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OSHA seeks budget increase

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Monday requested $573 million for fiscal 2011, a $14.5 million increase over the agency’s 2010 budget.

The increase would let OSHA add 60 investigators and enforcement staff members in 2011, for a total enforcement staff of 1,752 people.

The budget continues to make construction a targeted industry, with an estimated 23,189 nationwide inspections planned for 2011, compared with 23,935 in 2009. The agency set a goal of reducing by 2 percent the 571 annual construction fatalities caused by falls, electrocutions and workers being struck by or caught between objects.

The OSHA budget also would continue 2010’s emphasis on drafting new rules. The agency between 2000 and 2008 cut its budgets for developing new rules, but in 2010 added 20 staff members. The 2011 list of regulatory priorities includes new standards for cranes and derricks and for dealing with combustible dust, such as coal dust, at work sites.

The OSHA budget is part of a $117 billion budget request released Monday by Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

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