Proposed OSHA budget would cut some compliance assistance programs

Washington – In its latest budget request (.pdf file), OSHA is seeking to shift resources away from some employer compliance assistance programs to preserve programs that assist small businesses.

The $3.2 million decrease in federal compliance assistance for fiscal year 2013 would mean fewer partnerships and alliances between OSHA and employers, corporate or merit status no longer being available for new Voluntary Protection Programs sites, and a consolidation of OSHA compliance assistance personnel.

In a Feb. 13 webchat, OSHA administrator David Michaels said the reductions are necessary to preserve the $57.9 million in funding for state compliance assistance, which provides onsite consultation services to small businesses. Michaels assured stakeholders that new companies would be approved for VPP and new partnerships in high-hazard industries would continue.

Whistleblower protection would receive a boost under the proposed budget, with OSHA seeking to provide an additional $4.8 million for resources and the hiring of 37 full-time investigators. No new compliance officers would be hired under the budget request, which at $565.7 million is a $680,000 increase from the FY 2012 budget (.pdf file).

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