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H.R.571 - Ensuring Worker Safety Act
To require a heightened review process by the Secretary of Labor of State occupational safety and health plans, and for other purposes.
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Ms. HIRONO (for herself, Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California, Mr. KILDEE, Mr. PAYNE, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. GRIJALVA, and Mr. COURTNEY) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the WorkforceCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. REVIEW OF STATE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH PLANS.
‘(f)(1) The Secretary shall, on the basis of reports submitted by the State agency and the Secretary’s own inspections, make a continuing evaluation of the manner in which each State that has a plan approved under this section is carrying out such plan. Such evaluation shall include an assessment of whether the State continues to meet the requirements of subsection (c) of this section and any other criteria or indices of effectiveness specified by the Secretary in regulations. Whenever the Secretary finds, on the basis of such evaluation, that in the administration of the State plan there is a failure to comply substantially with any provision of the State plan (or any assurance contained therein), the Secretary shall make an initial determination of whether the failure is of such a nature that the plan should be withdrawn or whether the failure is of such a nature that the State should be given the opportunity to remedy the deficiencies, and provide notice of the Secretary’s findings and initial determination.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(2) If the Secretary makes an initial determination to reassert and exercise concurrent enforcement authority while the State is given an opportunity to remedy the deficiencies, the Secretary shall afford the State an opportunity for a public hearing within 15 days of such request, provided that such request is made not later than 10 days after Secretary’s notice to the State. The Secretary shall review and consider the testimony, evidence, or written comments, and not later than 30 days following such hearing, make a determination to affirm, reverse, or modify the Secretary’s initial determination to reassert and exercise concurrent enforcement authority under sections 8, 9, 10, 13, and 17 with respect to standards promulgated under section 6 and obligations under section 5(a). Following such a determination by the Secretary, or in the event that the State does not request a hearing within the time frame set forth in this paragraph, the Secretary may reassert and exercise such concurrent enforcement authority, while a final determination is pending under paragraph (3) or until the Secretary has determined that the State has remedied the deficiencies as provided under paragraph (4). Such determination shall be published in the Federal Register. The procedures set forth in section 18(g) shall not apply to a determination by the Secretary to reassert and exercise such concurrent enforcement authority.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(3) If the Secretary makes an initial determination that the plan should be withdrawn, the Secretary shall provide due notice and the opportunity for a hearing. If based on the evaluation, comments, and evidence, the Secretary makes a final determination that there is a failure to comply substantially with any provision of the State plan (or any assurance contained therein), he shall notify the State agency of the withdrawal of approval of such plan and upon receipt of such notice such plan shall cease to be in effect, but the State may retain jurisdiction in any case commenced before the withdrawal of the plan in order to enforce standards under the plan whenever the issues involved do not relate to the reasons for the withdrawal of the plan.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(4) If the Secretary makes a determination that the State should be provided the opportunity to remedy the deficiencies, the Secretary shall provide the State an opportunity to respond to the Secretary’s findings and the opportunity to remedy such deficiencies within a time period established by the Secretary, not to exceed 1 year. The Secretary may extend and revise the time period to remedy such deficiencies, if the State’s legislature is not in session during this 1-year time period, or if the State demonstrates that it is not feasible to correct the deficiencies in the time period set by the Secretary, and the State has a plan to correct the deficiencies within a reasonable time period. If the Secretary finds that the State agency has failed to remedy such deficiencies within the time period specified by the Secretary and that the State plan continues to fail to comply substantially with a provision of the State plan, the Secretary shall withdraw the State plan as provided for in paragraph (3).’; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(i) Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this subsection, and every 5 years thereafter, the Comptroller General shall complete and issue a review of the effectiveness of State plans to develop and enforce safety and health standards to determine if they are at least as effective as the Federal program and to evaluate whether the Secretary’s oversight of State plans is effective. The Comptroller General’s evaluation shall assess--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(2) whether the Secretary’s investigations in response to Complaints About State Plan Administration (CASPA) are adequate, whether significant policy issues have been identified by headquarters and corrective actions are fully implemented by each State;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(4) whether State plans are as effective as the Federal program in preventing occupational injuries, illnesses and deaths, and investigating discrimination complaints, through an evaluation of at least 20 percent of approved State plans, and which shall cover--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(A) enforcement effectiveness, including handling of fatalities, serious incidents and complaints, compliance with inspection procedures, hazard recognition, verification of abatement, violation classification, citation and penalty issuance, including appropriate use of willful and repeat citations, and employee involvement;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(B) inspections, the number of programmed health and safety inspections at private and public sector establishments, and whether the State targets the highest hazard private sector work sites and facilities in that State;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(C) budget and staffing, including whether the State is providing adequate budget resources to hire, train and retain sufficient numbers of qualified staff, including timely filling of vacancies;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(D) administrative review, including the quality of decisions, consistency with Federal precedence, transparency of proceedings, decisions and records are available to the public, adequacy of State defense, and whether the State appropriately appeals adverse decisions;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(E) antidiscrimination, including whether discrimination complaints are processed in a timely manner, whether supervisors and investigators are properly trained to investigate discrimination complaints, whether a case file review indicates merit cases are properly identified consistent with Federal policy and procedure, whether employees are notified of their rights, and whether there is an effective process for employees to appeal the dismissal of a complaint;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(F) program administration, including whether the State’s standards and policies are at least as effective as the Federal program and are updated in a timely manner, and whether National Emphasis Programs that are applicable in such States are adopted and implemented in a manner that is at least as effective as the Federal program;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(H) other such factors identified by the Comptroller General, or as requested by the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives or the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate.’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink