WASHINGTON, D.C.—Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) has joined 16 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives in legislation that would bring back the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require that employers keep workplace injury records. Action last month by President Trump overturned existing recordkeeping rules. The bill that Sablan is supporting also allows OSHA to cite employers in cases where the violation of the recordkeeping requirements continues for more than six months.
“With the recent spate of serious workplace injuries in the Marianas and resistance to OSHA workplace inspections by certain employers,” Sablan said, “now is not the time to be making easier to hide information about who is getting hurt and how.
“We all have an interest in job safety, whether we are working in situations where injury is more likely or whether we want to maintain the reputation of the Marianas as a place where worker safety is considered important.”
Sablan is ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Accurate records are essential to identify workplace hazards that cause serious injuries. Without reporting, injuries and illnesses are masked from workers and from OSHA, and corrective actions needed to save life will not be taken.
“It was reports of a pattern of injuries by the Commonwealth Health Center late last year that caused OSHA to take a hard look at the Best Sunshine construction site,” Sablan said. “If there had been better reporting earlier on, maybe a life could have been saved or serious injuries avoided.”
The bill introduced on Monday is called the Accurate Workplace Injury & Illness Records Restoration Act. Primary author Mark Takano (D-California) said the bill “reflects our responsibility to protect workers from preventable workplace accidents instead of protecting corporations from the consequences of repeated safety violations.”
Other members joining Takano to introduce the legislation were Reps. Joe Courtney (Connecticut), Bobby Scott (Virginia), Jared Polis (Colorado), Darren Soto (Florida), Frederica Wilson (Florida), Donald Norcross (New Jersey), Suzanne Bonamici (Oregon), Mark DeSaulnier (California), Carol Shea Porter (New Hampshire), Gene Green (Texas), Pete Visclosky (Indiana), and Adriano Espaillat (New York).
In the Senate, seven members have sponsored a companion bill: Ranking member Patty Murray (Washington), Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Margaret Hassan (New Hampshire), and Al Franken (Minnesota). (PR)