There is one summary for this bill. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (08/06/1993)

Occupational Safety and Health Reform Act - Amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) to include coverage of Federal, State, and local public employees. Exempts public agencies which primarily rely upon volunteers to operate or provide services to the public.

(Sec. 2) Directs the Secretary of Labor to study and report on the potential costs of extending OSHA to public agencies, with a separate estimate for extending OSHA to public agencies which primarily rely upon volunteers.

Sets forth separate requirements for OSHA coverage of the House of Representatives 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 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) Prohibits citation for violation of a standard for which the employer has a variance pending for at least 90 days.

(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 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.

(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, investigations of deaths and serious incidents, and enforcement against State and local governments.

(Sec. 12) Revises penalties in general, and with respect to special assessments, citations, knowing violations, and victim's 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) Establishes small business assistance and training programs, including: (1) model injury prevention programs completion of which qualifies employers for certain exemptions and reductions in penalties; (2) technical assistance and consultative services for employers and employees, targeted at small businesses and the most hazardous industries; and (3) certain consultative services to employers provided under cooperative agreements between the States and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

(Sec. 17) Directs the Secretary to periodically make an award to companies and other organizations which have exemplary safety and health programs.

(Sec. 18) Directs the Secretary to conduct a continuing economic impact analysis of each OSHA standard, and report biennially to the Congress.