The Safety Department, Inc.

MORE FUNDS for SPANISH-SPEAKING WORKERS

The President has asked Congress for $450 million to fund OSHA for outreach to Latino workers. According to OSHA, the budget request includes more than $2.2 million in new funding earmarked for outreach to non-English-speaking workers. The Assistant Labor Secretary (for OSHA) remarked, “This administration recognizes the value of safety and health in America’s workplaces.  At a time when the nation is tightening its belt, the president has not only proposed a budget increase but has specifically allocated money for new programs to reach those most in need of OSHA’s assistance.”

If granted, the proposal would provide OSHA an additional $7.2 million for compliance assistance and outreach, including the new multilingual initiative.  The fatality rate among Spanish-speaking workers rose 11 percent.  The funds will allow the agency to expand current offerings and to introduce new programs.

Other new compliance assistance covered in the funding package includes a special outreach to small businesses and expansion of OSHA’s voluntary compliance and other partnership programs.  The budget reflects a continued emphasis on enforcement, with an increase of $4.2 million for enforcement activities.  The funds would allow the agency to continue targeting workplaces with the highest injury, illness and fatality rates.  More than 37,000 inspections are scheduled this year, with the same number planned for fiscal 2004.

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