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Protecting America's Workers Act (HR 2067)

The Protecting America's Workers Act (HR 2067) was introduced by Rep. Lynn Woolsey and 15 co-sponsors (see the full list at the bottom of this page.) The bill's main provisions include:

  • Expanding OSHA coverage to state, county, municipal, and federal employees who are not currently covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).
  • Raising penalties for those who kill or endanger workers: Penalties in the current law are so weak that they do not provide a disincentive for employers to break the law.  The bill updates OSHA civil penalties which been unchanged since 1990, and strengthens criminal penalties to make felony charges available in situations where an employer's willful violation of the OSH Act results in a worker's death or serious injury.
  • Expanding coverage for millions of other employees who work for airlines and railroads, as well as Department of Energy contractors, who are inadequately covered by other laws because their health and safety coverage is left to other government agencies that do not treat worker safety as a priority. 
  • Providing improved protection for whistleblowers: The current law provides insufficient protections for employees who make complaints about job safety hazards. This bill gives employees the right to refuse hazardous work that may kill or seriously injure them. It also modernizes outdated whistleblower provisions by incorporating successful administrative procedures adopted in other laws, such as the Surface Transportation Act.
  • Improving the rights of workers and families: The bill requires OSHA to investigate all cases of death as well as serious incidents involving injuries. It gives victims and their families the right to meet with DOL investigators, and gives workers and their representatives greater rights in the enforcement system.
  • Prohibits employers from discouraging reporting by requiring that regulations on injury and illness recordkeeping include a prohibition on employer policies or practices that discourage the reporting of work-related injuries or illnesses by an employee.
  • Clarifies that the time spent by a worker accompanying an inspector is considered "time worked," which must be compensated.
  • Requires employers to abate violations for serious hazards during the time employer contests to a citation are being reviewed and resolved.
  • Increases civil penalties for violations to account for inflation and sets a mandatory minimum penalty for violations involving fatalities for small employers that is lower than the mandatory minimum for larger employers.
  • Co-Sponsors The current co-sponsors of the bill include: Rep. Lynn Woolsey [D, CA-6] Rep. Neil Abercrombie [D, HI-1] Rep. Shelley Berkley [D, NV-1] Rep. Robert Brady [D, PA-1] Rep. Steve Cohen [D, TN-9] Rep. Phil Hare [D, IL-17] Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D, NY-22] Rep. Mazie Hirono [D, HI-2] Rep. Rush Holt [D, NJ-12] Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D, NY-14] Rep. James McGovern [D, MA-3] Rep. George Miller [D, CA-7] Rep. Donald Payne [D, NJ-10] Rep. Steven Rothman [D, NJ-9] Rep. Janice Schakowsky [D, IL-9] Rep. Carol Shea-Porter [D, NH-1] Rep. John Yarmuth [D, KY-3]