Our congressional representatives need to hear from us about this proposed legislation. The Library of Congress provides tracking of the progress of bills including co-sponsors.
A sample letter is below. Add or change & be sure to include your name and address.
Dear Representative/Senator ____,
I am writing to encourage you to co-sponsor HB 2004 the Protecting America's Workers Act.
Since 2001, the Administration has blocked or withdrawn dozens of important safety rules, including a number of measures that may have prevented the recent mine tragedies. Voluntary compliance has been favored over issuing new protective standards and enforcement. Industry officials have been put in charge of government safety programs.
In response to the recent tragedies in America's mines Congressional leaders have ignored calls to strengthen safety laws and instead are pushing for legislation that would gut OSHA enforcement. This is the wrong direction.
The Workplace Wrongful Death Accountability Act would stiffen sanctions for worker deaths caused by an employer's willful violations of basic safety standards and would correct a number of problems with the current OSHA law:
It would extend OSHA coverage to state, county and municipal employees, as well as federal employees, such as flight attendants who receive inferior coverage from other federal agencies.
The bill would require OSHA to investigate any workplace incident that results in the death of a worker or the hospitalization of 2 or more employees. (The current law only requires OSHA to investigate upon the death of a worker or the hospitalization of 3 or more employees.)
It would give surviving family members of workers who are killed greater participation rights in OSHA's workplace investigation and "penalty negotiation" process with the respective employers responsible for these fatalities. Currently family members have no role in OSHA's negotiations with employers.
It prohibits OSHA from downgrading willful citations in worker fatalities to "unclassified" citations. Downgrading a willful citation to an "unclassified" citation removes the threat of criminal prosecution from employers, as well as reducing their risk of lawsuits.
The bill requires employers to cover the costs of personal protective equipment for their employees. This would, in effect, force OSHA to issue its long-awaited "Payment for Personal Protective Equipment" standard that has been languishing since the last days of the Clinton administration over four years ago.
I look forward to your positive response and to your co-sponsorship of this important legislation.