An Act Relative to Workplace Safety

S1071/H1614: An Act Relative to Workplace Safety
Lead Sponsors: Senator Paul Feeney and Representative Michelle DuBois

If enacted, this bill would protect Massachusetts taxpayers, law-abiding businesses, and workers who are employed by contractors that do business with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and/or are involved in excavation work. In October 2016, two workers tragically lost their lives in Boston’s South End in an unsafe trench. If these workers were provided with the proper equipment, a trench box, as required by law, they would be alive today. Subsequent investigation revealed that their employer had multiple outstanding safety violations for failing to protect worker safety. The safety violations, in this case, were so egregious that the owner of this company has been charged with manslaughter, but while punishment post-facto may bring justice, it will not save lives. This legislation will require companies seeking to do business with the Commonwealth or seeking a trenching permit to report their record of safety violations. The Commonwealth will be able to avoid contracting with companies with a poor record of safety, thereby preventing future injuries and deaths. Responsible contracting laws are good for employers, workers, and Massachusetts taxpayers.

An Act Relative to Workplace Safety has been proposed by the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health (MassCOSH) in partnership with the Foundation for Fair Contracting, Community Labor United and legal advocate, with the support of the National Employment Law Project.