Public interest groups have scheduled a town hall meeting to discuss legislation designed to protect miners and other workers from injury and disease. It is scheduled for next Tuesday, July 27, 2010, at Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, 4444 Arlington Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. A flyer is available here. Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, is scheduled to speak. The purpose of the town hall meeting is to build support for H.R. 5663, the Robert C. Byrd Miner Safety and Health Act. This legislation would expand and improve workplace safety laws by strengthening both the Mine Safety and Health Act (MSHA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). We posted a previous notice about this bill here.

The legislation, introduced by Chairman George Miller (D-CA), would increase penalties for those who break the law; toughen enforcement against employers who commit serious violations; protect workers who blow the whistle on unsafe conditions in the workplace; require employers to fix serious actions, even if they are challenging OSHA citations; and enhance the public’s right to know about safety violations.

Across this country, an average of 14 workers dies every day and nearly 12,670 are injured or sickened. Yet, our opponents think it is not necessary to improve the 40 year old OSHAct. Clearly recent tragedies at the Massey Upper Big Branch mine, the Tesoro Refinery, and BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig underscore the need to strengthen the nation’s job safety laws now. Congress needs to move immediately to pass this legislation to prevent more unnecessary deaths, injuries, and diseases.

Sponsors for the town hall include National Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, the Northern Virginia Labor Federation, the Metropolitan Washington Council and the Virginia AFL-CIO.