Summary: H.R.4597 — 103rd Congress (1993-1994)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.4597. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (06/17/1994)

Occupational Safety and Health Reform Act - Amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) to set forth separate requirements for OSHA coverage of employing authorities and instrumentalities of the Congress.

(Sec. 3) Requires the following criteria in development of OSHA standards: (1) significant risk; (2) feasibility; (3) reasonable cost-benefit relationship; (4) cost-effective and minimal job loss; and (5) where practicable, expressed in objective criteria and desired performance. Revises standard priorities based on toxicity and numbers exposed. Revises rulemaking procedures. Requires a regulatory flexibility analysis for each standard promulgated.

(Sec. 4) Requires an annual report on the number and nature of complaints to which the Secretary does not respond under OSHA because another Federal or State agency has jurisdiction, with recommendations on achieving coordination.

Provides that employee safety and health participation committees are not prohibited under the National Labor Relations Act or the Railway Labor Act. Provides a nondisclosure privilege for voluntary safety and health audits and reviews.

(Sec. 5) Deems a variance to have been issued as of the date of the application filing, if the Secretary fails to act on the application within 180 days of the filing, unless such delay is caused by the applicant's action or inaction.

(Sec. 6) Revises inspection provisions. Requires inspections to be conducted by at least one individual trained in and knowledgeable of the industry or the types of hazards.

Provides for fire hazard inspection training and referral.

Prohibits routine inspections of employers of ten or fewer employees if such employers are: (1) farming operations which do not maintain a temporary labor camp; or (2) in a category of employers having an occupational injury or a lost day rate which is less than the national average. Grants the Secretary discretion in determining which employer complaints must receive formal inspection responses.

(Sec. 7) Directs the Secretary to establish an office to promote, administer, and coordinate programs and activities for worksite-based incentives for voluntary compliance with OSHA.

Directs the Secretary to establish a voluntary compliance program granting partial exemption from OSHA general inspections for employers who either retain certain consultation or certification programs or have an exemplary safety record and a safety and health program meeting specified criteria.

Provides for reduction or suspension of penalties for program participants under certain conditions.

Directs the Secretary to establish a program for certification of safety and health consultants to conduct inspections under such program.

Directs the Secretary to award special recognition to worksites, companies, and other organizations which have implemented particularly effective approaches to occupational safety and health, including those providing for effective employee involvement.

Authorizes consultative services to employers under Federal-State cooperative agreements.

Directs the Secretary to establish programs for education, training, and technical assistance for employers and employees to assist in providing safe and healthful workplaces and OSHA compliance.

Requires that at least one-fourth of the annual appropriation to carry out OSHA be expended for such worksite-based incentives for voluntary compliance.

(Sec. 8) Adds employer defenses of employee misconduct or alternative safer methods.

(Sec. 9) Extends the period for employer contests of citations by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Requires deference to be given the Commission's reasonable conclusions with respect to questions of law.

(Sec. 10) Revises procedures for discrimination protection for whistle-blowers under OSHA, including extending the time for filing complaints, and providing for reviews, appeals, and mediation.

(Sec. 11) Revises enforcement, including special conditions and practices, a mandatory special emphasis program, and investigations of deaths and serious incidents.

(Sec. 12) Revises penalties in general, and with respect to special assessments, citations, knowing violations, and victims' rights.

(Sec. 13) Requires States to make their applicable labeling, content, and hazard information requirements identical to OSHA standards. Authorizes waivers to State safety and health programs.

(Sec. 14) Repeals authority for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), thus abolishing it. Transfers to the Secretary of Labor functions and authorities of NIOSH and of the Secretary of Health and Human Services under OSHA.

(Sec. 15) Authorizes employers to establish alcohol and substance abuse testing programs where there is a reasonable probability that any employee's safety or health could be endangered because of use of alcohol or a controlled substance in the workplace. Directs the Secretary to establish standards for such programs.

(Sec. 16) Directs the Secretary to contract with a qualified organization or agency to conduct studies of the effects and costs of OSHA standards. Authorizes appropriations.