Sending Office: Honorable Mark Takano
Sent By:
Chay.Halbert@mail.house.gov

Protect Worker Safety
Please Join Letter to Support OSHA’s Budget

DEADLINE: Friday – March 16th COB

Cosigners (26): Bonamici, Brady, Cicilline, Clarke, Cohen, Coleman, Courtney, Davis (IL), DeSaulnier, Evans, Green (TX), Grijalva, Lee, McEachin, Nadler, Nolan, Norcross, Norton, Palone, Payne, Sablan, Sanchez, Schakowsky,
Scott, Smith, Titus

Dear Colleague:

We invite you to sign the attached letter urging the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education to include, at a minimum, $649.4 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 

Each year the National Safety Council estimates over 4 million workers suffer an injury serious enough to take them away from their normal daily work responsibilities. Daily,
about 12,000 U.S. workers sustain injuries on the job that require the attention of a medical professional, 14 workers die from an unintentional injury suffered at work, and 145 workers die from work-related diseases. This
burden costs industry and citizens an estimated $4.8 billion per week. As the main federal agency charged with workplace health and
safety issues, OSHA is responsible for addressing this need.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA is responsible for ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for men and women in the United States through compliance assistance to employers, the timely promulgation of regulations to protect America’s
workers, and enforcement actions against companies that fail to comply with OSHA standards. Current funding levels only provide funding for federal OSHA to inspect each workplace in its jurisdiction on average once every 159 years.

Join us in supporting the funding level of $649.4 million for OSHA in the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill, a level which will allow OSHA to maintain its current level of enforcement. Please contact Yuri Beckelman (Yuri.Beckelman@mail.house.gov)
in the office of Representative Mark Takano at x52305 or Beata Fogarasi (Beata.Fogarasi@mail.house.gov) in the office of Rep. Joe Courtney at x52076, or Richard Miller (Richard.Miller@mail.house.gov)
with the Committee on Education and the Workforce at x53725, with any questions or to become a cosigner.

 

Sincerely,

Mark Takano                                                               Bobby Scott                                                                Joe Courtney                                      
Ranking Member                                                        Ranking Member                                                        Member of Congress
Subcommittee on Workforce Protections                   Committee on Education and the Workforce

 

————

The Honorable Tom Cole                                           The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member
House Appropriations Subcommittee on                    House Appropriation Subcommittee
Labor, Health and Human Services,                           Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education and Related Agencies                                Education and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations                                    Committee on Appropriations
2358-B Rayburn House Office Building                    1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC  20515                                              Washington, DC  20515

Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro: 

We are writing to request that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill include, at a minimum, $649.4 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  This compares with the $549 million in the Department
of Labor’s FY 2019 request. This increase would reverse a very serious problem jeopardizing worker safety: at current funding levels, OSHA can inspect each workplace within its jurisdiction once every 159 years.

This $100.4 million proposed increase would restore OSHA’s authorized staffing levels to 2,335 and provide the same level of funding (adjusted for inflation) and personnel authorized in FY 2010–when the average frequency for inspections was once every 129
years. This would reverse a downward trend in safety and health inspections and better protect workers.

The National Safety Council estimates over 4 million workers suffer a medically consulted injury each year. Daily about 12,000 U.S. workers sustain injuries on the job that are serious enough to require medical consultation, 14 workers die from an unintentional
injury suffered at work, and 145 workers die from work-related diseases. This burden costs industry and citizens an estimated $4.8 billion per week.  As the main federal agency charged with workplace health and safety issues, OSHA is responsible for addressing
this need.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), OSHA is tasked with assuring safe and healthy conditions for working men and women in the United States. OSHA fulfills this role through compliance assistance and training, the promulgation of
safety and health standards, and enforcement inspections to determine if employers are providing workplaces free of recognized serious hazards, as required by the OSH Act. OSHA also investigates whistleblower complaints under 22 separate statutes.

Several areas merit particular support underneath the top line of $649.4 million for OSHA.

  • Whistleblower Protection: OSHA should be provided with not less than $18.4 million (a $1.1 million increase over the FY 2019 request and a $1.0 million increase over FY 2017 enacted levels) to provide 14 additional staff to investigate
    whistleblower cases under the OSH Act and 21 other federal laws that protect the health, safety, and well-being of all Americans. These include statutes to protect the safety of our food, air and water supplies, as well as the safety of travelers on our air,
    rail and public transportation systems.  OSHA relies upon workers on the jobsite to be its eyes and ears since inspectors cannot be everywhere; if employers retaliate, these workers must rely upon OSHA to investigate. This increase is particularly imperative,
    because OSHA is in violation of statutory deadlines to investigate 74% of its whistleblower cases which are languishing for an average of 284 days.
     
  • Federal Enforcement: OSHA should be provided with not less than $241 million to conduct enforcement inspections (a $29 million increase over the FY 2019 request and $33.9 million over the FY 2017 enacted level). This level restores the
    authorized level of enforcement personnel to 1,583, the same as the level in 2010. Numerous studies have documented that OSHA enforcement inspections significantly reduce injuries – by up to 24 percent- as well as reducing workers’ compensation costs at inspected
    worksites. Reduced enforcement by OSHA will result in more workplace injuries and higher costs for workers and employers. 
     
  • State OSHA Programs: The bill should provide not less than $121 million for OSHA’s 28 state plan partners which operate state OSHA programs ($21 million above the FY 2019 request and $21 million above the FY 2017 enacted levels).  OSHA
    is authorized to provide up to 50% of the funding for a state’s OSHA program. The increase in funds is necessary to bolster states’ whistleblower and enforcement programs, and to ensure that the state’s program is “at least as effective as federal OSHA”.
     
  • Compliance Assistance–Health and Safety Training Grants: The bill should provide $12.5 million for the Harwood Health and Safety Training Program. ($12.5 million above the FY 2019 budget which zeroes out this program, $2.0 million above
    the FY 2017 enacted level).  The President’s FY 2019 budget zeroes out these training grants claiming “OSHA has no evidence that program is effective.”  Since 1978 over 2.1 million workers in hazardous industries such as logging, roofing, tree care, construction
    and health care have received training and education; evaluations required by OSHA show that workers have greater information on job hazards and workplaces have been made safer. Competitive training grants have been provided to non-profit employer associations,
    public colleges and universities, unions and non-profit organizations who have the capacity to reach those workers who are at greatest risk of on-the-job injuries, illnesses and fatalities. 

An effective OSHA is important for the safety of American workers and workplaces. Budgetary contractions proposed by the administration, coupled with a frozen budget over the past 8 years, severely weakens OSHA’s capacity to fulfill its mission. We urge
you to provide no less than $649.4 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill.

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Economy, Labor

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