cutting this year’s budget, there are real questions about how far OSHA will get with its request for a 4 percent increase for next year. That plan includes a request for 25 additional OSHA compliance officers.
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