Reps. Wild, Levin Urge Trump Administration to Reinstate Worker Protection Rule that Requires Workplaces to be Transparent about Injuries, Illnesses, and Death on the Job
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Susan Wild (PA-07) and Andy Levin (MI-09), members of the House Committee on Education and Labor, led 32 members of Congress in urging Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta to reverse the Department of Labor’s (DOL) decision to roll back a rule that protected American workers by requiring employers to be transparent about workplace injuries. The rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, required companies with 250 employees to regularly submit comprehensive reports on workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“As Members of Congress who are focused on defending high safety standards for all workers, we are deeply concerned that the final rule endangers worker protections and undermines hard-fought gains,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter to Acosta. “Until 2016—when the rule was enacted—most workplace injury records were difficult for many workers to obtain and inaccessible to researchers and the public. At that time, workers in many of our most dangerous industries did not have the necessary information to protect themselves against dangers in the workplace, and the Administration’s reversal risks putting them back in this same situation.”
“As a nation, we have made massive gains to require accountability from employers, enact commonsense safety standards, and reduce the number of injuries and deaths that are happening on the job but workplace injuries and deaths are on the rise. By rolling back this rule, the Labor Department is rolling back hard-fought progress by the labor movement and putting millions of American workers at risk,” Wild said. “We should be raising workplace safety standards, not lowering them. Pennsylvanians working hard to provide for their families and get a job done deserve a safe place to work. Period.”
“With its new rule, the Trump administration is making workers less safe—plain and simple,” Levin said. “Injury reporting is one of the best ways we can improve workplace safety and hold employers accountable for unacceptable conditions. Through this letter and my Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn this rule, Congress has made clear that the Department of Labor must make the safety and wellbeing of American workers a top priority.”
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.
“The pervasiveness of preventable workplace-related deaths and injuries in our country is unacceptable, and we must make improving worker safety an urgent national priority,” the lawmakers wrote. “On behalf of all of America’s workers, we ask you to help combat dangerous working conditions by reinstating the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule now.”
In addition to Wild and Levin, the letter is signed by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AL), James McGovern (D-MA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), and David Trone (D-MD).