Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate amended (09/23/1987)

(Reported to Senate from the Committee on Labor and Human Resources with amendment, S. Rept. 100-166)

High Risk Occupational Disease Notification and Prevention Act of 1987 - Establishes a Risk Assessment Board (the Board), within the Department of Health and Human Services, to: (1) review pertinent medical and scientific reports on the incidence of disease associated with exposure to occupational health hazards; (2) identify and designate those populations at risk of such disease that should receive notification; (3) develop a form and method of notification that will be used by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary); and (4) determine the appropriate type of medical monitoring or beneficial health counseling.

Sets forth factors which the Board must consider in identifying and designating such populations at risk.

Sets forth procedures for notice of proposed determinations.

Directs the Board, in making determinations, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and health (NIOSH), in giving or coordinating notification, to notify as many employees at risk of disease as appropriations and the best available scientific evidence permit. Directs the Secretary to include a detailed explanation of the reasons for the notification determinations in a specified report.

Directs the Secretary to make every reasonable effort to ensure that each individual within a population at risk of disease is notified of the risk. Requires the Secretary, through NIOSH, to direct the required notification.

Sets forth contents of such notification, including counseling information.

Provides for telephone "hot lines" and other dissemination of information.

Provides for judicial review of Board determinations.

Authorizes the Secretary to certify a private employer or a State or local government to conduct notification.

Requires, in the case of employees not currently exposed, that notification be transmitted to each employee in the designated population at risk of disease who was exposed to the occupational health hazard within 30 years prior to the date of notification. Requires individual notification, but where this is not reasonably possible, requires the notifying entity to make use of public service announcements and other appropriate means of notification.

Requires individual notification in the case of employees currently exposed. Requires, where individual notification is not reasonably possible, the use of public service announcements and other appropriate means of notification. Provides that such means may include working with employers to post prominently notices containing specified information.

Allows an employer to apply to NIOSH for a variance exempting that employer's employees from designation as a population at risk, if the existence of significant mitigating factors can be proven. Sets forth procedures for obtaining such variances.

Requires the Secretary to establish and certify ten occupational and environmental health centers to: (1) provide education, training, and technical assistance to personal physicians and other professionals who serve employees notified that they are at risk under this Act; and (2) provide diagnosis, treatment, and medical monitoring for such employees.

Directs NIOSH to conduct or provide for research, training, and education aimed at improving the means of identifying employees exposed to occupational health hazards and improving medical assistance to such employees. Authorizes NIOSH to engage the services of experts and consultants.

Amends the Public Health Service Act to authorize the Secretary to make grants and contracts for training and curriculum development in occupational medicine or health to schools of medicine and of nursing. Provides that such assistance shall be for projects: (1) at schools with occupational medicine or health programs, for faculty continuing education, curricula and training materials for undergraduate medical or nursing training, and clinical training for residents in graduate medical programs; and (2) at schools without such programs, for faculty training. Directs the Secretary, during FY 1988 through 1990, to make such grants and contracts to at least ten schools of medicine or nursing. Makes funds authorized under this Act available for such grants and contracts.

Requires that the medical monitoring recommended by the Board be provided by the current employer at no additional cost to the employee if any part of the exposure occurred in the course of employment by that employer. Provides that the employee may be required to meet deductibles or copayments if such monitoring is through an existing employer health plan. Requires employers to provide monitoring for employees who are notified individually under this Act or who the employer has reason to know are members of the population at risk.

Prohibits discharging or discriminating against employees, or applicants for employment, on the basis that they are or have been members of a population at risk. Makes an exception to such prohibition if the position which the applicant seeks requires exposure to the occupational health hazard which is the subject of the notice. Allows an employer to remove an employee to a less hazardous or nonexposed job if this is determined to be medically necessary and if earnings, seniority, and other employment rights and benefits are maintained. Allows an employer with ten or fewer employees to transfer an employee who is or has been a member of a population at risk to another job if earnings, seniority, and other employment rights and benefits are as comparable as possible to the old job and if the terms of an applicable collective bargaining agreement are not violated.

Grants the option of being transferred to a less hazardous or nonexposed job to any employee member of a population at risk who is determined by a physician to show evidence of developing the disease described in the notice or other symptoms or conditions increasing the likelihood or incidence of such disease. Requires that the employee maintain earnings, seniority, and other employment rights and benefits of the former job. Requires such transfer to be made if within ten working days after the employee has exercised the option and transmitted to the employer a copy of the initial determination the employer's medical representative has not requested independent reconsideration of such determination. Provides that the employer, in providing such alternative work assignment, shall not be required to: (1) violate the terms of any collective bargaining agreement; or (2) displace, lay off, or terminate any other employee. Sets forth procedures for independent reconsideration of the initial medical determination. Requires an employer to provide medical removal protection only for employees who are notified individually under this Act or who the employer has reason to know are members of a population at risk.

Sets forth special rules for medical removal. Exempts from the requirement of medical removal protection any employer who has ten or fewer employees and who has made or is making a reasonable good faith effort to eliminate the occupational health hazard that is the basis for the medical removal decision.

Provides for confidentiality of employee records unless disclosure is authorized by and is necessary to carry out a provision of this Act, or is authorized by the employee.

Directs the Secretary to require recordkeeping, by NIOSH or by employers certified to notify employees, necessary to monitor the numbers, types, and results of notification under this Act.

Authorizes the Secretary to bring an action in U.S. district court to enjoin an employer from violating this Act.

Authorizes the Secretary to bring an action in U.S. district court against an employer certified to notify employees for any act or omission that is a knowing or reckless violation of this Act. Sets forth civil penalties for such violations.

Permits employees aggrieved by violations of provisions involving medical monitoring, medical removal, discrimination, and confidentiality to apply, within six months after the violation occurs, to the Secretary of Labor for a review of the alleged violation. Sets forth provisions for investigations, actions, defenses, determinations, and appeals in such cases. Provides for reinstatement and other relief for employees injured by such violations. Sets forth civil penalties for such violations. Sets forth provisions relating to exclusivity of remedy and effect on other laws. Prohibits actions against physicians for good faith determinations under medical removal provisions.

Directs the Secretary of Labor to report annually to the Congress on the implementation and enforcement of the hazard communication standard.

Directs the Secretary to report annually to the Congress on the implementation and enforcement of notification under this Act.

Requires each Federal agency that conducts epidemiologic studies on occupational disease to establish procedures for notifying subjects of such studies of the findings, including specified information if the subjects are at risk of disease. Requires such studies to include in their design specific methods for such notification.

Directs the Secretary to prescribe regulations necessary to carry out this Act.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1988 through 1990 to carry out this Act and provisions for grants and contracts for training and curriculum development in occupational medicine under the Public Health Service Act. Sets aside specified amounts for occupational medicine grants and contracts under the Public Health Service Act and for research, training, and education provisions under this Act.