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 bill would have a severe economic impact on local, family businesses like the beer wholesalers by exposing them to increased liability and the potential for costly litigation claims.

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California Beer and Beverage Distributors

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.

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.