Rep. Wild Holds Briefing on Worker Safety Rollbacks by Dept. of Labor

April 4, 2019
Press Release

VIDEO: Full briefing video available here.

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07), a member of the Committee on Education and Labor, held a briefing called “Workers Deserve Better” on the Department of Labor’s attempts to roll back worker protections. Introductory remarks were provided by U.S. Representative Alma Adams (NC-12), the Chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Workplace Protections. The panel was moderated by Jordan Barab, the Senior Labor Policy Advisor for the Committee on Education and Labor and included several experts in workplace safety including Lehigh Valley Labor Council President Jim Irwin, Director of Occupational Safety and Health at AFL-CIO Peg Seminario, David Michaels of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Director of Worker Health and Safety at the National Employment Law Project Deborah Berkowitz, and Worker Health and Safety Advocate Shanna Devine  to discuss the ways in which Congress can work to set safety standards and hold employers accountable to prevent injuries on the job.

"The rights, health, and safety of America’s workers are issues that directly or indirectly affect virtually every person in this country and need to be a top priority,” Wild said. “Making sure Federal agencies responsible for protecting workers are getting the funding they need to be effective, expanding workplace reporting, ensuring that all workers are treated fairly, and that fewer folks are getting injured on the job are issues that should be at the top of the agenda in Washington. If we want to look workers in the eye and say with any degree of sincerity that we’re looking out for them and their families, we have an obligation to make sure that the relevant agencies have the staffing, funding, and support they need.”

Wild recently 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 follows shortly after a roundtable Wild hosted in Lehigh Valley with local labor leaders where worker safety came up as a top concern. Based on data from the Department of Labor, 5,147 US workers died on the job in 2017, averaging 14 workers a day—including a record rate of deaths from falls and an increase in deaths from confined space. In addition, there has been a 15% decline in OSHA inspectors since 2010. In Pennsylvania, alone, there have been over 500 work related fatalities in the last 3 years.