Acosta Promises Increased OSHA Compliance Despite Cuts
(June 15, 2017) - According to a June 7 report from InsideOSHAonline.com, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta has promised that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will balance enforcement with compliance assistance regardless of the steep budget cuts facing the Department of Labor under the Trump administration.
Acosta pushed back against accusations that the White House’s proposed 2018 budget would hurt workers safety. Under the proposal, the DOL would face drastic budget slashes though OSHA itself would only be facing modest rollbacks.
“A good job and a safe job shouldn’t be mutually exclusive,” Acosta said at a subcommittee on the budget. He added that the administration “is fully committed to enforcing worker protection laws.”
Democrats, however, have argued that many of the DOL cuts will have a negative effect on workplace health and safety, not just the cuts directly related to OSHA. They have also argued that Trump’s stance is a betrayal of the working class voters who supported him in the elections.
Elimination of the Susan Harwood training grants has been especially contentious. Advocates on the left argue that the grants are important for training workers in high hazard industries and promote long-term safety. Those on the right have accused the grant program of being wasteful and funneling money to labor unions.
Labor advocates have also been critical of the repeals and delays of OSHA rules the Trump administration began in the first few months of the presidency. For instance, Acosta has continued to avoid making a vocal commitment to enforce an Obama-era rule on exposure to silica and beryllium, which was put on a three-month hold in April.
“You say you’re going to do more with less,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). “You can only do less with less.”