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S. 665 (113th): Protecting America’s Workers Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

3/22/2013--Introduced. Protecting America's Workers Act - Amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) to expand its coverage to federal, state, and local government employees.

Authorizes the Secretary of Labor, under specified conditions, to cede OSHA jurisdiction to another federal agency with respect to certain occupational standards or regulations for such agency's employees. Declares OSHA inapplicable to working conditions covered by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.

Increases protections for whistle blowers under OSHA.

Prescribes requirements relating to: (1) a employer's duty to furnish a place of employment free from recognized hazards causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to any individual (not just an employer's employee) performing work there; (2) the posting of employee rights; (3) employer reporting of employee work-related deaths or hospitalizations; (4) a prohibition against employers adopting or implementing policies or practices that discourage or discriminate against employee reporting of work-related injuries or illnesses; (5) a prohibition against the loss of wages or employee benefits due to an employee participating in a workplace inspection; (6) investigations of incidents resulting in death or the hospitalization of two or more employees which occur in a place of employment; and (7) a prohibition against the issuing, modifying, or settling of unclassified citations for occupational health and safety standard violations.

Directs the Secretary to revise federal regulations concerning the recording and reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses occurring on a worksite to require site-controlling employers to keep a site log for recordable injuries and illnesses of all employees, including employees of the site-controlling employer or others (including independent contractors) performing work there. Defines "site-controlling employer" as one with primary control over a worksite at which employees of more than one employer work.

Continues requirements relating to: (1) the rights of an employee (including a former employee or family member in lieu of an employee) who has sustained a work-related injury or illness that is the subject of an inspection or investigation; (2) an employer's right to contest citations and penalties; and (3) periods permitted for an employer to correct serious, willful, or repeated violations pending an employer's contest to a citation and procedures for stays of the time period for abatement of those violations.

Increases civil and criminal penalties for certain OSHA violators.

States that pre-final order interest on any penalties owed shall begin to accrue on the date a party contests a citation, at an interest rate calculated at the current underpayment rate.

Prescribes requirements for the Secretary's evaluation of state occupational safety and health plans as well as workplace health hazard evaluations by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Requires a state that has an approved plan for the development and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards to amend its plan to conform to the requirements of this Act within 12 months after enactment of this Act.