April 28 is Workers Memorial Day in America. It is a day to remember the thousands of workers killed and the millions of workers injured on-the-job each year. Workers Memorial Day is sponsored by the AFL-CIO and April 28 is also the anniversary of the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970.
The OSH Act has never been updated since it was created forty years ago and there are a lot of things that should be fixed. Many workers are not protected by the OSH Act and penalties for violations of the OSH Act are weak. The Protecting American Workers Act (PAWA) is in Congress now trying to be passed and it would help fill many of the loopholes in the OSH Act.
According to the American Postal Workers Union:
The PAWA would:
- Expand protection to federal and other workers not covered under the OSHA law (The Postal Service was made subject to OSHA rules under the Postal Employees Safety Enhancement Act of 1998.)
- Increase employer penalties for job safety violations;
- Require correction of hazards while employer contests of violations are pending;
- Enhance whistleblower protections for workers who raise job safety concerns;
- Expand worker and union rights in OSHA inspections and enforcement cases; and
- Provide victims of job injuries and illnesses and family members the right to be heard in OSHA investigations.
Even though the OSH Act is flawed it is better than the almost complete lack of protection offered workers before the OSH Act was passed. In the early 20th century workers were not protected at all and it was sometimes considered cheaper to replace a killed worker than to implement safety measures. Sometimes people forget or take for granted the rights that were hard-won in earlier years.
If you need a good workman’s compensation lawyer in Richmond, Virginia call Michelle at 75-7755 or toll free at 877-755-7744 or order your FREE copy of The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia: Everything You Need to Know if You Get Hurt on the Job.