Freeze, Cuts Affect 14 Percent of OR-OSHA's Staff
In the agency's June newsletter, Administrator Michael Wood discussed the moves made in response to a longer-than-expected revenue shortfall.
Participants in the SAFETY listserv know Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA, well for sharing thoughtful, insightful comments about hotly debated or confusing questions. Wood shares something else -- the difficulty caused by freezing vacant positions, laying off eight staffers, and shifting a few positions from full to half time -- in a column in this month's newsletter from his agency. All told, OR-OSHA's authorized staffing of 222 positions is being reduced by 32, or 14 percent, Wood writes.
Although some of the vacancies are in enforcement personnel, Wood writes, "The good news is that, even with these staffing reductions, we will continue to maintain a large enforcement and educational presence in the highest hazard workplaces. And the decisions we make now to address the revenue shortfall will not all translate to budget reductions in the future -- we expect to be able to fill frozen positions and perhaps restore certain other cuts in the years to come."
He says OR-OSHA is evaluating possible reductions in the state's VPP program, including a moratorium on new applicants and ideas for cutting the cost of recertifying existing sites, and wants input from stakeholders as it decides.