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

We are also concerned by the provision that would prohibit a citation from being stayed pending an appeal. This provision would require that alleged violations be corrected before they are proven to exist, making an employer guilty until proven innocent.

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Denise Jones, Executive Director, California Mining Association.

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.

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.

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Western Growers Association, Memo to Assembly Public Safety Committee.

AB 1127 would unfairly hold an employer liable for violations of independent contractors over whom they had no control. This is not only unfair, it makes no sense. And, as a result, AB 1127 will discourage employers from hiring independent contractors, who are often small and minority-owned businesses.

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California Chamber of Commerce President, Editorial, Sacramento Business Journal.