Union and lawmakers calling for fair safety standards

Harrisburg

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.​

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