A new bill, H.R. 2067, was recently introduced into the House which will amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This bill authorizes the Secretary of Labor to prevent employee exposure to imminent dangers, to increase whistleblower protections, to increase penalties for certain violators and for other purposes. Go to this link: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h2067/show to read the full bill text.
Changes in OSHA law are way over due. The current OSHA law is outdated and does not provide safeguards to adequately protect workers or the public’s health and safety, especially with the development of new dangerous technologies in biotechnology and nanotechnology.
This new bill, if passed, unfortunately, will not fix OSHA’s overall problems. Serious issues regarding worker’s rights to safety forums and to exposure records for their health care will remain serious deficiencies.
Nevertheless, this new bill should provide OSHA with extra strongholds that could possibly make OSHA more effective. For example, the addition of whistleblower protections, if effective, will go a long way in protecting public health and safety.
“Will Bill H.R. 2067 pass?” is the big question. With industry’s lobbyists buzzing around DC, busy placing roadblocks to any worker’s rights, it may be squashed in no time.