Posted April 24, 2013
In an April 22 joint letter, AIHA® and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) urge the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to request a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study to determine whether NIOSH should remain within the organizational structure of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, if not, where NIOSH should be located in the federal government. AIHA and ASSE believe that such a study would provide valuable information on how best to ensure that NIOSH can meet the needs of occupational safety and health research.
The associations express concern that NIOSH’s effectiveness has diminished in recent years as the agency is forced to return an increasing amount of its budget to CDC for administrative costs. Further, the letter states, “The CDC, in fulfilling its difficult mission of meeting the challenges to Americans’ overall health and well-being, is not in the best position to champion NIOSH’s largely separate and distinct mission of supporting protections for Americans at work.”
According to AIHA and ASSE, loss of funding, combined with looming budget cuts, could mean that NIOSH programs will not have the necessary support to help protect workers and train future health and safety professionals. AIHA and ASSE believe that the best option may be to make NIOSH an independent agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), reporting directly to the secretary of HHS.
Read the letter.