SENATE APPROVES BILL TO PROTECT STATE AND LOCAL PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

By Bob Katzen

Senate 36-0, approved and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker a bill that provides all state and municipal workers with the same protections provided to private workers under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

Supporters said that in the Bay State in 2017 at least six municipal workers died from workplace injuries and noted that an average of 28 municipal workers per week suffer injuries serious enough to be out of work for five days or more. They argued this protection would cover some 450,000 state and local public workers who perform jobs that are sometimes just as dangerous as private sector ones.

“Worker safety must be a top priority,” said Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Fall River), the bill’s sponsor. “Providing safe and healthy work conditions for all of Massachusetts workers, across all sectors, should be the least we do. Extending these protections to public employees helps them return home to their families, and we must make sure they continue to do so.”

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