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March 23, 2018   
Enforcing Safety Rules  March 16, 2007

In Montgomery County, Md. a citizens advisory committee is pushing county officials tighten enforcement of occupational safety rules.

The responsibility of enforcing work-safety standards currently resides with the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) agency, but proponents of the initiative say the agency is under-funded and understaffed.

A union consultant recently reported that the rate of injuries and fatalities among immigrant workers is growing. A study released by the AFL-CIO in 2005 found that the rate of workplace fatalities among foreign-born workers is rising.

For example in 2004 a 15-year-old boy from Guatemala died after falling into a mulch-spreading machine while completing landscaping work. This death rallied immigrant workers to insist on more safeguards and training from their employers.

However, according to Jim Grossfield, a member of the commission and primary author of the proposal, many immigrants who work in unsafe conditions are resistant to seek government assistance. Industries that employ a high number of immigrants such as construction, landscaping, horticulture, food and health-care services are very dangerous jobs to hold.
The state of Maryland reported that 95 workers died while on the job in 2005. Transportation and construction-related work accounted for over half of those deaths.

The initiative is currently being circulated among county officials and calls for OSHA-approved training for workers and helping injured workers obtain compensation.

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