According to the 2016 Fiscal Year budget proposals in the Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has requested an additional $39 million of funding for next year. The funding would help the agency to hire 90 additional members to its full-time staff, including 60 that would be dedicated to federal enforcement.
The federal enforcement portion of the budget proposal accounts for $17.6 million of that $39 million increase. With the additional funding that it would receive through this budget, OSHA projects that it would be able to conduct approximately 37,785 inspections in the 2016 fiscal year.
If OSHA is expecting to ramp up the amount of inspections it conducts, then it stands to reason that it is preparing for a greater influx of whistleblower claims. And the budget proposal reflects that, with $5.1 million of the $39 million being specifically dedicated to whistleblower protection programs. That additional money would bring whistleblower protection funding to a total of $22.6 million. Part of that $5.1 million would bring in 22 more full-time staff members that would be solely dedicated to whistleblower cases and whistleblower protection.
According to OSHA, the increase in funding for whistleblower protection would allow the agency to improve its responsiveness to the ever-growing number of whistleblower cases being filed. The organization would be able to improve the timeliness and quality of its investigations and improve the access to information about whistleblower rights to those people that do file a whistleblower complaint.
Based on these budget requests, it would appear that federal organizations believe that for at least the next couple years, we are going to continue to see record numbers of whistleblowers come forward to expose wrongdoing.
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