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The ERC program, launched in 1977, is intended to carry out the mandate of the Occupational Safety and Health Act to ensure
occupational health nursing, and occupational safety. A research training program at the regional ERCs was subsequently mandated by
the Congress; in part to attract graduates into academic teaching
programs, an extensive continuing education and outreach program is
offered which, over the last five years, has reached an estimated
As indicated above, NIOSH also provides training
funds for about twenty-five single-discipline project grantees at
current total training budget is $10,472,000 for Fiscal 1991.
We are well aware that your committee has, over the past
Congress has repeatedly kept the three program alive in the face of
safety and health
a lack of support and
uncertainty of completion of their education requirements.
Meanwhile, the manpower shortages in key occupational
health specialties have been exacerbated. For example, many of all
of the limited number of occupational medicine practitioners in the
United States the products of the ERC and training grant programs. Yet, in 1989, only 122 physicians received full-time training in occupational medicine at ERCS. The overall impact of
Federal budgetary restraints in recent years can be measured by the
fact that almost
at the ERCs and project grants
graduated in each of the peak budget support years of 1980-1981,
when the Federal appropriations were $12.9 million.
The current level of graduates is down by nearly two
thirds, due to the fact that funding levels have been reduced.
FY 1990 and FY 1991, the funding levels have remained at about $10
No additional FY 1992 funds have been requested by the
Administration for the Education and training grant program which,
is currently at $10.4 million.
We believe that this is unfortunate and once again are
requesting your help in furthering worker safety
research and professional development.
Indeed, we believe that a minimum acceptable level for
the overall NIOSH budget is $130 million for Fiscal 1992, increase of approximately $33 million over the Administration's
this requested increase,
$28 million should
allocated for NIOSH research, bringing the total research budget up
to $114.5 million.
The remaining $5 million should be added to the
training grant program, raising it to $15.4 million.
This proposal is modest, indeed, compared to where the NIOSH budget should be in light of the past cuts.
We have attached to this statement a table that measures
the dramatic impact of NIOSH budget cuts during the 1980's.
will note that
the Fiscal 1980 appropriation for NIOSH was $80.4
million (base year), of which $12.9 million was for Education and
In fiscal 1992. it would retire a NIOSH appropriation
or $168.521715 iust te eral the comparable Funding of 1980!
these same real dollar figures were to be applied to the Education
that effective and low-cost remedies can be developed and insti
our present level
of occupational health
activity in the United States is simply not meeting the demand for
It should be emphasized that the annual cost of occupa
tional iniuries and illnesses in our country is now estimated to be
This amounts to about $1,667 per worker each year!
equivalent of $12.33 in preventive occupational safety and health
programs for each worker and Finland invested $12.29_per worker in
These statistical comparisons are even more startling when measured against the fact that occupational musculoskeletal disorders alone the disability of
12 million U.S.
workers annually, while occupational, traumatic injuries disable
another 10 million workers and result in the annual death of some
10,000 workers. Occupational-induced hearing loss affects 500,000 American workers a year.
Many, if not most, of these
fatalities and injuries could be prevented by more effective, professionally-directed safety and health programs.
Much is said today about the need for America to become
more competitive so as to reduce our trade and budget deficits.
believe that the prevention of even a modest portion of the annual
occupational injuries, diseases and deaths would produce dramatic
dividends throughout our economy.
We are acutely aware of the difficult budgetary situation which confronts the Congress and the major effort that is required
to get the deficit under control.
But we are also convinced that
the benefits of an effective occupational health and safety program are critical to the Nation's future, and thus warrant additional
We, therefore, urge you and your committee to seriously
consider an appropriation for Fiscal 1992 of a total of $130
million for NIOSH activities, including $114.5 million in the
research line and $15.4 million in training line of the CDC/NIOSH
The latter figure includes a modest restoration of lost
ground in the ERC and Project Training Grant and a small expansion
of the research training effort just recently begun.
We thank you for your past support of
our work and
sincerely hope that your evaluation of the progress we have made in occupational health and safety education despite limited funding
will merit your favorable action on our budgetary request.