>Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chairman Charlie Norwood (R-Georgia), sponsor of the four measures, said the OSHA reform bills represent “critical steps toward delivering unprecedented safety for workers” and go a long way toward “leveling the playing field for small businesses by giving them new tools to fight unjust OSHA citations, enhancing their competitiveness in our economy, and refueling our nation’s small business jobs-creation engine.”
>According to a release from the House Education & the Workforce Committee, the four bills are designed to remove the arbitrary and unintentional “legal traps” in current OSHA law that hamstring better trust and voluntary cooperation between the agency and employers. The bills include:
- The Occupational Safety and Health Small Business Day in Court Act (H.R. 2728) – which gives the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) additional flexibility to make exceptions to the arbitrary 15-day deadline for employers to file responses to OSHA citations when a small business misses the deadline by mistake or for good reason, ensuring appropriate disputes will be resolved based on merit rather than legal technicalities. The House passed the bill by a vote of 251-177, with 27 Democrats supporting the bill.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission Efficiency Act (H.R. 2729) – which ensures workplace safety and health cases are reviewed in a more timely fashion by increasing the membership of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) from three to five members, improving the current system of a judicial inertia that only results in government waste. The House passed the bill by a vote of 228-199, with just six Democrats voting for the measure.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Independent Review of OSHA Citations Act (H.R. 2730) – that, according to the release, restores the original system of checks and balances intended by Congress when it enacted the OSHA law and ensures the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, and not OSHA, would be the party who interprets the law and provides an independent review of OSHA citations. The House passed the bill by a vote of 224-204, with nine Democrats supporting the bill.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Small Employer Access to Justice Act (H.R. 2731) – encourages OSHA to better assess the merits of a case before it brings unnecessary enforcement actions to court against small businesses. The House passed the bill by a vote of 233-194, with 16 Democrats voting for the measure.