Occupational Safety & Health Legislation Introduced During the 112th Congressional Session

Occupational Safety and Health Legislation Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives
                                                             (in chronological order):

 

 

HR 10 –
Title:   Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act
Summary:  Bill would rewrite provisions regarding congressional review of agency rulemaking to require congressional approval of major rules of the executive branch before they may take effect (currently, major rules take effect unless Congress passes and the President signs a joint resolution disapproving them). Defines "major rule" as any rule, including an interim final rule, that has resulted in or is likely to result in: (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or U.S. competitiveness. Provides that if a joint resolution of approval of a major rule is not enacted by the end of 70 session days or legislative days after the agency proposing the rule submits its report on such rule to Congress, the rule shall be deemed not to be approved and shall not take effect. Permits a major rule to take effect for 90 calendar days without such approval if the President determines such rule is necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency, for the enforcement of criminal laws, for national security, or to implement an international trade agreement.
Sponsor:Rep. Geoff Davis [R-KY-4] (introduced 1/20/2011)
Cosponsors as of 4/7/11: 137
Related Bill: S. 299
Latest Major Action: 3/8/2011 House committee/subcommittee actions
 
HR 128 –
Title: Untitled
Summary: Directs the Secretary of Labor to revise certain regulations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 so as to require site-controlling employers to keep a site log for all recordable injuries and illnesses occurring among all employees on the particular site, whether such employees are employed directly by the site-controlling employer or are employed by contractors or temporary help or employee leasing services.
Sponsor: Rep. Gene Green [D-TX-29] (introduced 1/5/2011)
Cosponsors as of 4/7/11: 0
Latest Major Action: 2/25/2011 Referred to House Workforce Protections Subcommittee
 
 
HR 190 –
Title:  Protecting America's Workers Act
Summary: Would amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act to expand its coverage to federal, state, and local government employees.  Would authorize the Secretary of Labor, under specified conditions, to cede OSHA jurisdiction to another federal agency with respect to certain occupational standards or regulations for such agency's employees. Increases protections for whistle blowers under OSHA. Prescribes requirements relating to: (1) the posting of employee rights, (2) employer reporting of employee work-related deaths or hospitalizations, (3) a prohibition against employers adopting or implementing policies or practices that discourage or discriminate against employee reporting of work-related injuries or illnesses, (4) a prohibition against the loss of wages or employee benefits due to an employee participating in a workplace inspection, (5) investigations of incidents resulting in death or the hospitalization of two or more employees which occur in a place of employment, and (6) a prohibition against issuing, modifying, or settling of unclassified citations for occupational health and safety standard violations. Continues requirements relating to: (1) the rights of an employee (including former employee or family member in lieu of an employee) who has sustained a work-related injury or illness that is the subject of an inspection or investigation; (2) an employer's right to contest citations and penalties; and (3) periods permitted for an employer to correct serious, willful, or repeated violations pending an employer's contest to a citation and procedures for stays of the time period for abatement of those violations. Increases civil and criminal penalties for certain OSHA violators. States that pre-final order interest on any penalties owed shall begin to accrue on the date a party contests a citation, at an interest rate calculated at the current underpayment rate. Prescribes requirements for Secretary evaluation of state occupational safety and health plans as well as workplace health hazard evaluations by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).Requires a state that has an approved plan for the development and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards to amend its plan to conform to the requirements of this Act within 12 months after enactment of this Act.
Sponsor: Rep. Lynn Woolsey [D-CA-6] (introduced 1/5/2011)
Cosponsors as of 4/7/11: 3
Latest Major Action: 2/25/2011 Referred to House Workforce Protections Subcommittee. 
 
HR 503 –
Title:  Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act of 2011
Summary: Prohibits an employer from discharging, discriminating, or engaging in retaliatory actions against specified employees who report to a government official any violation or unsafe condition under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Sets forth procedures for filing a complaint with the Secretary of Labor regarding such retaliation. Requires employers to: (1) post a notice approved by the Secretary of Labor explaining employee rights and remedies under this Act in a conspicuous location in the place of employment where employees frequent; (2) provide training to employees about their rights under this Act within 30 days of employment, and at least once every 12 months thereafter; and (3) provide employees with a card containing a toll free telephone number at the Department of Labor to get information or file a complaint under this Act. Directs the Secretary of Labor, within 30 days after enactment of this Act, to designate agency officials to receive, investigate, and adjudicate complaints concerning violations under this Act.
Sponsor: Rep. George Miller [D-CA-7] (introduced 1/26/2011)
Cosponsors as of 4/7/11: 1
Latest Major Action: 2/25/2011 Referred to House Workforce Protections Subcommittee
 
HR 571 –
Title: Ensuring Worker Safety Act
Summary: Would amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act to revise requirements for the Secretary of Labor's continuing evaluation of approved state occupational safety and health plans. Would require: (1) the review of state plans to include an assessment of whether a state continues to meet certain conditions for the approval of such plans; and (2) the Secretary to determine whether a state that fails to comply substantially with the provisions of a plan should be given the opportunity to remedy such deficiencies. Would prescribe general requirements for the provision to a state of such an opportunity. Would require the Comptroller General periodically to review and assess: (1) whether state plans to develop and enforce safety and health standards are at least as effective as federal occupational safety and health (OSHA) program standards in preventing occupational injuries, illnesses and deaths, and investigating discrimination complaints; (2) the effectiveness of the Secretary's oversight of such plans; and (3) the adequacy of the Secretary's investigations in response to Complaints About State Plan Administration as well as whether policy issues have been identified and corrective actions fully implemented by each state.
Sponsor: Rep. Mazie Hirono [D-HI-2] (introduced 2/9/2011)
Cosponsors as of 4/7/11: 6
Latest Major Action: 3/4/2011 Referred to House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.
 
HR 1235 –
Title: Regulation Moratorium Act
Summary:  Would require that,except as provided in section 3 of the bill, no department or agency of the United States shall put into force any rule until January 31, 2013. Section 3 allows certain exceptions to the moratorium, providing that “Section 2 does not apply in the case of a rule excepted by section 553(a) from the requirements of that section or for which notice of proposed rulemaking is not required under subsection 553(b).”
Sponsor:  Rep. John Carter[R-TX-31] (introduced 3/29/2011)      
Cosponsors as of 4/7/11:  0
Latest Major Action: 3/29/2011 Referred to House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary
 
HR 1281 –
Title: Restoring Economic Certainty Act
Summary: Would place federal agencies under a 2-year moratorium from issuing new regulations. The legislation would create exceptions including one for regulations that, in the judgment of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, are needed because of an “imminent threat to health or safety.”
Sponsor:  Rep. Reid Ribble [R-WI-8] (introduced 3/31/2011)
Cosponsors as of 4/7/11:  14
Latest Major Action: 3/31/2011 Referred to House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary
 
 
 
Occupational Safety and Health Legislation Introduced in the U.S. Senate
                                      (in chronological order):
 
 
S. 153 –
Title: Robert C. Byrd Mine and Workplace Safety and Health Act
Summary: Would amend the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 to require the Secretary of Labor, in conducting health and safety related accident investigations in coal or other mines, to: (1) determine why an accident occurred and whether there were violations of law, mandatory health and safety standards, or other requirements; (2) issue citations and penalties in case of violations, and in cases involving possible criminal actions, refer them to the Attorney General; and (3) make recommendations to avoid any recurrence.
Would require an independent accident investigation by an independent panel appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) for any accident: (1) involving three or more deaths; or (2) whose severity or scale merits an independent investigation.
 
Would authorize: (1) the Secretary's representatives and attorneys to question any individual privately during an inspection or investigation; and (2) any individual willing to speak with or provide a statement to such representatives or attorneys to do so without the presence, involvement, or knowledge of the mine operator or mine operator's agents or attorneys.
 
Would allow the closest relative of a miner who is entrapped or otherwise prevented by an accident to designate a representative for the miner to participate in a mine inspection. Would require mine inspections to be conducted during various shifts and days of the week when miners are normally present.
 
Would require the Secretary to establish a publicly available electronic database containing the safety records of each mine.
 
Would prohibit an attorney from representing both a mine operator and miner during an inspection, investigation, or litigation, unless such miner knowingly waives all possible conflicts of interest.
 
Would prescribe requirements for mine operators having a pattern of recurring citations, withdrawal orders, accidents, injuries, or illnesses.
 
Would establish in the Treasury the Mines in Pattern Status Inspection Fund for deposit of fees collected from mines in pattern (of violation) status for the costs of additional inspections.
 
Would require the Secretary to: (1) revoke the approval of mine operator plans or programs based on certain criteria; and (2) order withdrawal of all persons from a mine, and prohibit them from entering it, until the operator submits and the Secretary approves a new plan.
 
Would revise civil and criminal penalties and related administrative procedures.
 
Would revise certain miner protections against discrimination. Would prohibit discriminating against a miner or other employee of a mine operator for refusing to perform duties out of a good-faith and reasonable belief that performing such duties would pose a safety or health hazard.
 
Would entitle a miner to full compensation by a mine operator at the regular rate of pay for the entire period for which the miner is idled because of a Secretary's withdrawal order. (Under current law, miners are entitled to full compensation only for the balance of their shift, and up to four hours of the next working shift if an order is not terminated beforehand.)
 
Would require each underground coal mine operator to implement a communication program to ensure that each miner entering a mine is made aware, at the start of a shift, of current mine conditions.
 
Would prescribe additional requirements for the monitoring of coal dust in underground mines.
 
Would require the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), acting through the Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, to issue recommendations to the Secretary regarding the use of atmospheric monitoring systems in the underground coal mining industry.
 
Would revise mine operator health and safety training program requirements. Would increase from 8 to 9 the minimum number of hours of refresher training all miners must receive at least once every 12 months, including 1 hour of training on miners statutory rights and responsibilities.
 
Would require the Secretary to order a mine operator to provide additional training to miners if a serious or fatal accident has occurred at a mine or it has experienced above-average accident and injury rates, citations, or withdrawal orders.
 
Would require the Secretary to issue mandatory standards to establish certification requirements and procedures for persons authorized by a mine operator to perform duties or provide training under such Act.
 
Would authorize the Secretary to make grants to states to assist them in developing and implementing miner certification programs.
Would amend the Black Lung Benefits Act to require a mine operator to deliver within 14 days a complete copy of the examining physician's report to any miner required to submit to a medical examination.
 
Would require the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress on the workforce needs of the mining industry and federal and state enforcement agencies, including the need for engineers and mine safety and health professionals.
 
Would require the Secretary, acting through the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, to submit to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and to Congress, and post on the Mine Safety and Health Administration's website, a five-year strategic plan for program activities, as well as an annual performance plan.
 
Would amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to revise certain employee protections against discrimination.
 
Would prescribe an employee's victim rights before the Secretary or before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission with respect to: (1) inspections or investigations of employer violations of federal occupational safety and health standards; or (2) a work-related bodily injury or death.
 
Would prescribe administrative requirements for an employer's correction of a serious, willful, or repeated violation of federal occupational safety and health standards pending contest and procedures for a stay. Increases civil penalties for such violations.
 
Would subject to certain increased criminal penalties an employer who knowingly violates a federal occupational safety and health standard, or regulation prescribed by such Act, that causes or contributes to the death of an employee. Adds penalties for a knowing violation that causes or contributes to serious bodily harm to any employee but does not cause any employee's death.
Sponsor: Sen. John Rockefeller [D-WV] introduced 1/25/11
Cosponsors as of 4/11/11: 3
Latest Major Action: 1/25/11Referred to Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee
 
S. 299 –
Title: Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny
Summary: Bill would rewrite provisions regarding congressional review of agency rulemaking to require congressional approval of major rules of the executive branch before they may take effect (currently, major rules take effect unless Congress passes and the President signs a joint resolution disapproving them). Defines "major rule" as any rule, including an interim final rule, that has resulted in or is likely to result in: (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or U.S. competitiveness. Provides that if a joint resolution of approval of a major rule is not enacted by the end of 70 session days or legislative days after the agency proposing the rule submits its report on such rule to Congress, the rule shall be deemed not to be approved and shall not take effect. Permits a major rule to take effect for 90 calendar days without such approval if the President determines such rule is necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency, for the enforcement of criminal laws, for national security, or to implement an international trade agreement.
Sponsor: Sen. Paul Rand [R-KY] (introduced 2/7/11)
Cosponsors as of 4/13/11: 25      
Related Bills: HR 10
Latest Major Action: 2/7/2011 Referred to Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
 
S. 602 –
Title:  Clearing Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens Act (CURB Act)
Summary: Would prohibit agencies from issuing guidance documents that have the same practical effect as regulations. Would forbid agencies from using mandatory words such as “shall,”, “must,” and “required” in “significant guidance documents.” Defines “significant guidance documents” as those expected to have an annual impact of at least $100 million on the economy. 
Sponsor: Sen. Susan Collins [R-ME] (introduced 3/16/2011)      
Cosponsors as of 4/13/11: 2
Latest Major Action: 3/16/2011 Referred to Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
 
S. 709 –
Title: Secure Chemical Facilities Act
Summary:  Would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to set forth provisions for the regulation of security practices at chemical facilities.
 
Would authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate: (1) any chemical substance as a substance of concern and establish and adjust the threshold quantity for each such substance after considering the potential extent of death, injury, and serious adverse effects that could result from a chemical facility terrorist incident; and (2) a chemical facility as a covered chemical facility if the Secretary determines such facility is a sufficient security risk (e.g., a likely target of a chemical facility terrorist incident and close to large population centers).
 
Would direct the Secretary to: (1) maintain a list of covered chemical facilities that are of sufficient security risk; (2) assign each covered facility to one of four risk-based tiers; (3) establish standards and procedures for security vulnerability assessments and site security plans; (4) require each facility owner or operator to submit and, once approved, to implement such an assessment and plan; and (5) establish risk-based chemical security performance standards for site security plans.
 
Would permit the Secretary, under specified circumstances, to: (1) accept an alternate security program submitted by the owner or operator of the facility; (2) conduct facility security inspections; and (3) obtain access to and copy records necessary for reviewing or analyzing a security vulnerability assessment or site security plan.
 
Would require the Secretary to: (1) share threat information with owners, operators, or security officers of a covered chemical facility and with relevant state and local government authorities in a timely manner; and (2) disapprove a security vulnerability assessment or site security plan if the Secretary determines that such assessment or security plan does not comply with the requirements of this Act. Would establish whistleblower protections for employees of a covered chemical facility who report safety violations.
Would establish in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) an Office of Chemical Facility Security.
 
Would authorize civil actions by individuals alleging violations of this Act.
 
Would direct the Secretary to: (1) establish a notification system to report, via telephonic and Internet-based means, a suspected security deficiency or suspected noncompliance with the requirements of this Act; and (2) assess the emergency response resources that would be required to feasibly respond to a worst-case chemical facility terrorist incident.
Sponsor: Sen. Frank Lautenberg [D-NJ] (introduced 3/31/2011)      
Cosponsors as of 4/13/11: 1
Latest Major Action: Referred to Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs