Andrews Tries Again to Expand OSH Act to State, County, City Workers

U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, a New Jersey Democrat who chairs the House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee, is trying again to pass a bill that would widen the OSH Act's protections to state, county, and municipal employees. Andrews filed HR 1517, the Fairness for State and Local Workers Act, on March 14 with co-sponsors Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. and the House Education and Labor Committee's chairman; Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif; Rep. Timothy Bishop, D-N.Y.; Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J.; Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill.; Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H.; and Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla. and chair of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials. Her panel held a hearing last Friday on human factors in rail accidents and has a hearing scheduled for April 19 on international high-speed rail systems.

Andrews said although states may provide coverage under a federally approved program with matching funds, 26 states have chosen not to participate. "For far too long, thousands of state, county, and city workers have not been covered by the workplace health and safety standards that protect private-sector employees," he said. "That is why today, I am proud to introduce the Fairness for State and Local Workers Act, which will fix this problem by expanding worker health and safety protections to the public sector workers. This plan simply requires all workplaces abide by the same safety and health standards and provides public employees the protections everyone deserves."

He filed the same bill, designated HR 5320, in the 109th Congress when Republicans held the majority. That bill died in committee.

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