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NRCA Action Alert: Extremely Harmful OSHA Legislation Moving in Congress

July 26, 2010

On July 21, the House Education and Labor Committee approved H.R. 5663, the Robert C. Byrd Miner Safety and Health Act, which contains Occupational Safety and Health Administration provisions that are extremely harmful to roofing contractors. The bill was approved by the committee on a straight party-line vote of 30-17, and the full House may vote on the bill later this week. NRCA strongly opposes H.R. 5663 and urges members to contact their representatives in the House to register opposition to this legislation.

H.R. 5663 may be the worst legislation to come out of Washington, D.C., for roofing contractors in recent memory. The heavily punitive measures in this legislation will create onerous new burdens on employers without improving workplace safety. For example, H.R. 5663 provides for immediate abatement of alleged OSHA violations with a difficult process for obtaining a stay of abatement; employers must pay interest compounded daily while a citation is being contested; it dramatically increases civil and criminal penalties and makes "any officer or director" of a company subject to criminal prosecution; and expanded whistleblower provisions that will result in more litigation against employers. These excessive penalties, increased legal fees and other new requirements will drive up costs for employers without enhancing workplace safety.

NRCA has communicated opposition to this legislation to Congress on numerous occasions. Now, we need your help in letting Congress know of our concerns.

Contact your representative and urge him or her to oppose H.R. 5663 because:
  • Workplace safety can best be enhanced by an expansion of OSHA support programs for employers. Instead, this bill relies on the misguided belief that a massive expansion of penalties will lead to improved safety in the workplace.

  • It will expose employers to vague new standards of intent for criminal liability and will make "any officer or director" criminally liable for OSHA violations.

  • It will require immediate abatement of alleged OSHA violations and payment of interest compounded daily while a citation is being contested.

  • It contains no provisions to help employers improve workplace safety but will instead result in new litigation and increased compliance costs for employers.
If you have questions or need more information, please contact Duane Musser, NRCA's vice president of government relations, at (202) 546-7584 or dmusser@nrca.net. More information also is available from the Coalition for Workplace Safety, which consists of NRCA and other business associations concerned about workplace safety issues. The coalition's website is http://workingforsafety.com/.

NRCA also urges members to forward this Action Alert to other colleagues and friends, both within the roofing industry and other businesses, and urge them to join you in contacting your House representative in opposition to this legislation. If enough people make their concerns known, collectively we can defeat this harmful legislation.





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