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Washington Labor & Employment Wire » Protecting America’s Workers Act (H.R. 2067)

Protecting America’s Workers Act (H.R. 2067)

Core Provisions: This legislation would amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act to expand coverage under the Act, increase protections for whistleblowers, and increase penalties for certain violators. The legislation would extend OSHA coverage to state, local, and federal employees and would enhance coverage for employees in certain industries, such as the airline and railroad industries. The bill would also increase penalties for repeated and willful violations, including the possibility of felony charges when an employer’s repeated and willful violations result in serious injury or death.  Under the proposed legislation, workers and their families would also have the right to challenge reductions in fines and other penalties.

Status: H.R. 2067 was introduced by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) on April 23, 2009 and was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor.  The Committee will hold a hearing on April 28, 2009, which is Workers’ Memorial Day, on whether OSHA penalties are sufficient to deter health and safety violations.