ASSE, AIHA, NSC Urge Congress to Support OSHA, NIOSH Funding of Programs to Prevent Worker Injuries, Illnesses
For Immediate Release
DES PLAINES, IL (December 6, 2012) – The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the National Safety Council (NSC) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) issued a joint letter Nov. 26 urging Senator Tom Harkin, chair of the Senate Labor–HHS–Education Appropriations Subcommittee, to continue supporting stable funding levels for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the current budgeting process. The three organizations, representing tens of thousands of occupational safety, health, environmental and industrial hygiene professionals, businesses, and workers, say the Senate funding levels save key programs aimed at preventing worker injuries and fatalities.
Efforts to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses will be jeopardized if funding levels are reduced for OSHA and NIOSH during the Senate and House conference on the fiscal year 2013 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill. In the joint letter, the organizations asked Sen. Harkin to urge appropriators to adopt the Senate funding levels during budget negotiations to prevent proposed efforts to eliminate funding for several vital programs including NIOSH’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (AgFF) sector program and Education and Research Centers (ERC).
Cutting the NIOSH AgFF program would harm a fragile industry as the agriculture, forestry and fishing industires have the highest worker fatality rates of any industry in the U.S. with 580 deaths in 2010. The rate of fatal injury in AgFF is 37 percent higher than the next closest industry, with 26.9 deaths per 100,000 workers.
The NIOSH education and research centers (ERC), located throughout the U.S., provide much-needed research and academic degree programs in occupational safety and health. Many members of ASSE, AIHA, and NSC work directly with the ERCs and utilize the ERC research. Safety officials note that with an aging occupational safety and health workforce combined with an increase demand, the ERCs are essential to training the next generation of safety professionals.
The letter from ASSE, AIHA, and NSC officials also notes harmful House policy riders, if approved in the appropriations language, would have the following negative effects:
- · Prevent OSHA from promulgating the injury and illness prevention program (I2P2) standard, a standard where employers would make systematic risk-based assessments of occupational safety and health hazards workers face in workplaces and establish a meaningful plan to address those risks leading to improved safety and health management in every workplace; many workplaces have already implemented I2P2 programs successfully;
- · Prevent OSHA from enforcing parts of an agency standard on grain handling safety in silos, a major farming hazard;
- · Prevent enforcement of a new OSHA residential construction fall protection directive; and
- · Terminate the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program.
“Please continue to champion the safety and health of American workers by doing everything in your power to maintain stable funding levels for OSHA and NIOSH, prevent harmful policy riders, and ensure the continuation of the AgFF and ERC programs in conference on the FY 2013 Labor –HHS-Education Appropriations bill,” the safety groups wrote in their letter to Sen. Harkin.
Founded in 1939, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA, www.aiha.org) is the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. AIHA’s 10,000 members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day. Members represent a cross-section of industry, private business, labor, government and academia.
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council (NSC, www.nsc.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government, agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety and safety beyond the workplace.