Washington - As Donald Trump attempts to push through significant cuts to the Department of Labor's budget, Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta is seeking more funds for OSHA so that enforcement of existing laws can be ramped up.
Speaking at a hearing convened by the Senate Appropriations Committee, Acosta said “laws matter. They have been passed by Congress. They are the laws of the land, and they need to be enforced. The men and women at the Department of Labor need the resources to enforce them.”
President Trump wants $1.1 billion cut from the DOL's budget, which would leave it with $10,9 billion for the 2019 fiscal year. And while OSHA is set to receive $549 million of this parcel, Acosta wants a further $6.1 million allocated to OSHA for federal enforcement, and an additional 42 full-time employees to replenish compliance safety and health officer positions.
The push for more enforcement money comes after Acosta sat before the same committee in June 2017 and fielded concerns that OSHA was moving toward more compliance assistance and potentially less enforcement.
During the hearing, Acosta also weighed in on other pressing issues in the health and safety industry. He said he supports OSHA's efforts to gather and hold data as part of its injury and illnesses electronic recordkeeping rule, despite some voicing their concerns about privacy.
“We are looking at methods where we can obtain this data while at the same time respecting the privacy of individuals. We are looking at methods where we can obtain the data en masse without individual identifying information because once we receive the data, it can eventually become subject to disclosure.”