Testimony to U.S. House Committee on Appropriations - National Safety Council

Testimony to U.S. House Committee on Appropriations

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

May 19, 2021 | Washington, D.C.

Lorraine M. Martin

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Chair DeLauro, Ranking Member Cole, and members of the Subcommittee: thank you for inviting me to testify on behalf of the National Safety Council (NSC). Today, I want to speak about the importance of fully funding several agencies that are critical to our mission of eliminating preventable death and injury, from the workplace to anyplace. These agencies are: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (Injury Center).

NSC is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate — and has been for over 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 15,000 member companies and federal agencies represent employees at nearly 50,000 U.S. worksites. NSC works closely with each of the agencies I will discuss today to advance our mission.

At no point in recent history has the critical role of sound, data-driven occupational safety and health information been as apparent. OSHA and NIOSH continue to play a foundational role in protecting workers during the COVID-19 pandemic; both organizations 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.

On a typical day, over 12,600 U.S. workers sustain injuries on the job that are serious enough to require medical consultation and 13 workers die from an unintentional injury suffered at work.1 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 that require strong Congressional support. As such, we urge you to support funding for OSHA at a minimum of $694.7 million as you craft the FY 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.

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. NSC also requests that the committee support the establishment of a cooperative agreement program at NIOSH focused on workers’ mental health.

This regular funding is critical for OSHA and NIOSH to make strategic decisions that will protect workers and their communities, while making efficient use of limited taxpayer dollars.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
If anyone doubted the important role that the CDC plays in the U.S. public health infrastructure, they should not after living through the past year. 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. NSC requests that Congress appropriate at least $10 billion for the CDC in FY22.

CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (Injury Center)
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- 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 $750 million for the Injury Center in FY22.

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 death. NSC and the National Council on Aging co-led an organizational letter, which was signed by more than 40 organizations, to this committee asking for a modest increase in funding that I hope you will heed. Our letter called for a minimum of $4 million for Injury Center programming and research to prevent older adult falls and $10 million in FY22 for Administration for Community Living (ACL) engagement of the aging services network to implement and sustain evidence-based falls prevention programs.

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

National Safety Council FY 22 Requested Minimum Funding Levels

Agency

Funding Requested

CDC total

NIOSH total

Education and Research Centers

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector

Total Worker Health program

Injury Center total

Older Adult Falls funding

OSHA total

$10 billion

$375.3 million

$34 million

$30.5 million

$4 million increase from FY21

$750 million

$4 million

$694.7 million