Rep. Wild Defends Essential Worker Protections in Ed and Labor Hearing
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) emphasized the serious hazards of excessive heat exposure and safe working conditions in the House Education & Labor Workforce Protection Subcommittee hearing on Preventing Workplace Injury and Death from Excessive Heat.
“The Lehigh Valley’s booming economy is made possible by thousands of hardworking people who deserve the right to feel safe at work,” Wild said. “Our district is home to many warehouses and factories where extreme heat can be common, and we have a responsibility to ensure common-sense measures are taken by employers to prevent these workplace tragedies. These basic protections, such as providing water and rest in cool areas, can literally save lives.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 1992-2016, exposure to excessive heat killed 783 U.S. workers and seriously injured 69, 374. A growing concern in the workplace, by 2024 it is predicted over 30 million people in the U.S. will have jobs that require outdoor work part or all of the day. More than 130 organizations have petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to adopt a heat protection standard and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends the employers implement a plan to prevent heat-related illness, which includes hydration, acclimatization, and schedules that alternate work with rest.
Wild has played a key role in advocating for increased worker protections by helping to secure $660 million in FY 2020 funding for OSHA in the Labor – Health and Human Services funding bill that passed the House in June. Wild also held a briefing with experts in workplaces safety and led 33 members of Congress in urging Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta to reverse the DOL decision to roll back a rule that protected American workers by requiring employers to be transparent about workplace injuries. The letter followed shortly after a roundtable Wild hosted in Lehigh Valley with local labor leaders where worker safety came up as a top concern.