OSHA recently issued its FY 2014 Budget Justification.  The document spans over 130 pages and provides a wealth of information regarding the Agency’s priorities.

In FY 2014, OSHA proposes to continue its aggressive enforcement posture.  The Budget Justification cites a recent study published in Science magazine entitled Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with No Detectable Job Loss, which claimed that enforcement inspections result in safer workplaces and provide employers significant savings through reduced workers’ compensation costs.  OSHA states in the Justification that “the average employer saved $355,000 (in 2011 dollars) as a result of an OSHA inspection.”  The Justification also states that OSHA is currently working with the Department of Labor’s policy office to “test the impact of inspections on injury and illness rates and overall compliance with OSHA standards and regulations for establishments on OSHA’s targeted inspection lists.”

OSHA also seeks an increase in funding for its standard setting activities, including an increase in $2 million dollars for “contract support for the agency’s rulemaking efforts to protect workers from complex and dangerous hazards.”  With the funding requested:

OSHA projects that it will issue four Final Rules (Infectious Disease, Recordkeeping Modernization, Beryllium, and Vertical Tandem Lifts), seven Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (Standards Improvement Project Phase IV, Infectious Disease, Injury and Illness Prevention Programs, Combustible Dust, Backover Protection, and two consensus standard update actions), and initiate SBREFA reviews for five rules (Combustible Dust, Backover Protection, one chemical standard, and two other initiatives).

OSHA is requesting a significant decrease in funding for its Federal Compliance Assistance programs.  State OSHA-program support and State compliance assistance would remain the same under OSHA’s 2014 Budget request.

The Budget Justification is a good indicator of the priorities of the Agency.  The Agency will continue to emphasize enforcement and regulatory activities and employers should continue to monitor the Agency’s efforts in these areas.