President Obama will seek to end eight years of lethargic OSHA enforcement and standards promulgation, under the Bush administration, reports the Kansas City Star, February 26 .
Though details will not be available until April, increased funding will enable OSHA to “vigorously enforce workplace safety laws and whistleblower protections, and ensure the safety and health of American workers,” according to the 134-page plan for 2010 budget released last week.
“For the past eight years, the department’s labor law enforcement agencies have struggled with growing workloads and shrinking staff,” the Obama budget blueprint said. “The president’s budget seeks to reverse this trend, restoring the department’s ability to meet its responsibilities to working Americans under the more than 180 worker protection laws it enforces.”
Even now, the current appropriation bill for 2009 before Congress, which will fund OSHA until the fiscal year ends in September, boosts the agencies budget by $27 million over the Bush-budget years and requires OSHA to improve its tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.
Since 1980 the number of federal OSHA compliance officers has dropped nearly 35 percent allowing OSHA to inspect only 1 percent of all workplaces annually, reports the Kansas City Star.
According to OSHA’s statistics web page, the agency conducted 283 inspections of physician practices during the last fiscal year.
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