The following letter was sent to Senator Edward M. Kennedy to address appropriate funding for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Similar letters were also sent to Senator Arlen Specter and Representative Ralph Regula. Representative Regula serves as Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.
May 25, 2001
The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy, Senator
The Honorable Arlen Specter, Senator
The Honorable Ralph Regula, Chairman
SAFETY AND HEALTH (NIOSH Funding)
The purpose of this statement from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is to offer insight on the need for appropriations to support the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Since we already enjoy a professional relationship with you on such issues, we will forego an introduction and attach a fact sheet on the Society. We respect and appreciate your present and past efforts to maintain a national focus on the importance of occupational safety and health.
Founded in 1911, and now with almost 33,000 members, ASSE is the world's oldest, largest, and most diverse professional safety society. Our members literally reside in every voting district of the United States, and almost 1,400 ASSE members also are your constituents. We have attached the pages from our Membership Directory, which indicates the presence of ASSE in the state of Massachusetts.
ASSE supports federal safety and health agencies such as NIOSH, OSHA, MSHA, CSB, and EPA. We believe these organizations help maintain a national focus on the importance of occupational safety and health. This letter specifically addresses funding for NIOSH, which we believe plays a significant role in emphasizing the importance of occupational safety and health. We note that the current proposal basically increases NIOSH funding by approximately 2% ($6,000,000 increase). We are steadfast in that belief that NIOSH should be evaluated and subsequently funded at a higher, more appropriate level, to support its statutory mission of high caliber research leading to the prevention of workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
NIOSH has a direct positive impact on the United States through its proactive work in crafting a National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). NORA is an excellent example of the private/public sector partnership encouraged by this country's congressional leaders. It is important that there be appropriate funding in the research budget for NIOSH to enhance the ongoing activities related to NORA and the Educational Research Centers.
There is also a strong need, beyond NORA, to communicate the results of research through publications or the website. Additional funding is needed to effectively communicate the practical applications of research. A study in a vacuum means very little to most safety professionals, and the communication of these results/successes need to be funded as well. This funding will enable the United States to guide occupational safety and health research over the next decade and enhance worker protection in an efficient/effective manner.
The NIOSH Division of Safety Research needs to be appropriately funded to reach its key objective - research into effective/efficient ways of reducing traumatic occupational fatalities and injuries. The Division has experienced significant success in conducting follow-up interviews with injured workers. Such information is of value in both the public and private sectors as it can assist in developing proactive hazard control methods, and reducing the direct/indirect costs of workplace injuries and/or fatalities. ASSE is also strong supporter of the NIOSH FACE Program (Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program). FACE personnel conduct epidemiological investigations of fatal workplace traumatic injuries, and the results of the program have been impressive. The Division is also involved with fire fighter safety issues, evaluation of work zone hazards, and partnership with other organizations. All of this activity has been an enhancement to the safety profession, and the Division certainly is in need of more support.
We thank you for your attention to this matter. If the Society can be of any further assistance on this matter please feel free to contact the Society at 847/699-2929.
Samuel J. Gualardo, CSP
ASSE Board of Directors
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