MassCOSH, Nationwide COSH, 100+ Employee Teams Launch 2021 “Agenda for Employee Security and Well being”

MassCOSH, National COSH, 100+ Worker Groups Release 2021 ?? Agenda for occupational health and safety ??

  • 02/04/21

Boston, MA ( – Nearly a year after a deadly pandemic, too many workers in Massachusetts are sick, dying, and broke. Across the country, including here in Massachusetts, there have been multiple COVID-19 outbreaks among retail, food processing, childcare and nursing home workers, and many others. The US Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), however, has been lacking in action. No new workplace rules, insufficient inspections and often minimal fines for employers who have not been able to fully protect workers. Today, MassCOSH is proud to work with workers, trade unions and health and safety organizations in jointly publishing a national health and safety agenda. The Biden-Harris administration has taken positive first steps, but more needs to be done. The National Agenda, endorsed by 100 groups of workers and based on real world experience, offers ideas, tools and resources for a bold plan to empower workers and make our jobs safer. This agenda is intended to help a newly empowered OSHA succeed and protect us all.

So far, the response from employers and our government to the pandemic has been a catastrophic failure. The research is clear: workplaces remain important places where the virus can spread rapidly, underscoring that workplace health and safety is public health and safety. The conditions these workers find themselves in are not inevitable. They are the result of outrageous actions by unaccountable employers and a health and safety infrastructure that has been empty for decades.

COVID-19 has affected thousands of workers and their families here in Massachusetts. In September, MassCOSH and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO released Dying for Work: Documentation of the Pandemic’s Fatal Toll Against Workers in Massachusetts, which lists at least 59 workers known to have died of COVID-19 after it may have been exposed at work. The report acknowledges that this is probably just the tip of the iceberg and that the state has not collected data on the cast of COVID-19 cases despite a law passed in June requiring information collection and disclosure. However, we do know that ~ 128,000 working-age residents in Massachusetts (20-69) tested positive for COVID-19 from March 10 through September 30 and 1,493 died. While it is difficult to confirm how many workers were exposed in the workplace, the fact that more than 5,700 reports were submitted to workers’ compensation insurers for workplace exposure during the same period gives an indication of the widespread and deadly effects of COVID- 19th

Recent data do little to ensure workers keep their jobs safe. In addition to thousands of COVID-19 complaints filed directly with local health authorities by January 12, the Massachusetts Department of Labor (DLS) has opened 1,422 cases investigating violations of the state’s COVID-19 occupational health and safety regulations . More than 40% of these complaints came from retail and hospitality. We also know that the state’s Contact Tracing Collaborative and several local health authorities have asked DLS to examine 74 workplace clusters reported since July 12. Additionally, recently released health data, while not comprehensive, suggests that nearly 700 active clusters are linked to workplaces as of Jan. 28.

The National Agenda for Workers Safety and Health has eight objectives:
1. Strengthen and enforce our security laws and regulations
2. Don’t let employers silence you: workers must be protected from retaliation by strong protections
3. Listen to the workers – we need a seat at the table
4. Secure Jobs for All: Justice and Inclusion
5. Ensure fair and equitable compensation for workers, not special offers for companies
6. Create worker-centered logs to track, prevent and protect against COVID-19
7. Confront the effects of climate change on the workplace
8. Prevent chemical disasters and harmful exposures

In Massachusetts, MassCOSH is also seeking government reforms that will better protect workers from COVID-19 and its effects. These include stricter COVID-19 regulations for the workplace, more funding for DLS to enforce workplace safety, and faster access to the vaccine for more frontline workers, e.g. B. Teacher. MassCOSH will also work with the MA AFL-CIO and Representative Ken Gordon to pass a “presumption of occupation” law that will ensure that any worker who becomes infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic is likely due to workplace exposure has fallen ill and can receive the employee compensation they deserve.

MassCOSH will continue to advocate policies that end the injustices of workers they faced in the workplace prior to the pandemic, including ending the ubiquitous practice of wage theft, which cheats workers out of hard-earned wages, hurts honest businesses and that Commonwealth’s required revenue will be deprived. MassCOSH will also work to pass laws that ensure responsible government contracts, exclude companies with poor OSHA safety records from receiving tax-funded construction contracts, and protect workers making worker compensation claims from employer retaliation.


Be the first to add a comment!

You need to login or register to read and comment!

login for members

Don’t have an account yet? click Here to register.

Comments are closed.