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State Legislative Priorities:
Toxic chemicals at work and at home are contributing to an epidemic of disease but many of these chemicals can be replaced with safer alternatives. An Act for a Competitive Economy through Safe Alternatives Bill (S442 / H757) expands the successful Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) program by creating a comprehensive program to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives in consumer products and businesses.
Since 2004, the use of highly flammable floor finishing chemicals has resulted in three worker deaths, numerous severe injuries and countless devastating fires. The Act Relative to Floor Finishing Products (HB4565) prohibits the use of these extremely dangerous products.
Thousands of temporary workers in Massachusetts are sent off to work without having any idea where they are going, the type of work they will do, their rate of pay – even the name of their. The Temporary Worker Right to Know Bill (Senate Bill 680/ House Bill 1797) requires temporary agencies to provide in writing basic information, including the name of the employer; the kind of employment; whether the employee must receive special training; and rate of wages.
Each year 10 – 15% of workers in Massachusetts killed on the job are public sector workers. Thousands more are injured or become ill - but only private sector workers are covered under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). An Act to Provide a Safe Workplace for Employees of the Commonwealth and its Political sub-Divisions (HB 1871, SB710) extends OSHA protections to public employees.
Many chemicals contained in most commonly used cleaners can cause or exacerbate asthma and other health problems for the janitorial workers using the cleaning products and people who use the facilities being cleaned. The Safer Cleaning Products Act (HB2246) requires schools, day care centers, public buildings, and common areas of public housing use only cleaning products that are included on the “Safer Cleaning Products” list established every two years by the Department of Public Health (DPH).
PROTECTING AMERICA’S WORKERS ACT HR2067
Significant progress has been made on protecting the health and safety of American workers since the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration almost four decades ago. Nearly 400,000 workers’ lives have been saved as a result. Yet, too many workers are still dying, getting injured or become ill by working in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. The Protecting America’s Workers Act (HR2067) will provide additional tools to ensure that OSHA can fulfill its duty enforce safe and healthy workplaces for all American workers. The bill expands OSHA coverage to include public employees, strengthens penalties, improves whistleblower protections and allows workers and their families to hold dangerous employers accountable.
THE PROTECTING WORKERS ON THE JOB PLATFORM
Developed by the Protecting Workers Alliance, an organization founded by the National COSH Network and the American Public Health Association and released in January, 2009, the Protecting Workers On the Job Platform highlights key federal priorities needed to stem occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities. In February, 2010, the Protecting Workers Alliance released more detailed platform XYZ detailing its federal priorities.