While OSHA has never been the most robustly funded federal agency, its efforts and regulatory authority have helped prevent countless deaths, injuries and illnesses on the job. However, recent budget cuts and future budget cut proposals threaten those gains, and it's no stretch to say that worker health and safety hang in the balance.
Sequestration claims another public health program: The Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance program
When I asked Teresa Schnorr why we should be worried about the loss of a little-known occupational health data gathering program, she quoted a popular saying in the field of surveillance: "What gets counted, gets done."
Every week, the Austin-based Workers Defense Project welcomes standing room-only crowds to its Workers in Action meetings. And once a month, a local OSHA representative would join the meeting, giving some of Texas' most vulnerable workers the chance to meet face-to-face with the agency. Unfortunately, due to the federal sequester, OSHA has had to indefinitely suspend its participation. It's a significant loss.