State Plan programs need more federal funding: testimony

Washington – State-run occupational safety and health programs need more federal funding, and federal OSHA should be spared proposed budget cuts if the programs are to continue their efforts to prevent workplace injuries and deaths, according to witnesses at a June 16 House Workforce Protections Subcommittee hearing titled, “Is OSHA Undermining State Efforts to Promote Workplace Safety?

State Plan states and territories can receive up to 50 percent of their operating budget from the federal government, but many do not receive that much. Additionally, although federal OSHA’s budget has increased over the years, funding for state programs has not, said Kevin Beauregard, chair of the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association. Elliot Lewis, assistant inspector general for audit at the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, testified that OSHA has no definition of what it means for State Plans to be “as effective as” OSHA, and the agency needs to develop measures to quantify the impact State Plans and OSHA have on workplace safety and health. These issues were highlighted in a report (.pdf file) released by OIG in March.

OSHA, which did not have representatives at the hearing, said in its response to the OIG report that it was developing measures to address OIG’s concerns.

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