Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has issued the following statement in support of the Protecting America’s Workers Act:

“It has been 40 years since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed, but every day 14 workers are killed on the job. Tens of thousands more die from work-related disease every year, and 4.6 million are seriously injured.

“Drastic changes are clearly needed to enable American workers, businesses and government to address the needs and challenges of the 21st century workplace. Fines and penalties are simply too low, whistleblowers are not adequately protected and almost nine million public employees still lack the right to a safe workplace.

“The Protecting America’s Workers Act seeks to address all of these problems, and I strongly urge its swift passage.

“PAWA would strengthen the OSH Act by increasing protections for whistleblowers, providing additional rights to accident victims and their families, improving Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforcement, and increasing the monetary and criminal penalties for violations of the law. It would also extend OSHA coverage to all public employees in America.

“Our nation’s workers deserve laws that will keep them from harm. Businesses that play by the rules deserve laws that will level the playing field. PAWA would help make that a reality. Congress should pass it without delay.”