2011 OSHA budget reflects increased enforcement, less compliance assistance

The proposed budget for OSHA in fiscal year 2011 would increase funding for standards development and the hiring of more inspectors, but compliance assistance programs and the Voluntary Protection Programs would take a hit. President Barack Obama issued the budget request Feb. 1, which includes a $573 million budget for OSHA -- a $14 million increase from FY 2010.

Under the proposed FY 2011 budget (.pdf file), 25 OSHA inspectors would be hired as part of a $10 million increase in federal enforcement funding, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in a recent Web chat. Standards development would receive a $4 million boost; OSHA plans to publish four final and four proposed rules in 2011.

Federal compliance assistance programs will lose about $3 million, and federal funding to VPP would be "significantly" reduced, according to Solis. Thirty-five inspectors currently performing compliance assistance work would be shifted to enforcement activities.

In other budgets:

  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration (.pdf file) requested about $361 million -- approximately $3 million more than 2010 -- including a more than $3 million increase to the metal and nonmetal mine safety and health program, and the elimination of the Small Mines Office.
  • NIOSH's proposed budget (.pdf file) is a significant increase from 2010 -- up nearly $83 million to more than $456 million, much of which will go toward almost doubling the amount of funding for the treatment and monitoring of responders and eligible non-responders of the World Trade Center attacks.
  • The Chemical Safety Board (.pdf file) requested more than $2 million in additional funding from 2010 for a nearly $13 million budget that would go toward a new office in the Houston area, a move prompted by a number of serious chemical accidents in the region.

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