PSBA raises concerns with expansion of workplace mandates.
This week PSBA told the House Labor and Industry Committee that the provisions under House Bill 1082 (Rep. Harkins, D-Erie) regarding workplace safety would add a layer of unnecessary and expensive mandates for school districts.
During a public hearing to discuss the bill, PSBA Senior Director of Legal Services Stuart Knade questioned the need for the proposal, which would extend the provisions of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) now geared to private sector and federal employees, to Pennsylvania public employees. He told the committee that Pennsylvania already has numerous workplace safety laws and regulations in place, as well as requirements attached to state workers compensation laws and regulations.
“So far as PSBA is aware, the need for this kind of legislation has not been sufficiently demonstrated by data showing that a genuine workplace safety or health problem exists in the public sector, or that the track record of workplace health and safety in the public sector is any worse than what exists for comparable private sector activities covered by the federal OSHA. There will be a significant cost for implementing this sea change in public sector administration, not only for local public sector employers, but also for the Commonwealth as it assembles a new and expensive bureaucracy and regulatory regime. The significant cost to the Commonwealth and political subdivisions of implementing what House Bill 1082 proposes will not likely be limited to the short term, and should be carefully calculated over the next several decades. That cost does not appear to be justified at this time,” Knade said.