Federal agencies

Safety agencies see no significant cuts in latest FY17 spending bill

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Photo: Senate Appropriations Committee

Washington – OSHA’s funding will remain unchanged for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 under a spending bill passed by Congress on May 4, although future funding remains unclear.

Meanwhile, NIOSH received a significant increase from what originally was proposed, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration received a relatively small cut.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act averted another government shutdown and kept the approximately $552.8 million allocated to OSHA for fiscal 2017, which ends Sept. 30. In July 2016, the House Appropriations Committee proposed cutting the agency’s funding by 3.3 percent, or $18.4 million.

NIOSH is slated for $335.2 million, far more than former President Barack Obama’s proposed budget expenditure of $213.6 million. The agency received about $339.1 million in fiscal year 2016.

Funding for MSHA is about $2.1 million lower than in fiscal year 2016, with a decrease of about $7.9 million for coal mine enforcement. The agency’s educational policy and development funding received a $3 million increase, and its metal/non-metal enforcement received a boost of about $2.8 million.

OSHA received an increase of a little more than $4.3 million for compliance assistance. The agency’s largest cuts were aimed at standards development ($2 million), and safety and health statistics ($1.35 million).

The cuts could go much deeper for fiscal year 2018, with President Donald Trump proposing a $2.5 billion decrease to the Department of Labor’s budget and elimination of the Chemical Safety Board, one of 19 independent agencies potentially on the chopping block.

More than a dozen safety-related organizations, including the National Safety Council, sent letters to the House and Senate appropriations committee leaders this year requesting that fiscal year 2018 funding for OSHA and NIOSH remain close to current levels.

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