Legislature(1995 - 1996)

05/01/1995 03:08 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                                    
 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                                                                    
 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                
 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.                  

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