Solis: Republican budget plan may result in ‘more injuries’

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis testifies before the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
Photo: House Education and the Workforce Committee Democrats
Washington – A Republican-backed budget plan with deep cuts to OSHA could lead to more workplace injuries and fewer inspections and compliance assistance, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis warned Congress on Feb. 16.

The continuing resolution bill (H.R. 1) (.pdf file) would fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2011. The bill would return OSHA funding to 2004 levels by making $99 million in cuts (.pdf file) to initiatives such as safety and health standards development, state programs, and enforcement.

The proposal differs from the Obama administration’s 2012 budget, which would increase OSHA funding by nearly $25 million above 2010 levels.

Testifying before the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Solis said the GOP plan would delay promulgating new standards, result in about 18,000 fewer workplace safety inspections and possibly lead to the layoffs of several recent OSHA hires, including 200 inspectors.

When asked what this would mean for the public, Solis said there “may be more injuries taking place” at worksites, which could lead to additional costs for businesses and society as a whole. The GOP budget also could eliminate the OSHA website, which Solis said millions use for workplace safety assistance.

The bill was being debated in the House at deadline.

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