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Will Proposed Legislation Make Workplaces Safer?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Several laws and regulations are in place in order to keep workers’ safe while on the job and to promote the health and well-being of Americans. For instance, workers’ compensation laws exist in order to protect injured employees from the financial setbacks that can occur when they are unable to work due to an on-the-job injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its myriad regulations exist for the sole purpose of keeping our nation’s workplaces safe and free from danger.

As circumstances change and new information comes to light, lawmakers often introduce new legislation designed to further improve the safety of various workplaces or enhance the health of Americans. Two pieces of legislation introduced last month – the Healthy Families Act and the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2013 – seek to do just that.

In the Healthy Families Act, two lawmakers propose legislation that would set a national minimum sick-day standard. Senator Tom Harkin and Rep. Rosa DeLauro re-introduced the Healthy Families Act last month, which proposes to allow employees to earn up to 7 days or 56 hours per year to take care of their own health or the health of a family member. Under the proposed legislation, employees would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.

Businesses that already give their employees paid sick time would be able to keep their existing policies, provided that they meet the guidelines of the proposed legislation, and employers would be permitted to request documentation for sick leaves of more than three consecutive days.

According to MSNBC, legislation similar to the Healthy Families Act has been introduced several times, but has never advanced in Congress despite research that suggests that both parties support paid sick day requirements.

Another piece of proposed legislation designed to improve workplace safety is the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2013, which was named for the West Virginia senator and mine safety advocate who died in 2010. The bill was introduced by Rep. Nick J. Rahall from West Virginia and Rep. George Miller from California, and seeks to protect coal miners’ health and safety by increasing civil penalties for violations, enhancing whistleblower protections, creating an independent panel to investigate mine accidents with three or more deaths, and allowing the Mine Safety and Health Administration to shut down a mine more easily.

The Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Ankin Law Office, LLC are committed to promoting workplace safety and protecting the rights of injured workers. We help clients obtain maximum recovery through workers’ compensation benefits and any applicable third-party causes of action. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago workplace accident attorneys.

Categories: Personal Injury