How a better rebuilding bill will save workers’ lives
Yves came and sometimes, the content revealed by the article exceeded their intentions. This post by Tom Conway, the international chairman of the United Steel Workers Union, reveals (again) the extent to which the protection of American workers has been eroded. This includes on Team Dem’s watch, which pretends to be a friend of the laborer while participating in kicking it to the side of the road.
Biden’s “rebuild better” has encountered a lot of trouble. To a certain extent, this reflects the Democratic Party’s unstable control of Congress. But it also reflects that the government has done a poor job of explaining the content of the bill, why it is worth supporting, and why the hyped cost figures are misleading. The fact that CNN is running 10 things you didn’t know are in the Democratic Party’s “Rebuild Better” bill It is of great significance at this later juncture. Of course, if the Democrats seriously represent anyone other than special interests and the rich, they would have had a public relations battle with the CBO a long time ago.
When Ron Brady drives through the highway construction zone, he pays special attention to whether there are safety violations that threaten the lives of workers.
In the past few years, as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is encouraged by the weakening state, he has seen more and more employers increasingly willing to ignore the rules.
The funding and personnel shortage caused by the former presidential government The faltering OSHA And put workers in many industries at risk. But now, Congress is preparing to pass a bill that will help revitalize the agency and provide the resources needed to protect workers in a growing economy.
In addition to many other regulations that help workers and their families, Rebuild better legislation recent House approval This will enable OSHA to respond to more workplaces, investigate more complaints, and proactively address more hazards.
“They have been severely understaffed for a long time,” said Brady, president of United Steel Workers (USW) Local 14614, which represents approximately 1,200 workers in West Virginia’s chemical, construction, gaming, manufacturing, and other industries.
“They are very professional,” he said of OSHA inspectors. “I always find that they are well-trained. I think many of them are frustrated. They don’t have the resources to really do the job. They are simply not enough to cover it.”
Number of OSHA inspectors Fell to its lowest level in half a century In 2019, the agency carried out Reduce investigations into major hazards such as chemical exposure and musculoskeletal risks, Because the previous president deliberately weakened the institution to benefit the company.
Brady pays close attention to the safety of his members.
But in recent years, he said he has seen other construction workers driving high beams without fall protection and risking their lives in work areas without proper signs. And he knows that OSHA’s starvation also puts workers in other industries at higher risk.
“Everyone is cutting corners, cutting budgets, and trying to do more with fewer people. Things will get worse and worse,” Brady said.
After taking office in January 2021, President Joe Biden quickly Take measures Put OSHA back on track.He filled key vacancies and appointed time-tested and experienced advocates Top leadership positionsBut more effort is needed to reinvigorate the agency’s prevention and deterrence missions.
Rebuild better legislation, Now in the senate, Which will help Biden achieve its goal of doubling the number of inspectors to approximately 1,500. It also authorizes the agency to impose higher fines on employers who disregard safety rules. In some cases, every time they deliberately violate the rules Up to 700,000 US dollars.
Greater penalties are needed to prevent safety mistakes. Brady said that the current low fines only encourage employers to bet on workers’ lives.
The additional resources provided through the Build Back Better Act will also enable OSHA to focus on other types of prevention, such as National standard formulation Protect workers from growing and emerging threats.
For example, after the death of a colleague due to a combustible dust incident in 2015, workers at the former International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga, New York and the USW’s Department of Health, Safety and Environment worked with OSHA and the company to implement new safety measures aimed at ensuring Such a tragedy never happened again.
However, workers worry that their counterparts in other facilities in the United States are still vulnerable, and they hope OSHA will implement industry-wide safeguards.
They are still waiting.
Even before the tragedy of Ticonderoga emphasized the need for it, OSHA began to develop standards for combustible dust.But the agency The project was shelved during the previous administration Because of “resource constraints and other priorities.”
“If there are standards for combustible dust, everyone will follow the rules,” explains Paul Shaffer, president of USW Local 005, who represents workers in the paper mill, which is now owned by Sylvamo.
“This will make the work of everyone in the industry safer,” he said, noting that the standards both raise awareness and clarify the measures employers must take to ensure worker safety. “You can’t guard against things you don’t know.”
Combustible dust is only one threat that requires OSHA’s attention. Workers also need national standards to help protect them from heat stress (increasing danger due to climate change), infectious diseases and workplace violence. Without the protective measures that OSHA requires employers to take and hold them accountable, Shaffer observes that workers and unions “spent a lot of time trying to get companies to do the right thing.”
As the country prepares for implementation, strengthening OSHA is critical Historic USD 1 trillion infrastructure investment plan Biden signed into law in November.
The upgrade of roads and bridges, airports, sluices and dams, energy systems, and communication networks will maintain millions of middle-class jobs, benefiting construction workers and workers who produce raw materials and parts for infrastructure projects.
These workers will rely on OSHA to respond to complaints, inspect the workplace, and take other necessary measures to ensure their safety.
Brady recalled the days when OSHA inspectors visited the work site regularly and looked forward to them again not only responding to complaints, but also conducting spot checks to provide a safe and healthy workplace.
“This makes the management more security aware,” he said.