Support of An Act Relative to Workplace Safety and Disclosure of OSHA Violations!

June 17, 2021
MassCOSH has been working to pass legislation that requires that companies seeking State contracts or trenching permits disclose their OSHA violations. H1966 / S1190 - An Act relative to workplace safety and disclosure of violations (Rep. DuBois / Sen. Feeney) is being heard at the Labor and Workforce Development Committee’s hearing Tuesday, June 22. The bill was inspired by a City of Boston Ordinance put in place after two men died when they drowned in a trench working for Atlantic Drain (whose owner was convicted of manslaughter due to his negligence). MassCOSH was again reminded of its importance after the Atlantic Coast Utilities tragedy earlier this year when two men were killed after they were hit by a construction vehicle and knocked into a hole in the street.
Atlantic Coast Utilities had multiple OSHA violations that they failed to disclose. Based on that incident, MassCOSH plans to ask that the bill is passed, but also for an amendment that debars any company that fails to disclose their violations or lies on their documents for at least one year. You can call/tweet at legislators in the Labor and Workforce Development Committee here and ask them to report this bill favorably. To watch a live stream of the hearing click here.
And a few updates:
As you can read in the article, Demanding an End to Wage Theft, MassCOSH is dedicating itself to raising awareness of wage theft in Massachusetts and to passing An Act to Prevent Wage Theft, Promote Employer Accountability, and Enhance Public Enforcement (H1959/S1179). But that is not the only policy objective we are seeking to push workers’ rights forward.
On May 11, Immigrant Worker Center Director Milagros Barreto testified at a Labor and Workforce Development Committee hearing to demand passage of An Act Protecting Injured Workers (S1068/H1670). The bill intends to protect workers from employer retaliation when workers report a workplace injury, seek medical care after being hurt on the job, or when filing a workers’ compensation claim. Barreto spoke of the many times workers have approached MassCOSH stating they have been exploited during the pandemic to the point of injury. The workers report that due to a shortage of workers to fill positions, they have been made to work in dangerous conditions or long hours and have been punished when seeking their right to medical care after being hurt. MassCOSH is working with the chair of the Labor and Workforce Development Committee to ensure the bill has clear language regarding accessibility to workers who speak languages other than English so they can best be protected when the bill passes.