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|Established in 1980||April 26, 2002|
|In this issue:||[Acting President's Message] | [Board Meeting Summary] | [Upcoming Training] | [August Meeting Info] | [September Meeting Info] | [AIHA Gov't Affairs News]|
Message from the Acting President
At the last board meeting on March 1, 2002. We have a nominating committee that is attempting to find someone to become the new president of the local section. We need some help real soon. I've had notice of the possible interest of at least two persons and will be talking with them.
Certification Maintenance Points
AIHA Certification Points are included here in response to recent questions 2001-2002.
I think there is little doubt that due to the work of Maurice Oberg, Mark Cameron and others we are the most active local section in the State and probably the nation.
Many thanks to Maurice and Mark.
A CIHC report on new legislation will be in the April 2002 newsletter.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY DEGREE PROGRAM
California State University, Sacramento’s Occupational Health and Safety program has been revised and expanded, effective Fall of 2002. In addition to offering a Bachelor of Science degree, the program will offer interested student the opportunity to obtain a minor in Occupational Health and Safety. The minor was developed for students interested in expanding their knowledge in the field of OH&S while completing an undergraduate degree in a related science or management related program.
Please contact Michael E. Nave at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 278-6306 if your organization is interested in obtaining additional information on:
May 16 - Past President's Luncheon
Speaker: Terry Thedell, Ph.D.
September 2002 Ron Wilson, San Francisco Airport on "Public Relations" (tentative)
Currently, there is a Noise Monitoring Instrumentation Seminar in development. This will be scheduled in July or August. More details will be available next issue.
DON'T FORGET THE June 2002 - AIHCE in San Diego
ERGONOMICS GUIDELINES PROPOSED BY OSHA
Unless you have been living in a cave, you know that OSHA has announced its plans to proceed with industry-specific ergonomics guidelines rather than develop a new standard. The newly announced approach would incorporate four different elements – guidelines, enforcement, compliance assistance and research.
AIHA has come out on record as stating that we still support a standard rather than guidelines and that the scientific evidence is there to support a standard. However, since it is obvious that we will not see an ergonomics standard anytime soon, AIHA has stated its support for moving forward with the development of guidelines. AIHA not only issued a statement about the OSHA proposal, but also has now followed up with a letter to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.
OSHA has several obstacles to overcome if they are to be successful in developing these guidelines. First, OSHA has announced that they hope to have the first guidelines developed within 6 months. This will be a huge undertaking. They have begun moving forward by announcing “ergonomics coordinators” in each of the ten OSHA regions. These individuals are to assist OSHA staff, employers, employees and other stakeholders with ergonomic issues.
The second obstacle to OSHA is the possible reintroduction of legislation in Congress to force OSHA to develop a new standard. Sen. John Breaux is debating whether or not to introduce this legislation in the coming weeks (see story elsewhere).
Another problem facing OSHA is what to with the new recordkeeping standard. If you recall, this standard addressed the issue of MSDs. The Bush administration put a hold on this portion of the standard until January 2003 because they had no definition of what an MSD is. OSHA stated that they were moving forward with plans on ergonomics and would address the issue at that time. Now, the plans have been announced and there is still no definition for MSDs. Most likely, OSHA will delay the implementation of MSD recording beyond 2003.
WILL CONGRESS CONSIDER ERGONOMICS LEGISLATION?
Senator John Breaux is considering whether or not to reintroduce his previous legislation (S.598) to force OSHA to develop an ergonomics standard within 2 years of passage of the legislation. Sen. Breaux was considering this avenue well before OSHA announced its approach to ergonomics a couple of weeks ago – to develop industry-specific guidelines rather than a standard.
The draft bill being considered by Sen. Breaux is very similar to his first approach. The most notable changes are that the new standard must cover all industries and OSHA must include the entire previous record on ergonomics in development of the standard.
Can it pass? It is doubtful at this time. While the bill will perhaps have enough support in the Senate, the House is a different story. The House is so unsure of passage that House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt has stated that if the Democrats take control of the House after the 2002 elections, ergonomics will be the first issue they consider in 2003. This is as much as stating that there is not enough support in the House to pass the bill into law. There was some talk about attaching the bill to the Labor appropriations bill, but that is unlikely to happen.
SENATE FY03 BUDGET RESOLUTION RESTORES ADMINISTRATION CUTS IN NIOSH FUNDING
As you may recall, in a move which left some occupational health and safety advocates scratching their heads, the Administration proposed a 10% reduction in FY03 funding for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)---from $286 million in FY02 to $258 million for FY03. The decision to cut the NIOSH budget seemed almost at odds with Bush’s pledge to increase biodefense spending and ostensibly, may have been one that neglected to factor in the significant contributions the agency made during the aftermath of the WRC attacks and the anthrax assaults.
However, in late March, the Democratic-controlled Senate Budget Committee passed its spending outline contained in the FY03 Congressional Budget Resolution that proposes restoring NIOSH to FY02 level funding. Although the specific dollar amount for NIOSH was not included, Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad stated that he wants to increase spending for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. The budget document stipulates, to “fully restore the President’s cuts to programs including…..Occupational, Safety and Health.”
The House’s budget resolution makes no such attempt at granting additional funds to the CDC or to restoring the NIOSH budget to FY02 spending levels. However, both House and Senate resolutions must be reconciled at conference to produce a final concurrent FY03 budget resolution. Although the resolution is non-binding, it does serve as a benchmark for congressional spending.
The fact that the Senate recommended restoring funding for NIOSH in its spending outline could bode well for the agency during the deliberations over the FY03 Labor-HHS appropriations legislation later this year. AIHA URGES CONGRESS TO INCREASE OSHA FUNDING FOR FY2003
Citing OSHA’s impressive efforts in leveraging its resources to protect the health and safety of rescue and recovery workers at the WTC and its newly defined priorities to enhance the agency’s effectiveness, AIHA sent a strong letter of support to House appropriators urging them to maintain or increase OSHA’s FY03 budget to allow the agency to continue to carry out its objectives.
The Administration proposed $437 million in FY 2003 for the OSHA budget—a reduction of approximately $6 million from last year. Further, notwithstanding the agency’s impressive role in the rescue and recovery process at the WTC, no funding was made available to OSHA for its homeland security efforts. AIHA recommended that OSHA, like the EPA, which received $124 million in new funding for homeland security, also be provided with financial resources for this purpose.
If history is any teacher, the Senate Appropriations Committee will likely seek to restore, if not increase, funding to its FY03 Labor-HHS appropriations bill for OSHA. The scenario is less certain, however, in the Republican-controlled House where traditionally, OSHA and NIOSH funding bills have not met with favorable budget increases.
AIHA COMMENTS TO EPA ON RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT
AIHA recently submitted comments to EPA on a proposed rule dealing with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The comments centered on the fact that EPA intends to simplify the recordkeeping requirements for hazardous waste sites.
While AIHA supports the reduction of the burden in recordkeeping, AIHA questioned why EPA saw fit to include only two professions qualified to perform certain evaluations or activities to be certified. The EPA proposal would have added a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager to the current Professional Engineer as the two professionals considered qualified.
AIHA comments recommended that the Agency consider adding CIH to these professions, but took it one step further in stating that the agency needed to clarify what the qualifications should be. AIHA noted that not all PEs, CHMMs or even CIHs are qualified in this regard and specific guidelines need to be developed.
UP AND RUNNING
For more information on federal legislation, visit the AIHA Federal Legislative Action Center within the members-only section of the AIHA web page.
Members are able to follow all federal legislation of interest to AIHA. This includes access to legislation by subject matter, legislative text, current status of the legislation, and AIHA position. Members also have access to a directory of all elected officials and senior agency personnel and will be able to send e-mail messages to their elected officials indicating support or opposition on any piece of legislation or simply find the address and telephone number of specific offices.
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