President Trump’s federal “budget blueprint” (PDF) for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which was published on Thursday, requests a $2.5 billion or 21 percent decrease in funding for the Department of Labor, and includes a proposal to eliminate all funding for OSHA’s Susan Harwood training grants, which the agency awards to nonprofit organizations to provide training and education programs for employers and workers on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of occupational safety and health hazards. The proposal calls the grants “unproven” and states that their elimination will “[focus] the agency on its central work of keeping workers safe on the job.” According to the blueprint, the elimination of OSHA’s training grants will yield a savings of almost $11 million.
The budget blueprint also proposes to eliminate all funding for several independent federal agencies, including the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), which investigates industrial chemical accidents and makes recommendations for improving the safety of plants, workers, and communities. CSB requested a budget of $12.436 million in FY 2017 (PDF).
CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland issued a statement expressing her disappointment soon after the publication of the budget proposal.
“For over 20 years, the CSB has conducted hundreds of investigations of high consequence chemical incidents, such as the Deepwater Horizon and West Fertilizer disasters,” Sutherland said. “Our investigations and recommendations have had an enormous effect on improving public safety.”
“The American public is safer today as a result of the work of the dedicated and professional staff of the CSB,” she continued. “As this process moves forward, we hope that the important mission of this agency will be preserved.”
The president’s budget makes no specific mention of NIOSH. The Department of Health and Human Services, the department under which NIOSH falls, is slated for a $15.1 billion or 17.9 percent decrease in funding as part of the president’s proposal.
EPA faces one of the deepest cuts in the president’s proposed budget: a decrease in funding of approximately 31 percent.
Keep an eye on the SynergistNOW blog for an update on the president’s proposed budget from AIHA’s director of Government Relations, Mark Ames. Interested individuals can sign up to get new blog posts delivered via email.