FY23 Public Witness Hearing: U.S. House Committee on Appropriations

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies

May 26, 2022 | Washington, D.C.

Lorraine M. Martin

NSC President and CEO


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Chair DeLauro, Ranking Member Cole, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for allowing me to submit testimony on behalf of the National Safety Council (NSC). NSC strongly advocates for fully funding several agencies that are critical to our mission of eliminating preventable death and injury, from the workplace to anyplace. Our requests are delineated below and are focused primarily on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and agencies within them.  

NSC is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate—and has been for more than 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we focus our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment to create a culture of safety, not only to keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives. Our more than 13,000 member companies and federal agencies represent employees at nearly 50,000 U.S. worksites. NSC works closely with each of the agencies listed above to advance our mission. 

As NSC advocated for last year and emphasizes this year, it is essential now more than ever to have sound, data-driven occupational safety and health information. OSHA and the CDC have a fundamental role in protecting workers. They need and deserve support to achieve their missions to protect worker safety and health and keep pace with the evolving needs of the modern workforce. This funding is critical to make strategic decisions that will protect workers and their communities, while making efficient use of limited taxpayer dollars.


On a typical day, more than 11,000 U.S. workers sustain injuries on the job that are serious enough to require medical consultation; eleven workers die from an unintentional injury suffered at work. These tragedies cost an estimated $3.3 billion per week. OSHA ensures safe conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education, and assistance to employers — essential activities requiring strong Congressional support. As such, we urge you to support funding for OSHA at a minimum of $757.5 million as you craft the FY 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

The CDC is essential to supporting the U.S. public health infrastructure, and COVID-19 response certainly has proven that. CDC has and will continue to play a critical role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and around the world as well as defending against other infectious diseases. Moreover, the work the CDC does to reduce and work towards eliminating injury, whether it be a result of motor vehicle crashes, falls, opioid overdoses, or other causes, is critical. NSC requests that Congress appropriate at least $10 billion for the CDC in FY23.

National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety

We also ask that you support funding for NIOSH at a minimum of $375.3 million. Included in this funding should be: $30.5 million for the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (AgFF) sector program, which focuses on the most dangerous jobs, $34 million for the Education and Research Centers (ERCs) that train the next generation of occupational safety and health professionals, and an increase of at least $4 million over the FY21 level for the Total Worker Health (TWH) program, which improves well-being for the U.S. workforce by protecting worker safety and enhancing their health and productivity, including by focusing on substance use disorders and mental health. 

To address the increased rate of substance use and mental health challenges, NSC supports the creation of cooperative programs at NIOSH to provide employers with access to substance use and mental health support resources. Multiple studies show that for people experiencing a mental illness during their lives, nearly half also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa. Given that NIOSH has extensive workplace knowledge and makes “Mental Health in the Workplace” a priority area within the Total Worker Health program, NSC recommends NIOSH as the home for such a program.[4] Likewise, NSC recommends the Committee support a cooperative program to develop and implement impairment recognition and response training for workplaces. Impairment on the job is a serious safety issue for workers, their colleagues and, at times, the general public.

CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

The CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (Injury Center) provides a public health approach to preventing injuries and fatalities. The Injury Center works to provide states with critical support to implement targeted injury-prevention and violence-prevention programs, evaluate the effectiveness of prevention strategies, and reduce the incidence of fatal motor vehicle crashes. NSC requests that Congress appropriate at least $1.3 billion for the Injury Center in FY23. 

Combating Older Adult Falls

Falls are not an inevitable part of aging; yet, they represent the leading cause of preventable death among adults 65 years of age and older in America. With sound research and science, more can be done to prevent fall-related injuries and deaths. NSC and the National Council on Aging are coordinating to advocate for a modest increase in funding that could result in a tremendous impact against older adult falls. We support increasing funding for Injury Center programming and research to prevent older adult falls to $4.1 million and $10 million for Administration for Community Living (ACL) engagement of the aging services network to implement and sustain evidence-based falls prevention programs in FY23. 

Motor Vehicle-Related Injuries and Deaths

NSC believes it is critical the CDC be empowered and funded to do more to reduce motor-vehicle related injuries and deaths. NSC believes that in doing so, these preventable deaths can be minimized and help accelerate the ability to reach zero injuries and deaths on our roadways more quickly and efficiently. Recent estimates indicate the total roadway deaths for 2021 is 46,020, up 9% from 2020 and up 18% from 39,107 in 2019. Additional resources are needed to reduce this fatal trend. NSC supports Committee efforts to provide the CDC with $15.5 million to collect and analyze health- and crash-related data, employ evidence-based strategies to increase occupant protection, reduce impaired and distracted driving, support teen driving/graduated driver licensing, and provide state/tribal-specific technical assistance to identify and evaluate interventions.

Role of Health Statistics in Reducing Injuries, Fatalities

The National Safety Council requests the Committee appropriate $210 million for the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) FY23. This amount reflects an increase to NCHS’s base budget of $30 million from its FY2022 appropriation, restoring it to its FY2010 inflation-adjusted level. As you are aware, NCHS collects data on an array of issues, including but not limited to chronic disease prevalence, health disparities, teen pregnancy, infant mortality, disproportionate maternal mortality among African American women, emergency room use, causes of death, and rates of insurance to name a few. NCHS health data is critical to helping officials better understand and confront some of our most pressing health concerns and disparities, including COVID-19. Furthermore, these health statistics should be expanded to include occupational illness data to help understand potential links between environmental factors and workplace illness. 

Collaboration Between OSHA and NIOSH and Key Stakeholders

Lastly, NSC recognizes that technology is increasingly incorporated into how we work. This has been especially proven during the COVID-19 pandemic, as some workers worked from their home and other locations, which was enabled by technology innovation and has allowed for greater accessibility. Teleworking is but one way technology can be incorporated into our working lives. NIOSH’s “Envisioning the future of work to safeguard the safety, health and well-being of the workforce” states that artificial intelligence may be used to control risk and prevent health and safety concerns, including those that could result in catastrophic outcomes. Technology could reduce the need of humans to do “dirty, dangerous, and dull (or monotonous)” work. 

NSC encourages the committee to affirm the increasingly important role of technology in improving occupational safety and health. Therefore, NSC recommends that the committee direct the Department of Labor - OSHA and Health and Human Services - NIOSH convene stakeholders to examine the role of technology in improving safety. In particular, efforts are needed to make technology innovation more accessible, to identify the most hazardous situations for the American workforce, and to eliminate barriers to the adoption of critical safety controls by employers. We encourage the committee, by convening stakeholders, to request recommendations on these topics to specifically focus on reducing fatalities.

Thank you for your time and attention to these important programs.

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