OSHA is being prevented from fulfilling its mission.
In 1970, Congress passed the Occupational Safety & Health Act (the Act), which created the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Among other things, the Act requires every employer to provide a safe workplace. To help employers reach this goal, OSHA promulgated hundreds of rules in the decade after it was created. OSHA’s rulemaking process has, however, slowed to a trickle since then.
While the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health recently identified over 600 toxic chemicals to which workers are exposed, in the last 16 years OSHA has added only two toxic chemicals to its list of regulated chemicals. This is because Congress, Presidents and the courts have hamstrung OSHA. For example, in March 2001 the Bush Administration and a Republican Congress effectively abolished OSHA’s ergonomics rule, a rule the agency had worked on for many years.
These delays and inactions have caused more than 100,000 avoidable workplace injuries and illnesses.
These delays and inactions have caused more than 100,000 avoidable workplace injuries and illnesses. Workers are being injured and killed by known hazardous circumstances and OSHA can’t act.
Congress and the President need to break this logjam – we need to free OSHA to do its job of safeguarding workers.
Senator Tom Harkin and I met in D.C. to discuss the legal rights of injured workers.
On April 17, my colleagues from WILG (Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group) and I gathered in Washington D.C. to lobby Congressional representatives on behalf of injured workers. We discussed several bills that will affect the interests of workers in Iowa and across the United States.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Chuck Grassley, Congressman Bruce Braley and Congressman Dave Loebsack in their offices where we discussed the following bills:
- The MSP and Workers’ Compensation Settlement Agreement Act of 2012
- The Akaka Amendment to S. 1789, The Post Service Reform Bill (an amendment to strip from S. 1789 those provisions that deform the Federal Employee Compensation Act).
As I explained at these meetings, the MSP and Worker’s Compensation Settlement Act of 2012 is necessary for three reasons:(1) to bring some reasonable and understandable system to CMS’ current uncertain and regulation-less system of establishing Medicare Set-aside Plans for workers’ compensation settlements; (2) to allow for an appeal of CMS’s MSA determination; and (3) to bring some reasonable time limits to CMS’ process of setting the MSA required for workers’ compensation settlements.
The Akaka Amendment to strip the FECA deform provisions out of S.1789 is necessary because the FECA deform provisions wrongfully reduces monetary benefits and treats the injured worker like a fraud (mandating period independent medical examinations, vocational rehabilitation and field nurses to hound the injured worker).
Workers’ compensation reform is a constant threat to the rights of workers across the country. It is important that all of us who participate in the work’ comp’ system do our part to protect and preserve these legal rights.