U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, has introduced legislation to help ensure that companies contracting with the federal government maintain safe workplaces. The Contractor Accountability and Workplace Safety Act was introduced in response to President Trump’s revocation of an executive order that required companies to disclose past labor law violations when bidding for large federal contracts. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
“When the federal government grants a contract, workers should have the assurance that their workplace is safe and their employer does not have a history overrun with labor law violations,” said Pocan. The bill would require contracting officers to take the following steps when considering a bid for a contract worth more than $100,000:
- Consult OSHA’s inspection database for past safety and health violations by the bidder or relevant subcontractors.
- Consider any violations identified as part of the bidder’s responsibility determination.
- Refer violations to the appropriate officials.
The bill would also require the Department of Defense to train its contracting officials on how to evaluate safety, and would require that the federal Government Accountability Office evaluate DOD’s procedures for evaluating contractor safety records.