1800 East Oakton Street
November 20, 2001
The Honorable Tom Harkin
Dear Chairman Harkin:
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), with nearly 33,000 member safety, health and environmental professionals, is the oldest, largest and most diverse society dedicated to protecting the safety of the American workplace. We are pleased to tell you that, in Iowa, ASSE represents nearly 500 members in four local chapters.
ASSE is writing to express our support for the increased levels of funding provided for federal agencies charged with protecting worker safety in the FY 2002 House (HR 3061) and Senate (S 1536) appropriations legislation for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and urge you to make sure that adequate sums are at least protected in Conference Committee deliberations.
While the House legislation would provide funding above current levels for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the higher levels of funding provided by the Senate for OSHA -- $450 million as opposed to $435 million in the House -- and for NIOSH -- $276.1 million as opposed to $270 million in the House -- have become necessary at a time when the risks confronting American workers have never been higher.
Since the tragedies in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on September 11, our members have reported that their employer corporations are asking them to expand their traditional safety responsibilities of protecting workers from job-related risks to include helping ensure that workplaces are also now safe from sabotage and other intentional violence. We also are hearing anecdotal information that the incident rate of injuries in workplaces has been on the rise since September 11.
While safety professionals are proud to be able to play a vital role in our nation's defense, they need to know now, more than at any other time, that the U.S. Congress will continue its long commitment to increasing safety in the American workplace. ASSE members rely on strong enforcement of reasonable rules from each of the agencies charged with ensuring safety of American workers. At this time, increased levels of funding must be provided in order for that important mission to be fulfilled.
ASSE and its members would be pleased to work with you to help ensure an adequate funding outcome to the FY 2002 budget process for OSHA, NIOSH and MSHA. If you or your staff would like any further information, please let us know.
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