HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Lawmakers and union workers are calling for a bill to be passed in the state legislature, that gives public sector workers the same workplace protections as private-sector workers.
House Bill 1082 is also known as the Jake Schwab Worker Safety Bill, named after an Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority worker who died after a workplace accident in 2014.
“It was just an unfortunate situation that happened there, that could have been alleviated with things like this bill in place,” said Representative Pat Harkins, the bill’s prime sponsor.
Many private-sector employees in Pennsylvania are protected under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Public sector employees are not. House Bill 1082 would extend those protections to the public sector.
“A safe workplace, it’s a right. It’s not a privilege,” said Dave Gash, Harrisburg Regional CLC President. “It is time to guarantee public workers and their families the same rights given to every other employee.”
The bill has been introduced in two previous sessions but has been stalled in committee both times.According to the U.S. Labor Department, since the passage of OSHA in 1970, workers killed on the job have fallen from about 14,000 to just over 4,000.