May 2, 2000

The Honorable Louis F. Kosko
441 Market Street
Saddle Brook, N.J. 07663

Reference: Senate Bill, No. 531 (requires certain businesses to hire a full-time chemist).

Dear Senator Kosko,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Penn-Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers. I represent this organization as the Government Affairs Chair.

The exclusionary language within Senate, No. 531 is detrimental to some of our members. Please allow us to make the following comments:

1.) Section 1a. cites the "Standard Industrial Classification Manual prepared by the federal Office of Management and Budget." The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) will soon be obsolete. The North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) is now being phased in and is scheduled for full adoption by all federal agencies on January 1, 2002.

2.) Section 1b. refers to a "Bachleor" of Science degree. You may want to recheck the spelling of this title.

3.) Section 1b. requires every applicable business to staff a person who has received a Bachelor of Science degree or a four-year chemical engineering degree from an accredited college or university. You should further define the term "accredited" since many unscrupulous "schools" set up their own "accreditation bodies" (including some mail-order schools and "diploma mills"). Both the United States Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) authenticate accreditation bodies through a recognition process (reference: http://www.ed.gov/NLE/USNEI/HP3B5.html).

4.) Section 1b. should be amended to include individuals holding legitimate safety or engineering credentials. This amendment would further the safety of the community as intended by this bill by permitting businesses to optionally employ individuals with demonstrated competence in chemical safety. Many engineers and most safety professionals are the chemical safety experts for their business and already function as liaisons with their local fire department. Currently, these credentials include Professional Engineer, Certified Safety Professional, and Certified Industrial Hygienist. Note: Certified Safety Professional and Certified Industrial Hygienist are recognized within the New Jersey Worker and Community Right to Know Act as a "Technically Qualified Person" (N.J.A.C. 8:59, 1-3). Although this bill approves any individual with a Bachelor of Science or chemical engineering degree, some professionals have degrees only in business or other areas. Also, please note that many institutions operate science programs through their Liberal Arts Department and, as such, award a Bachelor of Arts degree. Individuals without a science degree could, alternately, demonstrate competency through the existing credentialling process. Accredited safety and engineering credentials can only be obtained through rigorous testing, strict educational requirements, years of on-the-job experience, and can only be maintained through ethical practice and continuing education. Since merely possessing a science degree does not ensure practical knowledge, ethics, competency, or skills maintenance, the credentialling option is superior to the current exclusive language of this bill and would permit an individual an alternate route to achieve favor.

Considering our comments made in paragraphs #3 and #4 above, Section 1b. should be modified as follows:

b. Every business that uses a hazardous substance that is flammable or explosive, or that, when combined with another hazardous substance, is flammable or explosive, shall employ a person on each work shift who shall have received, at a minimum, a [Bachleor of Science Degree] baccalaureate degree in science or a four-year chemical engineering degree from a college or university [in the United States] accredited by an accrediting association recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the United States Department of Education. Optionally, the applicable business may employ a person with a current professional safety or engineering credential from an organization that, as a matter of their policies and rules, only accept programs of study accredited by an accreditation association recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the United States Department of Education.

5.) The Synopsis of the bill should be modified as follows:

Requires certain businesses to employ full-time chemist, engineer, or safety professional, assist local fire departments in emergency planning; expands environmental hazardous substance list.

Our organization will support this bill with these modifications.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions concerning these comments.

Sincerely,

John W. Clark
Corporate Director, Safety and Health
Government Affairs Chair
Penn-Jersey Chapter American Society of Safety Engineers

mail:
John W. Clark
Corporate Director, Safety and Health
C-W, Inc.
P.O. Box 1001
Cranbury, N.J. 08512-0181
telephone:
609-655-6592

 

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