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ABC Urges Quick Congressional Approval of OSHA Reform Bills

Associated Builders and Contractors praised U.S. Representative Charles Norwood, R-Ga., on Feb. 11 for introducing four bills that will improve workplace safety and reduce regulatory burdens on the small businesses that make up the majority of America’s construction industry.



“While ABC supports the vital work done by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and continually strives to improve construction job site safety, we also believe that the reforms contained in the four measures introduced Feb. 10 by Rep. Norwood are necessary to ensure that OSHA carries out its duties in a fair, efficient and responsible manner,” said Kirk Pickerel, ABC president and CEO. “We thank Rep. Norwood for introducing these important OSHA reforms and call on both the House and Senate to quickly pass this legislation to provide needed relief to small businesses nationwide.”



The four bills introduced by Norwood were these:



(H.R. 739) The Occupational Safety and Health Small Business Day in Court Act.
This provides the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) with flexibility to use its discretion to extend the 15-day deadline for employers to file responses to OSHA citations to resolve cases on merit rather than legal technicalities.


(H.R. 740) The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission Efficiency Act.
This increases the size of the OSHRC from three to five members to increase the speed and efficiency with which workplace safety and health cases are reviewed and resolved.



(H.R. 741) The Occupational Safety and Health Independent Review of OSHA Citations Act.
This restores checks and balances by ensuring that the OSHRC, and not OSHA itself, interprets the law and provides an independent review of OSHA citations.



(H.R. 742) The Occupational Safety and Health Small Employer Access to Justice Act.
This requires that OSHA more fully assess the merits of a case before bringing unnecessary enforcement actions against small businesses.



During the 108th Congress, Rep. Norwood joined House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio) in the introduction of four identical OSHA reform bills. The measures passed the House with strong bipartisan support but were subsequently blocked by the Senate.



“ABC is optimistic that these four critical OSHA reform measures will enjoy greater success in the 109th Congress,” Pickerel said. “With Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) heading the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) chairing the Senate Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee, we are confident that the Senate will act quickly to approve this important legislation.”

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