Obama administration seeks OSHA spending boost

Washington – President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2012 budget (.pdf file), released Feb. 14, would provide OSHA with a nearly $25 million increase.

Under the proposal, OSHA would receive a $583.4 million budget next year. The FY 2011 budget has not yet been approved by Congress, and federal agencies have been operating under FY 2010 budget levels since October. OSHA’s FY 2010 budget was $558.6 million.

Included in the new OSHA budget is nearly $26 million for the development of safety and health standards – a $6.4 million increase from FY 2010. During a Feb. 14 webchat, OSHA administrator David Michaels said the agency hoped to issue proposed rules on combustible dust, infectious disease and, his top priority, an injury and illness prevention program rule in 2012.

Federal enforcement would receive a $7.8 million increase, some of which would go toward the hiring of an additional 25 compliance officers, Michaels said.

In addition, funding for the Voluntary Protection Programs was restored. OSHA created a controversy last year by proposing to cut funding for the popular program. Michaels said OSHA’s original proposal – to find alternative sources of funding for VPP – was dropped and federal funding for VPP would continue.

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