Legislature(1995 - 1996)
05/01/1995 03:08 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 263: "An Act relating to certification of workers who handle hazardous waste; and providing for an effective date." SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD HB 263 - CERTIFICATION OF HAZARDOUS WASTE WORKERS Number 446 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated the next matter to come before the committee would be HB 263. Number 449 GEORGE DOZIER, LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT TO REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT, ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE, stated that the original bill amended Title 46 and granted the Department of Labor (DOL) the authority to promulgate regulations which would establish standards for hazardous waste worker certification. Authority is also granted to review and approve certification programs. The programs would not be operated by the DOL. Instead, they will be operated by employers, unions, colleges, and other organizations. The bill required workers to be certified before they undertake work at hazardous waste sites. The employers would propose certification programs to the department, which would review the programs and grant approval if appropriate. The employer would also have to certify that each worker was adequately trained to safely handle the waste. The bill establishes a civil penalty of $1,000 and two levels of criminal penalties at the class A and B misdemeanor levels. The CS, Version K, dated 4-27-95, makes changes proposed by the DOL. The most significant being that it removes the statute from Title 46 and places it in Title 18. The language in the original version concerning the handling of hazardous waste has been replaced with reference to working at hazardous waste sites. Section G expands the department's authority to promulgate regulations. The department is granted authorization to implement this section. The department has submitted a reduced fiscal note. Number 487 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said she didn't have a copy of the new CS or the new fiscal note. Number 492 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked the date of the fiscal note. MR. DOZIER responded the new fiscal note was dated 4-6-95; the old fiscal note is dated 3-28-95. Number 502 BEVERLY WARD, DIRECTOR, SOUTHEAST GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, ARCO ALASKA, INCORPORATED, stated that the changes made in the proposed CS were an improvement to the bill. The statutory references and the use of the phrase "hazardous waste site" are consistent with the intent. However, ARCO Alaska opposes HB 263. They believe it duplicates existing laws and regulations and will create more bureaucracy. MS. WARD described the hazardous waste operations and emergency response training requirements known as HAZWHOPPER. HAZWHOPPER is the name given to a Federal Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) regulation 29.CFR 19.10.120, and it was adopted by the state of Alaska, OSHA, Subchapter 10.01.01. The regulation was designed to protect employees involved in three aspects of hazardous chemical exposure. First, those cleaning hazardous waste sites, as defined in regulation; second, those handling wastes at a specially designed treatment storage and disposal facility; and third, those responding to chemical spills. HB 263 addresses those who are employed in cleaning hazardous waste sites. The general site workers involved in most operations at a hazardous waste cleanup site are presently required to have a 40 hour training class. The content of the class is specifically described in regulation. "The content of the class must include the names of personnel and all (indisc.) responsible for site safety and health; safety and other hazards present on site; use of personal protective equipment; work practices by which the employee can minimize risks from hazards; safe use of engineering controls and equipment on site; medical surveillance requirements including recognition of symptoms and signs which might indicate overexposure to hazards; contents of the site safety and health plan required by other sections of the regulation." MS. WARD continued that these workers were also required to have three days of actual field experience under the direct supervision of a trained experienced supervisor. Other workers who may only occasionally be on the site or who are located in areas away from the main hazardous work are required to have 24 hours of training similar to the training listed above. If they become general site workers, they have to obtain the extra 16 hours of training. The workers need eight hours of annual refresher training each year. The training group must provide a certificate to the employee acknowledging that the employee has completed the course. Number 539 MS. WARD stated that because of the 40 hour training already required under HAZWHOPPER, they believe the bill to be redundant. She based this assessment on the following considerations: The fact that employees already receive initial classroom training; the requirement of three days of supervised, on the job training; the required eight hours of refresher training and the fact that regulations specifically address what information must be presented; and the fact that employees already receive certificates. She said HB 263 will have an impact on the state. The fiscal note shows two additional employees. The training providers will have to pay for the course review, thus raising their training rates to defer costs. She noted that the department had been talking with them in the past few days to address some of ARCO's concerns and are willing to continue dialogue on specific language. She said if the bill is moved, they would continue to work with DOL and the next committee of referral. Number 553 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted the testimony Ms. Ward gave speaks to HAZWHOPPER which speaks to chemical exposure. He asked, "Is that narrower than what this bill would do?" MS. WARD responded no. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked, "@What about radioactivity, asbestos or (indisc)?" Number 558 MS. WARD replied that radioactive materials may have their own regulations because of the problems with the nuclear industry. She could not address that. HB 263 would include crude oil and things of that nature. She did not believe it was "narrower" in any sense. The HAZWHOPPER training can be narrowed. For example, if you had a spill and knew exactly what exposure employees would have, HAZWHOPPER training could be for those who hadn't had training already. It could be very specific and directed towards deficiencies. Number 568 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON surmised that HAZWHOPPER was not just chemical, it could apply to... MS. WARD interjected that it applied to a broad spectrum of hazardous substances. CHAIRMAN KOTT turned to the teleconference line. Number 575 BLAKE JOHNSON, LABORERS LOCAL 341, testified from Anchorage, via teleconference. He stated he would like to see HB 263 passed out of committee, and would also encourage continued work on it so the language would suit everyone. One of his concerns when working out in the field is if the person next to him was adequately trained. If a person carries certification from another state, how do we know that program was adequate. As this work becomes more prevalent, it might be easy to counterfeit certificates, because there is a cost for the training. The costs could run anywhere from $500 to $700. Someone might not hesitate to sell counterfeit cards for $100. This program would be similar to the asbestos certification program and, consequently, they would know they had trained people. There is going to be $50 million to $100 million worth of work per year in Alaska, at a minimum. He asked the committee to pass the bill out so that it could continue through the process. Laborers Local 341 would continue to look at anything that would help to "fine tune" the bill. Number 594 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there was anyone else wishing to testify on HB 263. Seeing none, he stated HB 263 was sponsored by the Labor and Commerce Committee. They had received a lot of written testimony in support of the bill, with little opposition. There were comments from both sides regarding a few small problems. His intent was to keep the bill in committee to work with DOL to find some solutions. They would hold the bill in committee.