Protecting Workers under the New Administration

Posted on Nov 23, 2016
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by Douglas Parker, Executive Director

I’m not going to play political scientist and give you my analysis of the election, as tempting as that might be. Nor am I going to write about what I think this election and its outcome are doing to this country. There are people far more eloquent, and who face potential consequences much more personally than I do, and I encourage you to give your attention to those voices.

What I want to write about is what a Trump Administration could mean for the health and safety of workers. The Obama Administration deserves tremendous credit for new worker protections such as the silica and black lung standards, its emphasis on protecting workers who blow the whistle on workplace hazards, and the enhanced use of enforcement powers against chronic violators. While we benefit from some degree of isolation from federal policy because California has a state occupational safety and health plan, federal rollbacks of health and safety protection policies and resources would still significantly impact California workers.

Budget Cuts Could Leave Workers in the Cold

One of the simplest and most damaging ways for the new Administration to make an impact on safety and health is through the budgeting process. The majorities of both houses and the President-Elect believe regulations like worker protections are the primary obstacle to greater economic growth. Despite being chronically underfunded to carry out its mandate already, we can expect this philosophy to lead to efforts to diminish OSHA by strangling it of funding. These efforts could come sooner rather than later, especially if the current Congress is unable to reach some form of a budget agreement this session and leaves it to the next Congress and President to finalize a budget.

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New Law Proposes Needed Worker Protections

Posted on Jul 9, 2010
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Refinery_Worker Recent tragedies, including at the Massey Upper Big Branch mine, the Tesoro Refinery, and BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig underscore the urgent need to strengthen our nation's workplace health and safety laws.

The Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010 (H.R. 5663) strengthens the mine safety law and incorporates a number of provisions to strengthen the OSH Act. Click here for a fact sheet on H.R. 5663. These important OSH Act provisions come from the Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA - H.R. 2067, S. 1580) – legislation introduced last year and the subject of numerous Congressional hearings.

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Strengthening The Federal OSH Act

Posted on Jan 7, 2010
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Hands Worksafe has joined the Protecting Workers Alliance to work towards the passage of the Protecting America’s Workers Act (H.R. 2067 and S. 1580). This is the first major effort to update and improve the legislation that was passed almost 40 years ago to create the OSHA and NIOSH agencies.

The Protecting America's Workers Act (PAWA) would improve worker protections, including protection from retaliation for exercising the right to refuse unsafe work. It would also expand the rights of workers and unions to participate in inspection and enforcement cases, including the right to appeal the nature of a citation and the amount of penalties assessed.

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