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Lawmakers Should Stop Attacking Workplace Health and Safety Protections

May 24, 2016

Lawmakers Should Stop Attacking Workplace Health and Safety Protections

Statement of Emily Gardner, Worker Health and Safety Advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections will hold a hearing attacking the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) new recordkeeping rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.

It is shameful that instead of fighting for safer workplaces, House Republicans on the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections are attacking a new rule from OSHA that could help save workers’ lives.

OSHA’s limited access to injury and illness data has hamstrung its enforcement efforts. The new rule will modernize the agency’s recordkeeping system, ensuring it has timely access to establishment-specific workplace injury and illness data. With more current and accurate data at its disposal, OSHA will better be able to pinpoint deadly hazards in workplaces, save lives and prevent injuries.

Anti-worker organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have accused OSHA of using the rule to “shame” employers by posting data from their health and safety records online. In reality, making this data public will give employers a benchmark, encouraging them to adhere to high safety standards at their worksites long before they undergo an OSHA inspection.

Instead of championing the goals of corporate lobbyists, House Republicans should support OSHA’s efforts to safeguard workers.