State officials hope to have the results of a feasibility study by Indiana University in Pennsylvania by fall that could help expand safety and health law standards to the work at the workplaces of thousands of public sector workers throughout Pennsylvania.
The findings could lead to an extension of the standards that have covered private sector workers in the Commonwealth for the past 50 years.
“This feasibility study will give us a roadmap to make these workplace protections universal for all workers in Pennsylvania,” said Secretary of Labor and Industry Jennifer Berrier.
The study to be conducted by Dr. Luz Marin, Professor of Safety Sciences at IUP, would analyze the potential costs and benefits of extending OSHA standards.
“IUP is very proud of its Department of Security Sciences and its reputation for excellence,” IUP President Dr. Michael A. Driscoll said in a statement released by the State Department. labor and industry. “IUP’s Department of Safety Science faculty have provided nearly 40 years of support to Pennsylvania businesses, helping prevent thousands of workplace injuries and saving businesses millions of dollars in direct costs. and indirect.
October 21 will mark one year since Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order and called for legislative action “to create safer workplaces, promote higher wages and guarantee paid vacations for workers.” In that same executive order, Wolf directed Commonwealth agencies to take action to advance worker protections in Pennsylvania.
The governor said these were “necessary changes (to) help workers and transform the nature of work in Pennsylvania.”
In a presentation Monday at the Capital Media Center in Harrisburg, IDD officials joined labor leaders in advocating for legislation that could help implement what Wolf is seeking.
The university said Dr. Marin Ramirez attended with Dr. Steve Hovan, acting dean of the Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
“We look forward to our Safety Science faculty working with the Department of Labor and Industry on this new initiative and sharing our expertise and commitment to workplace safety across the Commonwealth,” Driscoll said. .
State Senator Christine M. Tartaglione, D-Philadelphia, was quoted by DLI as saying she hopes the study will be the first step on the long road to getting her 310 bill passed in the Senate.
SB 310 is described as “an Act providing occupational health and safety standards for public employees and the powers and duties of the Secretary of Labor and Industry; the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Board of Pennsylvania; schedule workplace inspections; and impose penalties.
She has 14 Democratic co-sponsors, including Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa Jr. of Pittsburgh and Sen. James Brewster of McKeesport; and a Republican, Senator Camera Bartolotta of Monongahela.
Another Democratic co-sponsor, John Blake of the Scranton-Wilkes Barre area, resigned two days after the bill was referred to the Senate Labor and Industry Committee to become chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Lackawanna County.
A companion bill, House Bill 1976, was introduced by state Rep. Patrick J. Harkins, D-Erie, with 27 co-sponsors. It was referred to the House Labor and Industry Committee on October 18, 2021, three days before Wolf issued his executive order.
Neither bill has seen action since being referred to the respective committees.
Harkins and Tartaglione were touted at Monday’s Harrisburg briefing by AFL-CIO chairman Richard Bloomingdale.