Senator Trying to Update OSH Act for American Workers
Posted On Behalf of Schmidt Kramer Injury Lawyers on Apr 02, 2013 in Workers' Compensation
The OSH Act passed 42 years ago and was a huge step for the safety and well-being of American workers. However, as we know, things change over time and, because of that, Washington Senator Patty Murray is introducing an update of sorts called the Protecting America's Workers Act (PAWA). She believes it is "a long overdue update to the OSH Act, and a good step towards making workplaces safer and healthier across America."
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Murray feels that every worker in every industry should feel protected while they are working so hard to get their jobs done correctly. PAWA would expand on the OSH Act's protections by:
- Covering more workers. Right now, OSHA doesn't protect state, county, municipal, and U.S. government employees.
- Increasing penalties for employers who break the law. Right now, employers basically get a slap on the wrist if one of their willful violations leads to a worker's death. PAWA would hold them much more accountable, making felony charges an option and a minimum fine of $50,000.
- Protecting employees who report unsafe work conditions. OSHA currently protects whistleblowers, but the provisions have not been updated since 1970. PAWA would update the protections by incorporating successful administrative procedures adopted in other laws.
PAWA would also protect workers in more ways and make employers more accountable for providing a safe workplace. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Kennedy in previous Congresses, and Bob Casey from Pennsylvania is among one of the original Senate co-sponsors.