Safety orgs to Harkin: Maintain OSHA, NIOSH budgets

Washington – The budgets of OSHA and NIOSH should retain their funding levels in fiscal year 2013, three worker safety nonprofit organizations urged in a Nov. 26 letter (.pdf file) to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).

The House and Senate need to resolve differences between their respective appropriations bills before funding for the remainder of FY 2013 can be determined. The Senate version maintains funding for both OSHA and NIOSH, while the House version reduces funding. Harkin is chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee.

Sent by the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Society of Safety Engineers and the National Safety Council, the letter requested that Harkin advocate for the Senate appropriations bill in negotiations with the House. The groups also pushed for Harkin to resist provisions in the House bill that would prevent promulgation of an injury and illness prevention program rule, prevent enforcement of some standards, and eliminate the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program.

The House bill also would eliminate funding for two NIOSH programs: Education and Research Centers (which train new occupational safety professionals) and a program advancing evidence-based standards to help protect lives in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.

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