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House Strengthens Occupational Health and Safety Standards

BOSTON, OCT. 30 - Representative Bill Driscoll, Jr. joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House to pass legislation requiring public employers to provide the same standard of protections to their employees as required by the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA). The bill also expands the Massachusetts OSHA hazard advisory board.

“This legislation will extend important protections for public employees and help to establish best practices when it comes to workplace safety,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “I thank Chairman Brodeur and Chairman O’Day, and look forward to seeing the positive impact of this legislation.”

“This legislation extends the workplace safety protections that many of us take for granted to thousands of employees across the commonwealth,” said Representative Paul Brodeur, House Chairman of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “Through a collaborative process we found common ground among all sides and produced a bill to make a safer Massachusetts.”

“I’m heartened by the opportunity to finally put the finishing touches on protections from unsafe working conditions for workers in the Commonwealth,” said Representative James O’Day, House sponsor. “It’s time we put an end to preventable injuries and fatalities on the job. On behalf of so many public sector workers in the Commonwealth whose lives are protected by this bill, I’m grateful to Speaker DeLeo for his leadership in getting this across the finish line.”

Representative Driscoll stated his belief that the legislation would help to safeguard against avoidable work-related injuries in Massachusetts. “Nobody should underestimate the importance of sound health and safety precautions in the workplace, and this act adds another welcome layer of protection for public employees here in the Commonwealth,” he said.

This legislation would go into effective October 2018 and would extend protections to more than 400,000 workers in the Commonwealth.

Earlier this year Massachusetts enacted legislation that established essential protections in the workplace for pregnant employees. The bill guaranteed reasonable accommodations and prohibited discrimination against pregnant workers.

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