BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                          AB 1655
                                                          Page  1

CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
AB 1655 (Hertzberg)
As Amended July 12, 1999
Majority vote
  
ASSEMBLY: 73-4 (May 24, 1999)   SENATE: 22-17                    
(August 24, 1999)                       
   
  Original Committee Reference:    L. & E.  

  SUMMARY  :   Repeals the sunset of assessments to fund the  
Cal/OSHA Targeted Inspection and Consultation Program (TICP).   
Requires the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board  
(Board) to report to the Legislature not later than April 1,  
2000, on the nature and extent of investigations conducted by  
the Board pursuant to the procedure established in the Labor  
Code for granting a variance from a safety or health standard. 

  The Senate amendments  delete the sunset on assessments from  
employers with elevated workers compensation claims, as  
specified, to fund TICP.
  
EXISTING LAW  :

1)Provides for a TICP in the Division of Occupational Safety and  
  Health (Division).  The Division is required to identify the  
  employers with the highest incidence of preventable injuries  
  and illness and workers' compensation losses.  The Division is  
  authorized to identify these employers using workers'  
  compensation and illness and injury data.  The program is  
  designed to provide inspection and consultation services to  
  the highest hazard employers in the most hazardous industries  
  on a priority basis.  

2)Authorizes the funding of TICP through an assessment on  
  employers with an experience modification (x-mod) of 1.25 or  
  greater and on private self-insured employers with an  
  "equivalent" x-mod.   The authority to levy such assessments  
  sunsets on January 1, 2000.

3)Authorizes employers to apply to the Board for a permanent  
  variance from an occupational safety and health standard,  
  order, or special order upon a showing of an alternate  
  program, method, practice, means device, or process that will  
  provide equal or superior safety to employees.








                                                          AB 1655
                                                          Page  2


4)Provides for the Board to issue such variance if it determines  
  on the record, after opportunity for an investigation where  
  appropriate and a hearing that the proponent of the variance  
  has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the  
  specified standard is met.  

  AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill required the Board to  
report to the Legislature not later than April 1, 2000, on the  
nature and extent of investigations conducted by the Board  
pursuant to the procedure established in the Labor Code for  
granting a variance from a safety or health standard. 

  FISCAL EFFECT  :  TICP collects an estimated $7 million in  
assessment revenues annually.  If the assessment authority  
sunsets, this revenue and matching federal funds will be  
unavailable for TICP.  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
Committee analysis, the Department of Industrial Relations would  
incur minor, absorbable costs to prepare the required report.

  COMMENTS  :  The proponents state that the targeted inspection  
program is important in preventing workplace injuries and  
illnesses because its focuses on the highest hazard employers in  
the most hazardous industries.  Some employers have argued that  
this program should be funded through general funds, rather than  
assessments.

The Board in recent years has granted numerous variance  
applications and denied very few.  This bill requires a report  
concerning the investigations conducted by the Board during the  
variance process.
  

Analysis Prepared by  :    Ralph Lightstone / L. & E. / (916)  
319-2091 


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