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

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.

-
Roofing Contractors Association of California letter to Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg.

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.

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

[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.’

-
The California Chamber of Commerce.

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.

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