July 20, 1999
The Honorable Robert E. Andrews
H.R.776 - OSHA COVERAGE OF STATE EMPLOYEES
The purpose of this letter from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), is to offer our support of H.R.776 which amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to provide for coverage of employees of states and political subdivisions of states. Since you have received significant amounts of correspondence/material from us in the past we will skip a Society background statement, and enclose an ASSE Fact Sheet as an attachment.
Enclosed is our comprehensive statement addressing the safety and health legislation introduced during the Spring, 1999. We offered the following position on S.650, Federal Employees Safety Enhancement Act which is sponsored by Senators Wellstone and Kennedy:
Our one criticism of such legislation continues to be why are federal employees being given such protection and not all public sector employees. We believe that the bill should be amended to include all public sector employees. We are aware that this would include a significant number of additional employees, but the Society maintains that this is the correct course of action. As a result, and if appropriate, ASSE would also like to offer the following amendment to the legislation:
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29USC, 652  )
We suggest the S.650 amendment is also appropriate for H.R.776 in that it provides OSHA coverage for all public sector employees and not just those at the state level. This coverage will provide enhanced safety and health on the worksite for potentially up to 20% of the nation's workforce. While we strongly endorse this extension of coverage it would also be appropriate to include a plan in the legislative report language which allows for a phased in approach. This would empower OSHA to more efficiently use its resources and allow for reasonable adjustments to this greater level of coverage.
ASSE has made a conscientious decision to comment on all safety and health related legislation. We believe that only by taking such positions can safety and health professionals be assured that the national focus on occupational safety and health is maintained.
We thank you for your attention to this matter, and if there are any questions or concerns with these positions please feel free to contact the Society.
Frank H. Perry, CSP, P.E.
Copy To: ASSE
Board of Directors
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