AB 1127 or the “Tosco Bill”

AB 1127 or the “Tosco Bill”

In California, in 1999, passage of the landmark legislation AB 1127 (Steinberg) culminated 16 years of efforts to give stronger prosecutorial power to district attorneys to address serious and willful violations of Cal/OSHA regulations which result in worker injuries and deaths. AB 1127 is sometimes referred to as the “Tosco Bill” after two fatal Tosco refinery explosions that killed four workers and galvanized public opinion.

The bill expanded and strengthened Cal/OSHA protections; increased civil and criminal penalties for willful, serious, and repeat violations of occupational safety and health standards; and perhaps most significantly, provided that willful violation of such standards leading to death or permanent or prolonged injury of an employee may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Cry Wolf Quotes

AB 1127 … would place a powerful hammer in the hands of over-zealous prosecutors to intimidate businesses into pleading to lesser Labor Code violations when threatened with Penal Code prosecution.

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Associated Builders & Contractors Memo to Members of the Public Safety Committee.

...this is a very dangerous measure that will seriously affect virtually every employer in the state. The only outcome form this measure’s approval would be the closing of many businesses which, in-turn, would throw thousands of employees out of their jobs.

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Philip M. Vermeulen on behalf of the Engineering Contractors’ Association, the California Fence Contractors Association, the Sacramento Builders’ Exchange, the Marin Builders’ Exchange and the California Chapter of the American Fence Contractors’ Association.

[According to Chamber of Commerce] the regulations create a new ‘unclassified’ workplace violation, giving the state agency the ability ‘to strong-arm employers for higher penalties.’

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The California Chamber of Commerce.

… the construction industry is involved in Voluntary Protection Programs with their employees to help encourage safety precautions and identify possible dangers before an injury occurs. AB 1127 does nothing to encourage this type of cooperation between employers and employees to promote worksite safety.

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Associated General Contractors of San Diego letter to Public Safety Committee.