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
This bill would have a negative impact on California’s economy by creating an overly rigid regulatory structure that would discourage new businesses from locating here and existing businesses from expanding, therefore, slowing the economy.
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.
It is our belief that while AB 1127 will not guarantee the prevention of even one injury, it has the potential to cost our members hundreds of thousands of dollars in new programs based on unsound science and face potential increases in workers’ compensation costs.
Under this measure, accidents will have devastating effects on employers. Encouraging lawsuits is good for attorneys, bad for business, and ultimately, bad for employees.