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In 100th Year of Safety, ASSE Offers OSH Reform Legislative Proposal

Posted in on Fri, Jun 10, 2011

In the 100th year of ASSE and modern occupational safety, ASSE offered leaders of the key U.S. Senate and House of Representative committees responsible for workplace safety and health oversight draft legislation to address needed reforms in federal law to help improve U.S. workplace safety and health.  ASSE’s first occupational safety and health draft reform proposal Enhancing Occupational Safety and Health Protections in the 100th Year Act of 2011 is intended to help improve OSHA and NIOSH capabilities and better encourage employer responsibility for worker safety and health.

“For the past 100 years ASSE’s member occupational safety, health and environmental professionals have worked day and night in all industries to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. They have seen results, but at the same time know that more needs to and can be done,” said ASSE President Darryl C. Hill, PhD, CSP, in letters to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  “That’s why, on this our 100th Anniversary, ASSE offers this draft legislation to build on what we have learned is missing in the way this nation oversees workplace safety and health.  After 40 years of the OSH Act and other decisions made following its passage in 1970, workers should be able to rely on a thoughtful reexamination of that Act’s effectiveness, which we hope our draft legislation encourages.”

ASSE’s bill contains provisions on coverage of public sector employees;  updating permissible exposure limits; advancing a risk-based regulatory approach; encouraging collaborative rulemaking;  enhanced definition of competent person; encouraging OSHA consideration of voluntary consensus standards; enabling OSHA to update standards with voluntary consensus standards;  relocation of NIOSH within the Department of Health and Human Services; increased criminal penalties for those responsible for safety culture in an organization; encouraging employer risk assessment through third part consultations; encouraging risk assessment through safety and health audit privilege; codification of the Voluntary Protection Program(VPP); and, expanded access to VPP for small businesses.   

“Most of the ideas are those ASSE has championed over the years, and some are ideas we backed in the occupational safety and health reform debate over the last several years. You will find ideas offered by both Republicans and Democrats. If not on this 100th anniversary, which we also consider the beginning of a modern commitment to safe and healthy workplaces, when will be a better time to build on what we know can work to improve how our nation oversees occupational safety and health protections in our workplaces?”

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