Magazine article Occupational Hazards

OSHA's 2004 Budget: Compliance Assistance Wins Biggest Proposed Increase. (OSHA)

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

OSHA's 2004 Budget: Compliance Assistance Wins Biggest Proposed Increase. (OSHA)

Article excerpt

President Bush has requested spending $450 million on OSHA in fiscal year 2004, including more than $7 million in new dollars for federal compliance assistance -- a 12 percent increase in this program when compared to the president's request for this year.

Total OSHA spending would rise three percent, or $13 million, but this increase may look a little smaller upon closer inspection.

The ink is barely dry on the president's signature on the 2003 spending bill, which Bush signed last month. Although the president wanted to cut OSHA spending by $6.5 million for fiscal year 2003, Congress granted OSHA a total budget this year of $453.3 million -- $9.8 million, or about two percent, more than OSHA spent last year. All of OSHA's major programs won modest increases in 2003, with the smallest, $.5 million, going to safety and health standards. The largest increase went to federal compliance assistance programs: $2.6 million -- a 4 percent hike.

Highlights of the president's OSHA budget request for 2004 include:

* More than $2.2 million in new funding is earmarked for outreach to Spanish and other non-English speaking workers, the first time OSHA's budget includes additional funding for this purpose;

* Federal enforcement will rise by $4.2 million, or 3.8 percent, allowing OSHA to hire three more compliance officers, the only addition to the agency's federal work force the president's proposal allows;

* For the first time, OSHA will have money -- $750,000 -- dedicated to emergency preparedness;

* Spending on Safety and Health Statistics will decline by $3. …

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