Working Families Join Safety and Health Advocates to Urge Lawmakers To Stop Delaying Protections Needed To Save Workers’ Lives

Group participated in Senate HELP Committee Hearing 

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–April 20, 2012 – Safety and health advocates, victims of work-related injuries and sickness, and family members of workers killed on the job gathered yesterday on Capitol Hill to call for action on much-needed standards to protect workers and stronger enforcement for job safety. Their participation was part of a Senate HELP Committee Hearing on workplace safety called, “Time Takes Its Toll:  Delays in OSHA Standard Setting and Its Impact on Worker Safety.”  The first panel detailed findings of a GAO report on delays in the OSHA standard setting process. The second panel featured testimony from Tom Ward, a worker with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers Local 1 from Warren, Michigan whose father died from silicosis, and from several job safety and regulatory policy experts. 

“Working men and women don’t have to die from exposure to silica. There are simple and cost-effective solutions to prevent exposure to silica dust on the job,” said Ward. “Without a stronger standard in place including dust control provisions, however, there is nothing to compel employers to provide these simple and relatively inexpensive tools. We must act together now so our children and grandchildren are not victims.” 

Judy Rychcik, a nurse who suffered a career-ending injury from a violent patient, called for OSHA to approve a rule that would require employers to identify recognized workplace safety hazards. She said, “OSHA has been working on this rule for years, but it’s being delayed along with other potentially life-saving rules. There is no reason that a person should go to work and not come home whole.” 

Tammy Meiser, founder of United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities and whose brother died from an aluminum dust explosion, said, “My husband and I have run two small businesses. We understand the cost of doing business and the responsibility that comes with it to keep employees safe. Regulations serve a purpose in a civilized society. There’s no price tag that can be put on seeing your husband walk your daughter down her wedding aisle, or seeing your son graduate from college, or holding a grandchild. Workplace safety regulations and even-handed enforcement help level the playing field for employers who do the right thing versus those who take the low road.”