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Don’t mess with OSHA

By Sean Ryan

The message in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 2011 budget is clear: The agency is not playing nice.

The word “enforcement” appears 16 times in the three-page overview for the $573 million proposed budget. The term “compliance assistance” (read: training and cooperation with employers) appears five times in the document released Monday.

Under the proposed budget, OSHA’s federal enforcement efforts will get $233.4 million, compared to $55.8 million for compliance assistance. The agency will have 1,752 inspectors in its federal programs, an increase of 60 people over this year.

The agency is also having fun with its enforcement programs. The priorities for 2011 include the Severe Violator Enforcement Program that will focus inspections on companies with willful and repeat violations.

Perhaps to make up for the lame-sounding SVEP acronym, OSHA is renaming its SHARE (Safety, Health and Return-to-Employment) Initiative with the POWER Initiative. The budget does not include a full name for POWER, so I guess it’s not an acronym.

Make no mistake: OSHA is full of cops, not trainers.

Sean Ryan, a staff writer at The Daily Reporter, hopes OSHA isn’t checking for grammar.

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