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

Additionally, in a construction setting, where the type of work is inherently more dangerous than an office setting, it will be difficult to hire managers and supervisors for fear that they would be held criminally liable for accidents.

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Construction Employers Association memo to Assembly Public Safety Committe.

For the last few years, Cal/OSHA has attempted to create a partnership with employers to create safe workplaces for all employees. This partnership has been focused on working together to solve problems rather than merely serve as an enforcement driven agency. The agency’s consultation service is evidence of the efforts. AB 1127 would, with the stroke of a pen, erase years of hard work and co-operation between business and the agency by focusing on the prescription of regulations rather than the creation of workable answers to true workplace safety issues.

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Terry L. Tyson, Regional Director of Safety, Hansen Aggregates, letter to Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Serves to drive independent contractors out of business and inhibit the ability of small business to survive by making the business liable for actions of a contractor. Small business and contractors who become small businesses are taking up the slack from corporate downsizing and contribute greatly to the prosperity of the state.

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Letter from Ronald D. Long, Director of Human Resources, M.C. Gill Corporation.

...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.