Senator Al Franken introduces bill to improve workplace safety

Legislation introduced by Senator Al Franken, DFL-Minn., would update the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act and improve conditions for workers. The bill, titled the “Protecting America’s Workers Act,” comes on the heels of the annual April 28th commemoration of Workers Memorial Day.

“When Minnesotans go to work they should be confident that their workplace is safe,” said Franken, the senior Democrat on the Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee. “But too many Americans are still exposed to unnecessary hazards on the job and we continue to see preventable workplace deaths and injuries. This legislation will improve and modernize our workplaces and help ensure safer conditions for the American worker.”

The Protecting America’s Workers Act would extend OSHA coverage to workers who are currently excluded, strengthen civil and criminal penalties for violations, enhance antidiscrimination protections and strengthen the rights of workers, unions, and victims.

The same legislation was introduced in the last session of Congress, but no action was taken on it.

“While President Trump continues to break his promises by rolling back worker protections, Democrats are going to keep fighting to make sure corporations and industries are not taking advantage of their workers or putting them at unnecessary risk,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., an original co-sponsor. “I’m proud to join my colleague Senator Franken to introduce this legislation, which makes long-overdue reforms to the OSH Act, and give workers peace of mind that their employers are doing everything they can to keep them safe.”

Other co-sponsors are Senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Article by Editor Barb Kucera is reprinted from WorkdayMinnesota.