Page images
PDF
EPUB

Safety Board. In order to more accurately identify the scope of the authority which would be granted, we suggest that the bill be amended to insert, in the section relating to purpose and establishment, after the word "knowledge” on line 8 of page 1, the words "in the medical, clinical, and behavioral sciences.

Other than to suggest the above amendment, the Department of Commerce would defer to the views of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare concerning H.R. 133.

The Bureau of the Budget advises that there would be no objection to the submission of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely,

ROBERT E. GILES.

FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY,
OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR,

Washington, D.C., April 15, 1963.
Hon. OREN HARRIS,
Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your letter of February 14, 1963, requesting the views of this Agency on H.R. 133, a bill to amend title III of the Public Health Service Act to establish a National Accident Prevention Center.

We understand that the Bureau of the Budget does not believe that any additional legislation is necessary at this time to enable the Public Health Service to carry out its appropriate functions in this field. Certainly the Federal Aviation Agency has adequate legislative authority for securing information relating to aviation accidents. I therefore defer to the views of the Bureau with regard to the need for the proposed legislation.

The Bureau of the Budget has advised that there is no objection from the standpoint of the administration's program to the submission of this report to your committee. Sincerely,

N. E. HALABY, Administrator.

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION,

Washington, D.C., April 8, 1963. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Your letter of February 14, 1963, requested the views of the General Services Administration on H.R. 133, 88th Congress, a bill to amend title III of the Public Health Service Act to establish a National Accident Prevention Center.

GSA is currently represented on the Federal Safety Council reestablished by Executive Order No. 10990 of February 2, 1962, to advise the Secretary of Labor on the development and maintenance of safety organizations and programs in the Federal Government. The Council also establishes criteria, standards, and procedures designed to eliminate work hazards and health risks, and to prevent injuries and accidents in Federal employment.

In addition to the activities of the Federal Safety Council, the Secretary of Labor is engaged currently in developing and promoting standards of industrial safety and health, and in assisting the several States in the preparation of industrial safety codes and development of statewide accident prevention programs.

The subject bill, H.R. 133, proposes to establish a National Accident Prevention Center in the Public Health Service of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The functions of the proposed National Accident Prevention Center appear to overlap those already vested in the Secretary of Labor. It is the view of GSA that the functions prescribed by the subject bill arc more closely related to conritions of employment than to problems of health.

Although GSA is in full accord with the objectives of H.R. 133, we do not favor enactment of this bill in its present form for the reasons stated above.

It is not anticipated that H.R. 133, if enacted, would have any financial effect upon GSA operations.

The Bureau of the Budget has advised that, from the standpoint of the administration's program, there is no objection to the submission of this report to your committee. Sincerely yours,

BERNARD L. Boutin, Administrator.

DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE,

Washington, April 9, 1963.
Hon. OREN HARRIS,
Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR Mr. CHAIRMAN: This letter is in response to your request of February 14, 1963, for a report on H.R. 133, a bill to amend title III of the Public Health Service Act to establish a National Accident Prevention Center.

The bill, identical to one of the same number we reported on last year, would establi a National ident Prev ntion Center in the Public Health Service. It would authorize the Surgeon General to conduct and foster research in the causes and methods of preventing accidents; to promote the coordination of research and control programs conducted by public and private agencies and individuals; to make available the research facilities of the Service to others; to make grants-in-aid to universities, hospitals, laboratorees, and other public or private agencies for research projects in accident prevention, including grants for constructing, acquiring, leasing, equipping, and maintaining research facilities; to establish an information center and make available information on the causes and prevention of accidents; and to secure the assistance and advice of persons from the United States or abroad who are experts in the field of accident prevention.

The bill would also establish in the Public Health Service an Accident Prevention Advisory Board composed of the Surgeon General as Chairman and 12 members appointed by the President. The Board would have responsibility for advising the Surgeon General on matters of policy relating to the accident prevention activities of the Service, for reviewing and recommending action on applications for research grants, and for collecting and disseminating information on studies being carried out as to the cause and prevention of accidents.

The primary objective of H.R. 133, as we interpret its provisions, is to specify the role and responsibilities of the Public Health Service in the field of accident prevention. We are entirely in accord with this objective.

The continuing high toll of injuries, deaths, and economic loss resulting from accidents in the United States is one of the major health problems affecting the American people today. Accidents are the leading cause of death among persons from 1 to 35 years of age. In the 15 to 25 age group, accidents account for more deaths than all other causes combined. It is therefore essential that the Public Health Service, as the principal health agency of the Federal Government, concern itself with this major health problem and, in cooperation with other Federal agencies with substantial interests in the problem, make full use of its resources in developing improved protection against this major cause of death and disability.

For the most part, the existing statutory authority of the Public Health Service provides an adequate base for the development of Service programs in the field of accident prevention. The only additional authorities which may be needed are for training grants and for special projects to stimulate the development or demonstration of new methods of accident prevention and control.

The activities of the Public Health Service in the field of accident prevention have been substantially increased during recent years under the existing broad research and technical assistance authorities in the Public Health Service Act. The Public Health Service program currently being carried out covers accidental deaths and injuries occurring on the highways, in the home, and in public places such as recreational areas. The Public Health Service approach and its greatest contribution to accident prevention will be made through the study and elimination of accident causes which arise from the human element in the accident situation. Special attention is being given to studying accidents of certain problem age groups such as poisoning in children and falls in the older age group.

The proper study of many of the human variables associated with accidents does require special research facilities which we are now in the process of providing. For example, simulation equipment to study drivers is being developed with funds provided by Congress in fiscal year 1963 and requested in fiscal year 1964. Similarly, program plans provide for staffing and equipping a project in St. Petersburg, Fla., for a study of accidents among the aged. "Much more needs to be done by the Public Health Service as well as by many other governmental and nongovernmental groups, however, in order to determine the causes and develop the preventive techniques which will be necessary for a fully effective national accident prevention program.

H.R. 133 would serve the useful purpose of highlighting the functions and role of the Service with specific reference to accident prevention. There are, however, a number of features of the bill which we believe should be modified or clarified.

It is not clear, for example, whether the intent of the bill is to establish an organizational unit in the Public Health Service called the National Accident Prevention Center or whether what is contemplated is to authorize the construction of a facility to be known by that name. The Public Health Service Act already provides broad authorization for the Surgeon General with the approval of the Secretary, to establish organizational units below the Bureau level. This current flexibility of organizational arrangement provides, we feel, a better legislative basis for efficiently organizing the functions of the Service than would a statutory requirement for the establishment of a specific organizational unit. The act also now provides authority to construct facilities as they become needed to carry out Service programs.

We are also concerned, as we stated in our report last year, that some parts of H.R. 133 are so broadly stated as to raise a possible issue of duplication of authority and responsibility of other Federal agencies. Accident prevention in its broadest sense is a legitimate and necessary concern of many Federal departments. The Public Health Service has a particular concern for the protection and promotion of health, of which accident prevention is an essential part. We feel, however, that is should be made clear in the legislation that the responsibilities assigned to the Service do not supersede or repeal the authorities of other Federal agencies for accident prevention activities within their own areas of responsibility.

The Public Health Service Act as amended by Public Law 87-838 provides authority for the Surgeon General to appoint advisory committees for the purpose of advising him in connection with any of his functions. For this reason, additional authorization, such as is contained in H.R. 133 for the establishment of an Accident Prevention Advisory Board, would not be necessary.

In summary, we are in accord with and support the overall objectives of H.R. 133. We can provide such technical assistance as your committee may wish in developing legislation pertaining to the role and functions of the Public Health Service. We assume, however, that your committee will elicit the views of other interested departments and agencies with respect to their functions and responsibilities in the field of accident prevention.

We are advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely,

ANTHONY J. CELEBREZZE, Secretary.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,

Washington, D.C., April 9, 1963. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. HARRIS: Your committee has requested a report on H.R. 133, a bill to amend title III of the Public Health Service Act to establish a National Accident Prevention Center.

This Department makes no recommendation regarding the enactment of H.R. 133, but should the committee favorably consider it, we recommend that it be amended to make it clear that it does not duplicate the functions of the Bureau of Mines or other Federal agencies in the field of accident prevention.

H.R. 133 amends title III of the Public Health Service Act, as amended (42 U.S.C., sec. 241 et seq.) by adding a new part which authorizes the establishment of a National Accident Prevention Center in the Public Health Service for the purposes of assisting in the "advancement, dissemination, and exchange of knowledge relating to the cause and prevention of accidents." In addition, H.R. 133 authorizes the Surgeon General to make grants-in-aid for research projects and establishes an Accident Prevention Advisory Board.

Section 301 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended (42 U.S.C., sec. 241) provides as follows:

“The Surgeon General shall conduct in the Service, and encourage, cooperate with, and render assistance to other appropriate public authorities, scientific institutions, and scientists in the conduct of, and promote the coordination of, research, investigations, experiments, demonstrations, and studies relating to the causes, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of physical and mental diseases and impairments of man ***.”

It is clear from the above statute that the Surgeon General is primarily concerned with environmental control of health problems and has developed an expertise in this field. The term "accident" encompasses both personal injuries and property damage. The great majority of accidents reported each year do not involve any personal injuries. Thus, while the concept of a National Accident Prevention Center may have merit, we question the advisability of its establishment in an agency which is not concerned with problems related to the causes of accidents to real or personal property. Even in the case of personal injuries, much of the research connected with the cause and prevention of accidents appears to be more nearly associated with the field of engineering than with the medical profession.

Section 384 of the bill establishes an Accident Prevention Advisory Board for the purposes of advising, consulting with, and making recommendations to the Surgeon General on matters of policy. Section 385 of H.R. 133 also authorizes the Board to review research projects or programs submitted to or initiated by the Board and certify approval to the Surgeon General; to collect and disseminate information as to studies being carried on in the United States relating to the cause and prevention of accidents; to review applications for grants-in-aid for research projects under this legislation; to recommend acceptance of conditional gifts; and to make recommendations regarding the administration of the act. We believe that the functions of the Board under this section of the bill will duplicate the functions of the Surgeon General under section 382. Further, we question the desirability of giving an advisory board such specific functions when the members will not be Federal employees and may not meet often enough to properly carry out these functions. Accordingly, we suggest that section 385 be deleted.

H.R. 133 in its present form would duplicate activities conducted by the Secretary of the Interior, through the Bureau of Mines. The act of May 16, 1910, as amended (30 U.S.C. sec. 3) established the Bureau of Mines. Section 2 of that act provides:

"It shall be the province and duty of the Bureau of Mines, with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, to conduct inquiries and scientific and technologic investigations concerning mining, and the preparation, treatment, and utilization of mineral substances with a view to improving health conditions, and increasing safety * * * in the mining, quarrying, metallurgical, and other mineral industries; *** and to disseminate information concerning these subjects * * *."

Since its establishment, the advancement of health and safety, collection of data on causes of accidents, and the conduct of educational programs in accident prevention in the mineral and allied industries, and in mines in particular, have been responsibilities of major concern to the Bureau of Mines. The Bureau's staff has developed an expertise in these fields not duplicated in any other agency. The Bureau's success in collecting data on causes of accidents and in accident prevention training in the mineral industries, which is based on these data and on results of investigations and technical research by the Bureau, has long been recognized by the Congress, by other agencies of the Federal and State Governments, and by the mineral industries.

The accident prevention problems of the mineral industries in underground operations are peculiar to those industries and not susceptible to attack by techniques applicable in industries operating surface intsallations.

This was recognized by the Congress in the legislation establishing the Bureau of Mines and in subsequent legislation that conferred inspection and enforcement authority upon the Bureau in respect to its safety program in coal mines. See the Federal Coal Mine Safety Act, as amended (30 U.S.C. 451 et seq.). The Federal Coal Mine Safety Act, supra, provides that the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau, shall collect and report data on accidents in coal mines that result in personal injury. The Public Health Service also recognizes these facts as demonstrated by a memorandum of understanding, dated January 1962, which provides that the Public Health Service shall conduct the medical phases of health studies in the mineral industries and the Bureau shall conduct the engineering phases of such health and safety studies.

The present health and safety activities of the Bureau of Mines are performed by about 700 employees and require an annual expenditure of $8,953,000 (estimate for fiscal year 1964). These activities include all the functions of the proposed National Accident Prevention Center with respect to the mineral industries, except for the authority to make grants-in-aid under section 382(4) of the bill. We have not found that such authority is necessary to carry out effectively our programs for collection of data on accidents and for the prevention of accidents,

This Department, through the Bureau of Mines, believes it is best qualified to provide and evaluate Federal participation in accident prevention programs relating to all mineral industries. Thus, unless the bill is amended to exclude expressly the mineral industries and such other accident prevention activities, which are the legitimate and necessary concern of other Federal agencies, we believe it will result in needless duplication of effort.

The Bureau of the Budget has advised that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely yours,

KENNETH HOLUM, Assistant Secretary of the Interior,

INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION,

OFFICE OF THE CHAIRMAN,

Washington, D.C., March 25, 1963. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR CHAIRMAN HARRIS: Your letter of February 14, 1963, addressed to the Chairman of the Commission and requesting comments on a bill, H.R. 133, introduced by Congressmali Roberts, to amend title III of the Public Health Service Act to establish a National Accident Prevention Center, has been referred to our committee on legislation. After consideration by that committee, I am authorized to submit the following comments in its behalf:

H.R. 133 would amend the above-mentioned act so as to establish a National Accident Prevention Center in the Public Health Service. In brief, the functions of the proposed Center would be to conduct, promote, and coordinate research and investigations into the causes and prevention of accidents; to make the research facilities of the Public Health Service available for such purposes; to make grants-in-aid to institutions and other private or public agencies engaged in such research projects; to establish an information center; and to secure the advice and assistance of experts in the field of accident prevention.

The bill also provides for the establishment in the Public Health Service of an Accident Prevention Advisory Board. The Board would be headed by the Surgeon General, as chairman, or an officer designated by him for that purpose, and would consist of 12 additional members appointed by the President (none of whom are to be Federal employees), to be selected from among representatives of various State, interstate, and local governmental agencies; public and private interests concerned with or affected by accident prevention; and individual experts in the field. Besides its general function of advising, consulting with, and making recommendations to the Surgeon General with respect to his duties in the operation of the Center, the Board would be specifically charged with the duties of reviewing accident prevention research projects and certifying its approval of those which it deems meritorious; collecting and making available information on studies of accident causes and prevention; and reviewing applications for grants-in-aid and certifying its approval of those projects which show promise of making valuable contributions to human knowledge in the field of accident prevention.

Determining the causes of, and finding the means of preventing, accidents has become a matter of serious concern in this country. Among the areas of human activity in which the accident prevention problem has received special attention are industrial, farm, home, mine, radiation, water carrier, aircraft, railway, and highway hazards. Each of these areas is now in some measure the subject of interest and responsibility of various departments or agencies of the Federal Government, including this Commission. The area of most immediate concern to this Commission is, of course, that of promoting railroad and motor carrier safety. With respect to railroads, its responsibility includes the administration and enforcement of the several Safety Appliance Acts, the Hours of Service Act and the Locomotive Inspection Act. As to motor carriers, the Commission is authorized vo prescribe regulations governing the qualifications and maximum

« PreviousContinue »