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Fight to lift minimum wage also raises awareness on workplace safety

In “On the front line of the fight for $15” (Page A1, March 19), Katie Johnston describes how grease burns experienced by numerous fast food workers spurred their anger and passion, contributing to the fight for a $15 minimum wage. It is appalling that workers suffer from painful injuries simply to earn a living. In a just world, employers would institute safety measures to prevent burn injuries, and our federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration would have the resources to deter employers from putting workers in harm’s way.

In the meantime, our state Legislature is considering a measure that would address a gap in our workers’ compensation program for those who suffer burns or other scars on their arms or legs. Our current system only provides scarring and disfigurement compensation for workers harmed on their hands, face, and neck. The new measure would extend this compensation for scars on the rest of the body.

Increased workers’ compensation costs for employers isn’t the best deterrent for preventing burn injuries, but at least we won’t add insult to injury by failing to compensate workers who are left with lifelong scars.

Marcy Goldstein-Gelb


The writer is the executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health.