Safe workplaces are vital to the well-being of our workers and the strength of our economy. For that reason, Republicans have long supported and promoted policies to improve safety on the job by preventing workplace injuries and illnesses. Under Republican leadership, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) took important steps to enhance traditional enforcement with cooperative partnerships focused on preventing workplace dangers rather than simply responding after a worker has been harmed. Public policy must ensure OSHA enforcement efforts are fair and accessible for small business owners who make good faith efforts to follow all health and safety laws.
A key focus of the committee’s workplace safety efforts is mine safety. The April 2010 West Virginia coal mining tragedy was a painful reminder of the dangers inherent in underground coal mining. In recent years, Congress has taken important, bipartisan steps to help mitigate the dangers facing coal mine workers. In 2006, after an unprecedented investigation into the state of U.S. mine health and safety laws, Congress modernized the laws governing coal mining for the first time in a generation. Those efforts included implementing better communications technology and enhanced safety practices inside the nation’s mines.
The events of 2010 amplify the need for additional congressional oversight to ensure federal mine safety laws are being obeyed by mine operators and enforced by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Republicans will continue to make workplace safety a policy priority through enforcement of existing laws and commonsense reforms to enhance the safety and well-being of America’s workers.
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