In a major address last May at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHCE), OSHA Administrator Charles Jeffress called for major changes in the development of new worker health and safety standards.
Among other things, Jeffress called for more money to be devoted to the process, noting that while OSHA spends a piddling 5 percent of its resources on rulemaking, EPA devotes 40 percent of its far larger budget on new standards.
But for this comparison the OSHA administrator was relying on incorrect information given to him during a National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) meeting by Paul Lapsley, the EPA''s director of regulatory management.
An EPA spokesperson has confirmed that in fact the agency spends "no more than 20 percent" of its budget on rulemaking.
In dollar terms, this works out to "no more than" $1.46 billion, using President Clinton''s proposed fiscal year 2001 budget numbers, while OSHA can expect to spend about $21 million on rulemaking next year.
Even if Jeffress may have gotten the numbers wrong, NACOSH members agree with the OSHA administrator that his agency is being outspent by other federal agencies when it comes to the standard development process.
Mike Wright, director of health, safety, and environment for the United Steelworkers of America, stated in a recent NACOSH report on OSHA''s rulemaking process that "EPA had literally 80 times the resources devoted to rulemaking that OSHA had." Wright was not too far off: EPA in fact spends almost 70 times what OSHA does on rulemaking.
EPA puts out about 600 significant rules a year according to Lapsley.
In his AIHCE speech Jeffress said in a normal year OSHA usually produces two.
by James Nash