Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf recently announced that the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) and the Office of Administration have partnered with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) to study the feasibility of extending the protections of Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) standards to the workplaces of thousands of public-sector workers throughout Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania’s state- and local-government employees provide critical services to every community in the commonwealth – and perform some of the most dangerous jobs – but are not protected with the same safety standards that apply to private-sector workplaces,” Governor Wolf said. “Police officers, firefighters, teachers, maintenance workers, wastewater treatment plant operators, corrections officers, healthcare professionals, child welfare caseworkers and office workers of every kind deserve the same level of protections afforded to their private-sector peers.”
The governor is also calling on the Legislature to support S.B. 310, sponsored by Sen. Tina Tartaglione, and H.B. 1976, sponsored by Rep. Pat Harkins, to make the OSHA safety rules applicable for all public-sector employees, aligning them with private and federal facility standards.
Governor Wolf signed an executive order in October that directed commonwealth agencies to take actions that advance worker protections in Pennsylvania – including studying the possibility of extending OSHA standards to Commonwealth workplaces. The study will also analyze the potential costs and benefits of extending OSHA standards to all public-sector workplaces in Pennsylvania.
“The safeguards of OSHA standards have protected private-sector workers in Pennsylvania for 50 years. This feasibility study will give us a roadmap to making these workplace protections universal to all Pennsylvania workers,” L&I Secretary Jennifer Berrier said.
“IUP is very proud of its Department of Safety Sciences and its reputation for excellence,” IUP President Dr. Michael Driscoll said. “Faculty in the Safety Sciences Department at IUP have provided nearly 40 years of support to Pennsylvania businesses, helping to prevent thousands of workplace injuries and saving businesses millions of dollars in direct and indirect costs. We look forward to our Safety Sciences faculty working with the Department of Labor & Industry on this new initiative and sharing our expertise and commitment to workplace safety throughout the commonwealth.”
The feasibility study is set to be completed in the fall of 2022.
Source: PA Governor’s Office