Ensuring Safe and Healthful Working Conditions

Despite a 50-year-old law requiring employers to provide a safe workplace, more than 5,000 working people are killed on the job every year, and nearly three million suffer a serious injury or illness. Black, Latinx, immigrant, and indigenous workers labor in the most dangerous jobs and suffer the highest injury and fatality rates.

A serious injury or workplace fatality takes an enormous emotional and physical toll on workers, their families, and their communities. In fact, a workplace injury can force workers and their families out of the middle class and into poverty, contributing to growing economic inequality.

Working together with allies, NELP is a leader in creating policy solutions to ensure that workers have safety and health protections, especially in dangerous low-paying jobs where workers of color are disproportionately represented.

We are fighting to ensure robust enforcement of workplace safety and anti-retaliation protections, and to improve workers’ compensation programs for injured workers, both in terms of program design and accessibility. And we are working with partners to educate policymakers and the public about solutions to hold irresponsible employers accountable and to ensure that workers don’t have to sacrifice their lives for a paycheck.


News Releases

On President Biden’s Executive Order to Protect Workers from COVID-19

We urge OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard immediately.

Posted Jan 21, 2021 Read More

News Releases

NELP on the Biden COVID-19 Relief Plan

We call on Congress to pass this proposal into law to bring stability into our communities, aid our health, and(…)

Posted Jan 15, 2021 Read More

News Releases

Report: OSHA Investigated, Resolved Only 2% of COVID Retaliation Complaints

More than half the 1,744 retaliation complaints received were dismissed without being investigated.

Posted Oct 8, 2020 Read More

News Releases

Labor Department Report: More Workers Speaking Up, Blowing the Whistle on COVID Safety Violations—But Their Complaints of Retaliation Face Delays at Understaffed OSHA

Over half the COVID retaliation complaints were summarily dismissed, while remaining cases are taking longer than ever to investigate.

Posted Aug 19, 2020 Read More


Worker Health Is Central to Public Health

via The Hill, Mar 11, 2020 Read More

News Releases

Two Worker Deaths in January Show Need for Reforms in U.S. Poultry Slaughterhouses

There is an increased likelihood of serious injuries among poultry workers, who are disproportionately people of color and immigrants.

Posted Jan 24, 2020 Read More

Protecting Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Worker safety is in crisis in this pandemic. Under the Trump administration, the federal agency normally in charge of protecting workers—the Occupational Safety and Health Administration—has failed in its responsibility and has not issued any enforceable COVID-19-specific requirements that employers must implement to protect workers. Nor is OSHA enforcing the law; it has issued only a handful of citations despite having received more than 9,000 complaints from concerned workers. OSHA and CDC have issued voluntary guidelines that recommend some policies and procedures that employers should implement, but they are voluntary. To protect public health, we must protect worker health. NELP is advocating for states to issue necessary protective measures and for OSHA to issue a standard to protect workers from COVID-19 and other similar infectious diseases.

Ensuring Strong Federal and State Enforcement and Standards: Reversing the Rollbacks

NELP works with allies across the country to ensure that federal and state worker safety and health protections remain strong. We are dedicated to bringing attention to dangerous conditions and fighting back when policymakers try to weaken these protections.

Enforcement Resources
















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Protecting Workers in the Meat/Poultry, Fast Food, and Warehousing Industries

NELP focuses on the health and safety hazards and risks facing Black and Brown workers in dangerous low-paid industries, developing policy solutions that ensure that workers don’t have to sacrifice their lives for a paycheck. NELP is a leader in the fight to raise labor standards in the meat and poultry industry, which is built on the backs of Black, Latinx, and immigrant workers. We coordinate the fight against policies that would allow plants to increase line speeds and endanger workers, consumers, and animal welfare. NELP has also published reports highlighting the dangerous conditions faced by workers at Amazon warehouses and McDonald’s restaurants.

Workers on a poultry processing line

Defending Workers’ Rights to Compensation for Work-Related Injuries and Illness

Workers’ compensation, often known as the “grand bargain,” is failing workers big time. Over the past two decades, changes in state laws governing workers’ compensation—a system that has been in place for more than 100 years—have made it much harder for injured workers to receive adequate benefits, which are paltry when they are awarded. Further, an increasing number of studies confirm that only a fraction of injured workers receive any benefits at all. We hope the following resources are useful to advocates who work on improving their state’s workers’ compensation laws and preventing further rollbacks of these critical worker protections.

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