ASSE drafts new legislation for U.S. Congress

Bill aims to change federal law to help improve U.S. oversight of workplace safety and health.

06/13/2011


The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) sent key U.S. Senate and House of Representative leaders draft legislation to address needed reforms in the federal occupational safety and health law to help improve U.S. workplace safety and health. ASSE’s first comprehensive draft reform legislation, the bill ASSE submitted is titled "Enhancing Occupational Safety and Health Protections in the 100th Year Act of 2011" and is intended to help improve OSHA and NIOSH capabilities and better encourage employer responsibility for worker safety and health.

“While the direct responsibility for saving lives and preventing injuries and illnesses in this nation’s workplaces rests with employers, we can all do a better job of helping them and encouraging them to meet that responsibility,” said ASSE President Darryl C. Hill, PhD, CSP, in letters to Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

“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,” Hill said.

Hill noted that this is an important time for the profession and ASSE. “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.”

In his letters, Hill notes that the changes to the OSH Act ASSE offers are structural in nature, meant to help OSHA work better, be more effective in its outreach, and keep up with rapidly advancing knowledge about how to protect workers and workplaces.

“The same is true of our effort to relocate the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health within the Department of Health and Human Services,” Hill said. “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?”

ASSE’s bill contains provisions on coverage of public sector employees; updating permissable 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 party 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.

“Efforts of employers and our members, OSHA’s regulatory oversight, and the research and support for education that NIOSH directs have been highly successful. But no one believes workers are safe enough,” Hill said. “No one believes that we cannot do better. Let’s do better.”

 - Edited by Chris Vavra, Plant Engineering, www.plantengineering.com



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
System integration: Best practices and technologies to help; Virtualization virtues; Cyber security advice; Motor system efficiency, savings; Product exclusives; Road to Hannover
Collaborative robotics: How to improve safety, return on investment; Industrial Internet of Things, Industrie 4.0: World views; High-performance HMI, Information Integration: OPC and OMG
9 tips: How to integrate a servo system; Process control mathematical models; Serial network grounding; Engineers' Choice Awards; Learn from cyber security mistakes
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
PLCs, robots, and the quest for a single controller; how OEE is key to automation solutions.
This article collection contains several articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
click me