Safety in the News! HB 2485 and GAO 13-320. -

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Safety in the News! HB 2485 and GAO 13-320.

There's been an increased focus on occupational health and safety in the news lately. I've included links to some interesting articles below.

The first article is from the Tucson Sentinel - it reviews the results of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report (GAO 13-320, "WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH: OSHA Can Better Respond to State-Run Programs Facing Challenges").  The GAO report argues that "States (like Arizona) have difficulty filling vacant inspector positions, obtaining training for inspectors, and retaining qualified inspectors. Recruiting inspectors is difficult due to the shortage of qualified candidates, relatively low state salaries, and hiring freezes." The GAO report goes on to state that Arizona has some of the least-experienced safety inspectors in the nation; 55% of current safety inspectors have less than 5 years' experience, according to the data gathered for the GAO report. The article quotes Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) acting director of consultation services, Jessie Atencio, as questioning the accuracy of the data gathered for Arizona.

The second article is from the Verde Independent - it discusses new legislation recently passed by the House allowing businesses a level of secrecy for internal health and safety program reviews/audits. This legislation (HB 2485) states that audits consist of the following:

"12-2322.  Audit report; contents
A.  Except for an item described in section 12-2326, an audit report shall include each document and communication that is created for an audit to evaluate compliance with a health or safety law or an industry standard of excellence with respect to safety, reliability or training.
B.  An audit report may include the following:
1.  A report prepared by an auditor, consultant, monitor or other Similar person, which may include:
(a)  A description of the scope of the audit.
(b)  The information gained in the audit and findings, conclusions and recommendations.
(c)  Exhibits and appendices.
2.  Memoranda and documents that analyze all or a portion of the materials described by subsection c, paragraph 1 of this section or that discuss implementation issues.
3.  An implementation plan or tracking system to correct past Noncompliance, improve current compliance or prevent future noncompliance.
4.  An evaluation, assessment or accreditation of an organization's facilities, operations or training programs relative to that industry's standards of excellence in safety, reliability or training.
C.  The types of exhibits and appendices that may be contained in an Audit report include supporting information that is collected or developed for the primary purpose of and gathered in the course of a health or safety audit, including:
1.  Interviews with current or former employees.
2.  Field notes and records of observations.
3.  Findings, opinions, suggestions, conclusions, guidance, notes, Drafts and memoranda.
4.  Legal analyses.
5.  Drawings.
6.  Photographs.
7.  Laboratory analyses and other analytical data.
8.  Computer generated or electronically recorded information.
9.  Maps, charts, graphs and surveys.
10.  Other communications associated with a health or safety audit."

The Sierra Club opposes this bill. The Arizona House Democrats also oppose this bill, with representatives stating that it "threatens the health and safety of all Arizonans."

The Industrious Hygienist will be researching and tracking HB 2485, and will keep you updated. It's been sent to Governor Brewer for approval or veto.

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