Florida urged to upgrade public worker protections (3/30)
During its investigation of the explosion and fire that took the lives of two municipal workers and seriously injured a third at the Bethune Point wastewater treatment facility in Daytona Beach, Florida, on January 11, 2006, the CSB determined that public workers in that state are not protected by federal OSHA worker safety regulations or their state equivalent. In its final report on the accident, the CSB recommended that the Florida legislature and governor adopt OSHA coverage or the equivalent safety and health protections for public employees, who often perform the same work as their counterparts in the private sector and who are covered by OSHA regulations.
Following the CSB's recommendation, a Florida Public Task Force on Workplace Safety was appointed to examine the issue and determine whether the state should adopt such worker protections. In its final report the majority of the task force concurred with the CSB and affirmed that the state should require public employers and employees in Florida to comply with OSHA standards within three years.
CSB Chairman John Bresland said, “The CSB believes that all workers should be provided proper workplace protections. Extending OSHA coverage to public employees will protect the well-being of an invaluable sector of Florida's workforce.”
Currently, bills have been introduced in the Florida House of Representatives (HB 1029), and in the Florida Senate, (S1878).