Summary: S.1237 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (01/27/1998)

Safety Advancement for Employees Act of 1997 - SAFE Act - Amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) to authorize employers to establish employer and employee safety and health participation committees. States that such committees shall not constitute labor organizations for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act or the Railway Labor Act.

(Sec. 4) Directs the Secretary of Labor to establish a special advisory committee, with expertise in workplace safety and health, to advise on the establishment and implementation of a third party consultation services program.

(Sec. 5) Directs the Secretary to establish a third party consultation services program that certifies individuals to provide consultation services to help employers identify and correct safety and health hazards in the workplace. Provides for: (1) a registry of certified consultants; (2) disciplinary actions against consultants for malfeasance; (3) scope and guidelines for such consultative services; and (4) access to records. Exempts from assessment of certain civil penalties for two years thereafter any employer who receives from a certified consultant a declaration of resolution, indicating its correction of any OSHA violations, and: (1) who makes a good faith effort to remain in compliance with OSHA; or (2) the hazards of whose workplace do not undergo a fundamental change (for the worse).

(Sec. 6) Directs the Secretary, before issuing a final OSHA standard, to submit for review the draft final standard and a copy of the administrative record to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Directs NAS to appoint an independent Scientific Review Committee (SRC) to review the draft final standard and the scientific literature, and make written recommendations to the Secretary.

(Sec. 7) Requires certain Federal personnel responsible for enforcing OSHA to: (1) meet specified eligibility requirements; and (2) receive professional education and training at least every five years if they carry out inspections or investigations.

(Sec. 8) Revises inspection procedures.

Prohibits the Secretary from establishing any quotas for subordinates within the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with respect to number of inspections conducted, citations issued, or penalties collected.

(Sec. 9) Establishes the use of alternative safe methods as an affirmative defense for employers.

Establishes a civil penalty for employee violations of specified OSHA requirements.

(Sec. 10) Reduces the types of violations of posting or paperwork requirements for which an employer may be assessed a civil penalty.

(Sec. 11) Revises factors which the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission is required to consider in assessing civil penalties.

(Sec. 12) Directs the Secretary to enter into cooperative agreements with States for State consultation services to employers concerning the provision of safe and healthful working conditions.

Directs the Secretary to carry out a two-year pilot program in three States to provide small businesses, upon request, for a nominal fee, with expedited consultation services on safe and healthful working conditions. Requires the Secretary, before issuing a citation to an employer for a violation found during a consultation, to permit the employer to carry out corrective measures.

(Sec. 13) Directs the Secretary to establish: (1) cooperative agreements to encourage the establishment of comprehensive safety and health management systems with specified features; and (2) a voluntary protection program with specified features to encourage the achievement of excellence in both the technical and managerial protection of employees from occupational hazards.

(Sec. 14) Authorizes employers to establish alcohol and substance abuse testing programs in accordance with specified Federal guidelines.

(Sec. 15) Sets forth consultation alternatives to issuance of citations.