Posted on Aug 03, 2006
The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives is considering a bill which would protect manufacturers of defective products from lawsuits by persons injured by those products. HR3509 would completely eliminate the rights of workers covered by workers' compensation to hold the sellers and manufacturers of this equipment accountable when they are injured by a defective product that is more than 12 years old. This would apply regardless of how long the product was designed and built to last. Many products, such as industrial machinery, tractors and construction tools are designed and built to last longer than 12 years. This Bill would leave the innocent injured workers and their families without a remedy when they are killed or injured by a defective product. In a joint consumer letter from the Alliance for Justice, Center for Justice & Democracy, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Public Citizen and US Public Interest Research Group, these united consumer organizations state: "HR3509 is a strongly anti-safety, anti-worker bill...[it applied to manufacturing equipment executives] knew it was defective at the time of production, note equipment that has become dangerous because it is antiquated or worn out...even where products were designed to function much longer than 12 years, like farm equipment, elevators and industrial machinery". HR3509 would completely shield negligent manufacturers from responsibility simply because more than a dozen years had gone by since the product was made. Workers in dangerous professions such as construction, mining, drilling, manufacturing, farming, forestry and fire fighting, would be particularly harmed by the legislation. People who are concerned about this issue, especially those who are involved or have relatives involved in one of these professions, are urged to contact their congressman and senators to let them know that they oppose this anti-worker / anti-safety bill.