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Federal repeal of 'blacklisting rule' could affect worker safety

During the last administration, workers’ rights groups and unions pushed for a rule to protect workers. This rule, enacted in 2015, was often referred to as the “blacklisting rule." It required that any company bidding on federal projects with budgets above half a million dollars to report violations of fourteen critical worker safety and labor laws.

These companies were also required to report any pending complaints against them, regardless of whether or not the courts had already reviewed the claims.

The intention for this rule was simple: Protect workers by denying federal contracts to companies with a history of labor and workplace safety violations. Basically, the law was a backdoor way to motivate companies to comply with safety and labor laws. Failing to do so could cost them lucrative government contracts.

The current administration has called this a “job killing” rule, and with a single executive signature, the repeal of the law happened on Monday, March 27, 2017. The result could well be an increase in worker injuries, labor abuse and even worker deaths due to company negligence.

The blacklisting rule protected workers from unscrupulous employers

For too many companies, the profit margin and bottom line are the only things that matters. They view their construction workers as replaceable, even interchangeable. With this kind of employer, employees are often put at unnecessary risk as a means of increasing profit margins.

Equipment may not be as up-to-date or well maintained as it should be. Safety gear may not be provided unless explicitly required by law. Construction workers employed by these kinds of companies may be at increased risk of severe injury or even death as the result of a preventable workplace accident.

When an employer prioritizes profit over employee safety, financial punishment is often the only means of preventing future issues. The blacklisting rule worked in this manner by requiring companies to adhere to a certain standard to win profitable government contracts.

In lieu of that level of protection, the best option for construction workers who suffered workplace injuries likely comes from working with an experienced personal injury and workers' compensation attorney to hold their former employer accountable.

An attorney can protect your interests after a construction injury

Construction injuries can often be quite serious, requiring trauma care and ongoing treatments for full recovery. Whether you suffered a fall or were injured by falling equipment, an attorney can help you file for workers' compensation, consider the fairness of a settlement offer and pursue civil action against your employer if negligence factored into the accident. If you or someone you love has suffered a construction-related injury, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

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