Summary: S.385 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (10/28/1999)

Safety Advancement for Employees Act of 1999 - SAFE Act - Amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) to direct the Secretary of Labor to establish a third party consultation services program that certifies individuals to provide consultation services to help employers identify and correct safety and health hazards in the workplace.

(Sec. 3) Provides for: (1) a registry of certified consultants; (2) disciplinary actions against consultants for malfeasance; (3) scope and guidelines for such consultative services; and (4) access to records. Exempts from assessment of certain civil penalties for one year thereafter any employer who receives from a certified consultant a certificate of compliance, and: (1) who makes a good faith effort to remain in compliance with OSHA; or (2) the hazards of whose workplace do not undergo a fundamental change (for the worse). Allows an employer to receive a one-year renewal of such a certificate if a qualified consultant makes certain determinations in an onsite visit and survey.

(Sec. 4) Directs the Secretary to establish a special advisory committee, with expertise in workplace safety and health, to advise on the establishment and implementation of a third party consultation services program.

(Sec. 5) Requires certain Federal personnel responsible for enforcing OSHA to: (1) meet specified eligibility requirements; and (2) receive professional education and training at least every five years if they carry out inspections or investigations.

(Sec. 8) Revises inspection methods. Authorizes the Secretary's representative to contact an employer by telephone, facsimile, or other appropriate methods to determine whether: (1) the employer has taken corrective actions with respect to an alleged violation or danger; or (2) there are reasonable grounds to believe that a hazard exists. Provides that certain inspections are not required to be conducted if the Secretary determines that an inspection request was made for reasons other than employee safety and health or that the employees are not at risk.

(Sec. 7) Establishes the use of alternative safe methods as an affirmative defense for employers.

(Sec. 8) Directs the Secretary to enter into cooperative agreements with States for State consultation services to employers concerning the provision of safe and healthful working conditions.

Directs the Secretary to carry out a two-year pilot program in three States to provide small businesses, upon request, for a nominal fee, with expedited consultation services on safe and healthful working conditions. Requires the Secretary, before issuing a citation to an employer for a violation found during a consultation, to permit the employer to carry out corrective measures.

(Sec. 9) Directs the Secretary to establish: (1) cooperative agreements to encourage the establishment of comprehensive safety and health management systems with specified features; and (2) a voluntary protection program with specified features to encourage the achievement of excellence in both the technical and managerial protection of employees from occupational hazards.

(Sec. 10) Authorizes employers to establish alcohol and substance abuse testing programs in accordance with specified Federal guidelines.

(Sec. 11) Sets forth consultation alternatives to issuance of citations. Allows the Secretary's representative to provide discretionary compliance or technical assistance to an employer in correcting a violation discovered during an inspection or investigation, without issuing a citation. Authorizes the Secretary's representative to issue a warning in lieu of a citation for: (1) violations with no significant relationship to employee safety or health; and (2) employers who in good faith act promptly to abate violations that are not willful or repeated.