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What Responsible Safety Enforcement Looks Like

Providing every American worker strong health and safety protections is a priority that stretches across party lines. That is why the House Education and the Workforce Committee has raised concerns with a number of actions taken by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, such as:

While concerns persist, it’s important to recognize positive steps underway to improve worker health and safety, including one initiated earlier this week. On Tuesday, the Department of Labor announced a new working group to prevent fatalities in the telecommunications industry. It’s about time.

In a letter sent to OSHA more than three years ago, the committee explained that current policies provide “standards for hoisting workers while the towers are under construction, but does not address the hoisting of workers during maintenance or modification of the towers.” To fix this problem, the committee urged OSHA to “review current policies and determine a uniform standard that ensures worker safety at every phase.”

It is encouraging the department is answering the committee’s call and in a way that welcomes the views and expertise of leaders in the industry. This is what responsible safety enforcement looks like: Identify a gap in safety and work with employers and other key stakeholders to develop a responsible solution.

As Secretary Perez noted earlier this week, “It's a perfect example of federal agencies and industry breaking down barriers and identifying common goals to save workers' lives." Let’s hope it’s not the last.

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