The following letter was sent to the following Senators and Representatives on August 23, 1999 addressing appropriations for the federal safety and health agencies:

The Honorable Arlen Specter, Senator, Chairman
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health,
Human Services, and Education
C/O Dobie McArthur, Legislative Director
SH-711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3802

The Honorable Ted Stevens, Senator, Chairman
Senate Appropriations Committee
C/O Trevor McCabe, Legislative Director
SH-522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-0201

The Honorable Robert Byrd, Senator, Ranking Minority Member
Senate Appropriations Committee
C/O Peter Kiefhaber, Legislative Director
Sh-311 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4801

The Honorable Tom Harkin, Senator, Ranking Minority Member
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health,
and Human Services and Education
C/O Peter Reinecke, Legislative Director
SH-731 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1502

The Honorable Trent Lott, Senator, Senate Majority Leader
Senate Republican Policy Committee
C/O Carl Biersack, Legislative Director
SR-487 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-2403

The Honorable Richard Durbin, Senator, Member
Senate Appropriations Committee
C/O Tom Faletti, Legislative Director
SR-364 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1304

The Honorable Peter Fitzgerald, Senator, Member
Senate Small Business Committee
C/O Gregg Rickman, Legislative Director
SD-555 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1303

The Honorable Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House
House Republican Steering Committee
C/O Bill Koetzle, Legislative Director
2263 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-1314

The Honorable Henry Hyde, Chairman
House Judiciary Committee
C/O Blaine Aaron, Legislative Director
2110 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-1306

The Honorable David Obey, Ranking Minority Member
House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education and Related Agencies
C/O Paul Carver, Legislative Director
2314 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4907

The Honorable John Edward Porter, Chairman
House Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education, and Related Agencies
C/O Katherine Fisher, Legislative Director
2373 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-1310

The Honorable C.W. Bill Young, Chairman
House Appropriations Committee
C/O Greg Lankler, Legislative Director
2407 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0910

August 23, 1999

ASSE STATEMENT SUPPORTING APPROPRIATIONS FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH AGENCIES

The purpose of this statement from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is to call on you to maintain, and hopefully increase, the current level of appropriations for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Our concern is the numerous reports we see indicating these agencies could potentially face significant budget cuts by the movement of appropriations from safety and health to support other agencies.

The National Focus on Safety and Health
We know that you are personally committed to ensuring that every American is able to go home from work again without being injured or ill. This country's safety and health professionals are relying on you to ensure that adequate funding is provided to these agencies in order to help safeguard the national focus on occupational safety and health. This statement is the collective voice of our members, 33,000 safety professionals, calling on you to support safety and health for all working Americans.

The following critical areas/functions would be adversely affected through the proposed budget cuts. Therefore, we believe funds for these issues/areas should not only be maintained but increased:

  • State level support for small business
  • Development of useful and reliable safety and health data
  • Applied research that will provide applicable, efficient, and effective results/information leading to beneficial control measures for employers, employees, safety and health professionals, and other impacted areas of the country
  • Technological advancements, (e.g. safety and health issues impacted by Y2K)
  • Support for voluntary national consensus standards
  • Support to colleges/universities (and students) offering accredited safety, health, and industrial hygiene education and training
  • MSHA training initiatives
  • Interagency enhancement of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA)

Adequate funding is needed to advance professional certification or licensing for safety and health professionals employed by government agencies. One of ASSE's biggest concerns is that public sector safety professionals employees are not as likely to pursue professional certification or licensing as their private sector counterparts. Professional certification or licensing requires adequate education, experience, ongoing training, and being able to pass a series of rigorous examinations, and supporting such activities by the public sector is of benefit to the country.

Efforts to increase research in the occupational safety and health field needs to be enhanced not reduced. At a time when technology is significantly changing our business processes, it is imperative that the level of research not be allowed to drop off. As an offshoot of this issue, the ASSE also believes it is important to consider increased levels of support for safety education programs in colleges/universities leading to a terminal degree (Doctorate). One of the Society's biggest concerns has been there is not enough faculty qualified by experience, education, and certification to be teaching this country's future safety and health professionals. This could adversely affect the country's ability to compete in a global marketplace.

With this letter we also call on other allied safety and health organizations to contact you and request your support. We see the impending budget issue as being of critical importance in maintaining the country's ability to provide a safe and healthful workplace for its workers.

We thank you for your attention to this matter. If ASSE can be of any further assistance please feel free to contact the Society at 847/699-2929.

Sincerely,

Frank H. Perry, CSP, PE
Society President, 1999-2000

Copy To:        ASSE Board of Directors
                        ASSE Council on Professional Affairs
                        ASSE Governmental Affairs Chairs
                        ASSE Governmental Affairs Committee
                        ASSE Professional Contact List (987)

FF/TRF/CORRS1122
encl.


     

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