Regarding the Elimination of Highly Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace

Last updated: Mar 3, 2019

Details about this bill
Category: Environmental
Status: In Committee
Sponsor: Senator Everett Brownie Carson, Senate 24 - Cumberland County
Session: 129
Bill #: LD 1017

Position:

Monitoring.

Summary:

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to create statutory and regulatory requirements that are designed to prevent harm to employees by substituting for or eliminating highly toxic and hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The bill would:

1. Apply to industries, including, but not limited to, manufacturing, retail and service; automotive; auto body repair; shipbuilding; paper manufacturing; manufacturing of apparel or apparel components; medical equipment; construction; personal care product or feminine product manufacturing; coatings; textiles; lumber; plastics; technology services; and cleaning and janitorial services. The bill would not apply to agricultural employers in the State;

2. Define "highly toxic and hazardous chemical" as a chemical that, based on credible scientific evidence, has a significant potential for harm to human health;

3. Define "priority highly toxic and hazardous chemical" to include a chemical for which there is credible scientific evidence that the chemical is a carcinogen, a mutagen, a reproductive toxin, a developmental toxin, an endocrine disruptor or a neurotoxin;

4. Define "safer alternative" as an alternative that, when compared to a highly toxic and hazardous chemical that it could replace, would reduce the potential for harm to human health or that has not been shown to pose the same or greater potential harm to human health as the highly toxic and hazardous chemical;

5. Require employers in the State to identify and evaluate highly toxic and hazardous chemicals and, if feasible, eliminate those highly toxic and hazardous chemicals or substitute safer alternatives. Specifically, it would require employers to:

A. Identify and evaluate highly toxic and hazardous chemicals and eliminate the highly toxic and hazardous chemicals or substitute safer alternatives if feasible;
B. Implement a plan for the elimination and substitution of highly toxic and hazardous chemicals in the workplace;
C. Consult publicly accessible website lists and online databases that identify highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
D. Consult safety data sheets required by the federal Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration to identify highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
E. Consult chemical suppliers and manufacturers to identify highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
F. Consult publicly accessible websites and databases that identify safer alternatives that may be substituted for highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
G. Contact chemical suppliers and manufacturers for possible safer alternatives;
H. Identify steps necessary to be followed for the elimination or substitution of a highly toxic and hazardous chemical;
I. Decide, with justification, whether substituting a highly toxic and hazardous chemical is feasible for business operations;
J. In transitioning from a highly toxic and hazardous chemical to a safer alternative, use a transition team composed of employees and management;
K. Together with the transition team, develop a priority ranking for all highly toxic and hazardous chemicals identified for transition to safer alternatives; and
L. Conduct an alternatives analysis of the anticipated difficulty of transitioning to a safer alternative and a financial analysis of costs;

 

6. Require the Commissioner of Labor to adopt rules and provide guidelines to assist employers in how to identify and evaluate highly toxic and hazardous chemicals and how to determine if safer alternatives exist. Specifically, it would require the commissioner to adopt rules:

A. To define terms, including "affected employee," "alternative chemical," "alternative chemical work plan" and "chemical";
B. To develop procedures to assist employers in implementing a program for the substitution of highly toxic and hazardous chemicals in the workplace; and
C. Governing the implementation of safer alternatives; discontinuation of safer alternatives, justification and reporting; self-audits by employers; reporting requirements; records retention requirements; access to information, including employee access and access by the State; and provision of annual employee training and informational materials; and

 

7. Require the Commissioner of Labor to:

A. Identify publicly accessible website lists of online databases that identify highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
B. Make employers aware that safety data sheets required by the federal Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration are a source for identifying highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
C. Identify publicly accessible websites that identify safer alternatives that may be substituted for highly toxic and hazardous chemicals currently employed in industry and business operations;
D. Identify steps required for the elimination or substitution of a highly toxic and hazardous chemical, including the criteria for justification of whether eliminating or substituting for a highly toxic and hazardous chemical is feasible for employers' business operations; and
E. Enforce the provisions of the law.