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05/27/2024 03:32 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2022 11:52 AM
From: Representative Patrick J. Harkins
To: All House members
Subject: The Jake Schwab Worker Safety Bill
What if I told you that private sector workers have more workplace protections than our police officers, firemen, corrections officers, road maintenance workers, and other public employees in Pennsylvania? You would probably be shocked to find out that it is the truth. The majority of private sector employees are protected under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA), while public sector employees are not.
Unfortunately, this fact was brought to my attention after Erie resident Jake Schwab was fatally injured at work in 2014. Jake was a mechanic with the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority, a public sector employer that is exempt from OSHA regulations. As a result, the details of the incident and any safety concerns that would have been raised through an OSHA review have been hard to track.
My legislation will extend OSHA protections to public sector workers in Pennsylvania. All workers deserve the right to work in an environment that is free from unnecessary health and safety hazards, including the public sector workers that have some of the most dangerous jobs in the Commonwealth.  The public employees of Pennsylvania have dedicated their careers to public service.  It is time we honor Jake Schwab’s memory and improve safety in public employee workplaces. 
This legislation was previously introduced as HB 1976 of 2021 and was previously sponsored by Representatives Burgos, Ciresi, Conklin, Deasy, Delloso, Fiedler, Freeman, Galloway, Hohenstein, Innamorato, Isaacson, Kinsey, Kulik, Markosek, McNeill, Merski, Dan Miller, Neilson, Pisciottano, Samuelson, Sanchez, Schlossberg, and Dan Williams.

Introduced as HB299