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Will Budget Cuts Jeopardize Worker Safety?

The Department of Labor has requested additional funding to improve the functionality of OSHA. If Congressional Republicans have anything to say about funding (and they do), OSHA will not only be denied the requested funding but also forced to deal with an even tighter budget moving forward.

Although many in the industry consider OSHA to be one of the main organizations protecting workers, there are others who do share the same thoughts. In fact, according to a recent article appearing on NPR.org, “Republicans say OSHA enacts expensive rules without regard to their effect on business. They’ve proposed cutting its budget this year by 20 percent, a reduction the director says would be devastating to the agency’s efforts to protect worker safety.”

It is not only Congressional Republicans who have an issue with OSHA, there are many employers who feel they are restricted in how they conduct business due to the rules and regulations set forth by OSHA. For many of the people opposed to additional funding for the organization, the problem is not in creating a safer workplace for employees but in the organizations’ focus on “punishment” over “protection”.

It is true that OSHA has fined many businesses over the years; fines which some consider excessive. The goal however behind the agencies actions are however to prevent workplace accidents and encourage employers to provide a safe working environment for all workers. While that is the goal, many of those supporting budget cuts believe that OSHA is in fact a “job killer”.

Whether or not you agree with those who support or oppose budget funding for OSHA, most people will agree that there must be some enforcement agency in charge of monitoring safety rules and regulations in the workplace. Lacking such enforcement, workers across the nation will be at an increased risk of injury while on the job.

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