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Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D. NH) has co-sponsored Senator Patty Murray's (D. WA) Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA):

PAWA works to address workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths. Specifically, PAWA would expand OSH Act protections to include state, county, municipal and U.S. government employees; increase whistleblower protections; and improve OSHA reporting, inspection and enforcement. These improvements will help OSHA ensure safe and healthful work environments in industries that have outpaced decades old government regulation, Murray said.

According to Murray, PAWA:

► Covers more workers. Over 8.5 million American workers are not covered by OSHA’s protections. These include federal, state and local public employees, and some private sector employees.

► Increases penalties for those who break the law. Under current law, an employer may be charged – at most – with a misdemeanor when a willful violation of OSHA leads to a worker’s death. The bill makes felony charges available for an employer’s repeated and willful violations of OSHA that result in a worker’s death or serious injury. It also updates OSHA civil penalties and sets a minimum penalty of $50,000 for a worker’s death caused by a willful violation.

► Protects whistleblowers who report unsafe workplace conditions. OSHA whistleblower provisions have not been updated since their adoption in 1970; this bill updates those protections by incorporating successful administrative procedures adopted in other laws, like the Surface Transportation Act.

► Enhances the public’s right to know about safety violations. The bill improves public accountability and transparency by mandating DOL to investigate all cases of death or serious incidents of injury, requiring employers to inform workers of their OSHA rights and more.

► Clarifies an employer’s duty to provide a safe worksite. It amends the General Duty Clause to include all workers on the site and clarifies employer responsibility to provide necessary safety equipment. It also directs the DOL to revise regulations for site-controlling employers to keep a site log for all recordable injuries and illnesses among all employees on the work site. - EHS Today, 3/27/13

The legislation has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO and has also been co-sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D. OH), Al Franken (D. MN), Tom Harkin (D. IA), Frank Lautenberg (D. NJ), Jay Rockefeller (D. WV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D. RI), Bob Casey (D. PA), Elizabeth Warren (D. MA) and Ben Cardin (D. MD).

I also have some more Shaheen-related news for both health advocates and football fans:

At first glance, the massive All-Pro New England Patriots defensive lineman and the senator and grandmother from New Hampshire appear to have little in common.

But on Tuesday morning, Vince Wilfork and Jeanne Shaheen were at the Gilbert H. Hood Middle School on Diabetes Alert Day talking to a packed gymnasium about their family experiences with diabetes.

At times, it looked more like a throwback to the recent presidential primaries, as cameras and reporters lined the gym and surrounded Wilfork and Democrat Shaheen at a news conference after the presentation. And when Wilfork walked into the gym, it was as loud as any candidate rally in recent memory. - The Union Leader, 3/26/13
The all-star lineman have had family members affected by diabetes and they discussed their stories to the crowd:
"When I was six, seven, or eight, I didn't really know what (diabetes) was or meant," said Wilfork. "I remember that sometimes I would have to carry my father to the restroom to bathe him or feed him or give him insulin when I was eight years old."

As he grew older, Wilfork said he began to understand the effect Type I diabetes had on his father and his family.

"He lost weight, he had to go through dialysis, he lost his eyesight and his hearing and he lost a toe," said Wilfork. In 2002, Wilfork's father died at the age of 48 after a 10-year battle with diabetes.

"It hurt," said Wilfork. "He was my best friend and he taught me everything I know." - The Union Leader, 3/26/13

Shaheen's oldest granddaughter, Ellie, has Type 1 diabetes:

Shaheen brought along her oldest granddaughter Elle, who has type 1 diabetes, and Elle's service dog, Coach, who helps her manage her diabetes.

In a press availability after the presentation, Shaheen praised Wilfork for his diabetes prevention effort.

"All of us Patriots fans know who (Vince Wilfork) is, know what a terrific football player he is, but he's also someone who has worked very hard to bring awareness about the dangers and the tragedy of diabetes," said Shaheen.

Accompanying Wilfork and Shaheen were Wilfork's wife, Bianca, and five diabetes experts to answer questions from the students. - London berry Patch, 3/26/13

This is not the first time Shaheen and Wilfork have teamed up to raise awareness about diabetes.  The two filmed a public service announcement advocating awareness and how to combat diabetes:

Glad to see these two team up to promote awareness and educate children about how to avoid and cope with diabetes.  

If you'd like to donate to Shaheen's 2014 re-election campaign, feel free to do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Take New Hampshire Forward!.

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