Joint committee meeting Wednesday to discuss worker safety

    Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska House State Affairs and Health and Social Services standing committees will hold a joint meeting this morning at 9 a.m.

    The meeting will focus on worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Rep. Zack Fields, a co-chair of State Affairs, told News of the North that the meeting will focus on the safety of frontline workers and will feature a number of officials testifying about the issue.

    Rep. Fields also said that the state's OSHA has the authority to issue health directives, which could include a face mask mandate for the state.

    "The Division of Occupational Safety and Health in the Department of Labor has clear authority to issue COVID-19 regulations, including but not limited to the use of a face mask," Rep. Fields said.

    Those testifying will include Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka, Director of Personnel and Labor Relations Kate Sheehan, Labor Standards and Safety Director Joseph Knowles, Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Senior Enforcement Officer Brandon Field, Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Chief of Consultation Elaine Banda, Statewide Director of the National Electrical Contractors Association Deborah Kelly, Unite Here Representative Rashad Perry, Director of the State and Local Enforcement Project, Harvard Labor and Worklife Program, Terri Gerstein, English as a Second Language Specialist Rebecca Himschoot, and Industrial Hygienist with MDC Consulting and Training, Mark Catlin.

    You can watch the meeting live on AKL.TV.

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