Labor Party Program for Workplace Safety & Health

15. Enforce Safety & Health Regulation with Worker Inspectors

The regulation of occupational safety and health hazards is shamefully inadequate, and the enforcement of the standards we have is woefully neglected. 

There are too few safety inspectors to visit all the workplaces that need to be visited.

Thousands of untested new chemicals are introduced into use each year, exposing millions of workers and the public to unknown hazards.

Incidents take place without adequate investigations being conducted; and, when incidents are investigated by impartial investigators, their findings are rarely implemented.

The Labor Party must address this important area. In addition to increasing the number of OSHA inspectors, we need the right to act and to enforce any and all safety and health regulations.

We call for national legislation to train and deputize workers to be on the job inspectors in each and every workplace.

Such inspectors should be protected against corporate harassment and discrimination and should be able to do their job without fear of reprisal.

Such inspectors should have the power to shut down hazardous operations and to enforce the right of every worker to refuse unsafe work.

Such inspectors should have the power to investigate incidents to uncover their root causes and to force the implementation of their findings.

Because we know our work sites, worker-inspectors would be better able to protect the workforce from exposure and the community from disaster. Worker-inspectors will save lives. 

In addition, we need the following national laws:

All chemicals must be tested for their impacts on human health and the environment before they are introduced into our workplaces. 

Working people through their unions should receive advance notice before new chemicals are introduced into the workplace and should have the power to block their introduction for safety reasons.

16. Reclaiming the Workplace: Job Design, Technology and Skill

Labor has little or no voice in the design or implementation of new technologies. Instead, giant corporations use technological research, design, and workplace implementation to maximize their profits at our expense. 

Corporations control the design and use of computers and information technologies, as well as other kinds of mechanization and automation.

They also control the design of work itself, imposing new administrative and computerized control technologies under such names as "workplace re-engineering." Like previous corporate methods, workplace re-engineering is based on speed up and de-skilling. However it poses another danger to our jobs as well.

The corporate control of workplace design destroys jobs. Corporations implement technologies and designs that make it profitable to replace full-time workers with an army of temporaries.

To fight back we call for the creation of a labor-based, publicly-funded Technology Democratization Commission, which will work to ensure that labor plays an important role shaping the development and implementation of technology.

Visit the Kansas City Area Labor Party site.