WEC joins NCOSH & other advocates call for action in local communities and workplaces
The New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) is advocating for worker safety, and has joined a nationwide campaign to advance an action agenda for workplace safety.
“Protecting Workers’ Lives and Limbs,” compiled by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, has been endorsed by 92 groups across the country, including WEC.
The comprehensive platform for strong worker safety protections can save workers’ lives and reduce costs to employers in New Jersey.
Recent Congressional actions have put workers at risk by taking steps to eliminate sanctions against federal contractors who violate safety laws, and reversing longstanding recordkeeping rules.
Cecelia Leto, WEC Project Director states, “As a safety specialist, I hear horrific worker testimonials of injuries, illnesses, and even deaths on the job. Workers, trying to earn a living for themselves and their families, can be just one injury away from falling into financial hardship or poverty. We need stronger, not weaker, Federal and State workplace protections.”
The 92 organizations, including seven from New Jersey, endorsing “Protecting Workers’ Lives and Limbs” represent workers, unions, environmentalists and civic groups. Key elements of the platform include: ensuring health and safety protections for all workers; reducing and working to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals; ensuring injured workers access to quality medical care; accurate counting of all occupational injuries and illnesses; and adopting measures to adapt to –and reduce – climate change.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,
36 workers died on the job in New Jersey in 2015.
Nationwide, the death toll from preventable workplace trauma is more than 4,500 workers every year, and an estimated 95,000 U.S. workers die from long-term occupational illnesses. Millions more are injured after exposure to preventable safety hazards. The cost to U.S. employers for workers’ compensation alone was $91.8 billion in 2014, representing a fraction of the total cost of workplace deaths injuries and illnesses.
In addition to meeting with members of Congress, health and safety activists plan to push for better safety practices in U.S. workplaces and enhanced protections in state and municipal law.
“Strong state policies will be fundamental in the coming years, but we absolutely reject the regulatory rollbacks and will fight like hell to save our safeguards on a national level. The President’s proposed budget would be a total disaster for worker safety and health, and we believe the alternative vision supported by NCOSH & more than 90 organizations around the nation would be far better for everyone,” said Dan Fatton, executive director of WEC.
WEC and New Labor, an immigrant worker organization will be sponsoring a Rally and March on Sunday, April 23, at 1pm, in New Brunswick, NJ. The event provides a time to remember those who died on the job or suffered workplace injuries, while raising awareness to prevent future illnesses, injuries and deaths. Join us to save our safeguards and resist the regulatory rollback. SOS!