Jan. 23, 2019

Expert to Testify That Maryland Legislature Must Put Worker Safety First, Require Health and Safety Screenings

Public Citizen’s Shanna Devine Will Call for Support of HB 24

WHAT: Testimony before the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee on HB 24, a construction worker safety bill. Shanna Devine, a worker health and safety advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, will testify Thursday and explain that the legislation would help stop preventable construction industry injuries and deaths by requiring the state to screen contractors for their safety and health records when awarding public work contracts.

“These severe injuries and fatalities are devastating for workers, their families and communities, and come with a significant price tag for the state’s economy,” Devine will tell state lawmakers. “It is time for the Maryland Legislature to ensure that all contractors receiving taxpayer dollars have an appropriate plan guaranteeing every worker goes home at the end of his or her shift.”

An identical bill, HB 1510, was introduced in 2016 and was influenced by a Public Citizen report showing that insufficient safety practices cost Maryland $712.8 million between 2008 and 2010. A subsequent Public Citizen report found that nearly half of the major construction contracts awarded by Maryland have gone to companies cited for worker safety violations.

From 2015 to 2017, Maryland recorded 15,000 construction industry accidents, and 63 construction workers in the state were killed on the job. In 2017 alone, the construction industry accounted for nearly 30 percent of workplace deaths in Maryland.

WHEN: 1 p.m. EST, Thurs., Jan. 24

WHO: Shanna Devine, worker health and safety advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

WHERE: House Economic Matters Committee
231 House Office Building
6 Blagden St.
Annapolis, Md.