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Public Citizen Tells Maryland Legislature: Boost Construction Worker Safety

Mar. 3, 2016


Public Citizen Tells Maryland Legislature: Boost Construction Worker Safety

Maryland Bill, Influenced by Facts Found in Public Citizen Report, Would Prevent Tax Dollars From Going to Companies That Violate Safety Standards

WHAT: Testimony before the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee on HB 977, a construction worker safety bill. Emily Gardner, worker health and safety advocate with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, will explain that the legislation is critical to ensuring that all construction companies doing business with the state properly plan for the safety of their employees.

HB 977 was influenced by a Public Citizen report showing that insufficient safety practices cost Maryland $712.8 million between 2008 and 2010. During that time, the state recorded 55 construction-related fatalities, and 18,600 construction industry accidents, of which 11,000 required days away from work or a job transfer.

Under the legislation, when bidding on state contracts, construction firms would have to provide a sworn statement of their commitment to safety on the project and their plans for preventing and controlling occupational safety and health hazards. Currently, Maryland does not consider a company’s safety record, training programs or site safety plan when awarding contracts.

For contracts greater than $100,000, the winning company and its subcontractors also would complete a safety questionnaire designed to evaluate the company’s safety and health performance and implement additional safety and health measures based on the results.

The lack of construction worker regulations results in thousands of injuries and even death, costs the state hundreds of millions of dollars and forces workers to take tens of thousands of days off to recover from injuries.

WHEN: 1 p.m. EST, Friday, March 4

WHERE: Room 230, House Office Building, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, Md.

WHO: Emily Gardner, worker health and safety advocate, Public Citizen