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PRINTER'S NO. 469
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
464
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY TARTAGLIONE, FONTANA, FARNESE, COSTA, HUGHES AND
BREWSTER, MARCH 21, 2019
REFERRED TO LABOR AND INDUSTRY, MARCH 21, 2019
AN ACT
Providing for workplace health and safety standards for public
employees and for powers and duties of the Secretary of Labor
and Industry; establishing the Pennsylvania Occupational
Safety and Health Review Board; providing for workplace
inspections; and imposing penalties.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 1. Short title.
Section 2. Legislative intent.
Section 3. Definitions.
Section 4. Application.
Section 5. Employer duties.
Section 6. Regulations.
Section 7. Standards.
Section 8. Variances.
Section 9. Pennsylvania Occupational Safety and Health Review
Board.
Section 10. Appeal from review board.
Section 11. Inspection and investigation powers.
Section 12. Inspection and investigation of violations.
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Section 13. Recordkeeping.
Section 14. Compliance orders.
Section 15. Enforcement procedures.
Section 16. Injunction proceedings.
Section 17. Penalties.
Section 18. Discrimination against employees.
Section 19. Research and demonstration projects.
Section 20. Education programs.
Section 21. Reports to United States Secretary of Labor.
Section 22. Confidentiality of information maintained.
Section 23. Effective date.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Public
Employees Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Section 2. Legislative intent.
The General Assembly hereby declares as follows:
(1) It is a basic right of all employees to work in an
environment that is free from hazards and risks to their
safety. It is the intent of the General Assembly to ensure
that this right is also afforded to employees of the
Commonwealth, its counties, cities, towns, boroughs and other
public employers who serve the people of this Commonwealth.
(2) A significant percentage of employees in this
Commonwealth are employed by the Commonwealth or by one of
its political subdivisions. Many of these public employees
perform job functions comparable to those performed by
workers in the private sector who are protected by the
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The General
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Assembly, therefore, finds it inappropriate to continue two
standards for employee safety, one applicable to those who
work in the private sector and one for those who are employed
by a public employer.
(3) The General Assembly has further determined that a
safe place in which to work is economically advantageous to
employers. Work-related accidents and injuries and the
absences caused thereby decrease employee productivity and
increase workers' compensation costs. In addition, unsafe
premises increase the risk of financial liability for
injuries to members of the public who frequent public
buildings.
(4) The General Assembly, in an exercise of the
Commonwealth's police power, charges the secretary with the
responsibility to ensure that all public employees are
afforded the same safeguards in their workplace as are
granted to employees in the private sector.
Section 3. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Authorized employee representative." An employee authorized
by employees or the designated representative of an employee
organization recognized or certified to represent the employees.
"Employee." An individual employed by a public employer.
"Employee organization." An organization of any kind, or an
agency or employee representation committee or plan in which
membership includes public employees, and which exists for the
purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers
concerning grievances, employee-employer disputes, wages, rates
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of pay, hours of employment or conditions of work. The term does
not include an organization that practices discrimination in
membership because of race, color, creed, national origin or
political affiliation.
"Employer." The Commonwealth, any of its political
subdivisions, including a school district, and any office,
board, commission, agency, authority, local transportation
organization or other instrumentality or nonprofit organization
or institution or a charitable, religious, scientific, literary,
recreational, health, educational or welfare institution
receiving grants or appropriations from Federal, State or local
government. The term does not include an employer covered or
presently subject to coverage under the Occupational Safety and
Health Act of 1970.
"Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970" or "OSHA." The
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-596,
29 U.S.C. ยง 651 et seq.).
"Occupational safety and health standard." A standard which
requires conditions, or the adoption or use of one or more
practices, means, methods, operations or processes, reasonably
necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment
in places of employment.
"Person." An individual, partnership, association,
corporation, business trust, legal representative or an
organized group of individuals, partnerships, associations,
corporations, business trusts or legal representatives.
"Review board." The Pennsylvania Occupational Safety and
Health Review Board established under section 9.
"Secretary." The Secretary of Labor and Industry of the
Commonwealth or a designated agent.
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Section 4. Application.
(a) General rule.--Each occupational safety or health
standard promulgated under this act shall apply to all public
employers and public employees, and the secretary shall have
authority to enforce the standards in accordance with this act.
(b) Statutory and common law rights preserved.--Nothing in
this act shall be construed to supersede or in any manner affect
any workers' compensation law or to enlarge, diminish or affect
in any manner common law or statutory rights, duties or
liabilities of employers or employees under any law with respect
to injuries, diseases or death of employees arising out of and
in the course of employment.
(c) Employees not covered by Federal standard.--
Notwithstanding any other provision in this act, an occupational
safety or health standard promulgated under this act shall apply
only to employees not covered by a Federal occupational safety
or health standard promulgated under section 6 of the
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 or amendments
thereto.
Section 5. Employer duties.
(a) General rule.--An employer shall furnish to each
employee:
(1) Employment.
(2) A place of employment:
(i) Free from recognized hazards that are causing or
are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.
(ii) Which will provide reasonable and adequate
protection to the lives, safety or health of the
employees.
(b) Compliance with act.--An employer shall comply with the
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occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this
act.
(c) Written statement of substances.--An employer shall,
upon the written request of an employee, furnish the employee
with a written statement listing the substances the employee
uses or with which the employee comes into contact that have
been identified as toxic or hazardous by occupational safety and
health standards under 29 CFR Pt. 1910 Subpt. H (relating to
hazardous materials) or under the act of February 14, 2008
(P.L.6, No.3), known as the Right-to-Know Law, or both.
(d) Law compliance with regulations and orders.--An employee
and employer shall comply with occupational safety and health
standards and all rules, regulations and orders issued under
this act which are applicable to the employer's or employee's
own actions and conduct.
(e) State plan for standards.--The Commonwealth shall
promulgate a plan for the development and enforcement of
occupational safety and health standards with respect only to
public employers and employees, in accordance with section 18(b)
of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
Section 6. Regulations.
The secretary may promulgate regulations to administer and
enforce this act and shall:
(1) Prepare, adopt, amend or repeal regulations
governing the conditions of employment of general and special
application in all workplaces.
(2) Provide:
(i) A method of encouraging employers and employees
in efforts to reduce the number of safety and health
hazards arising from undesirable or inappropriate working
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conditions at the workplace.
(ii) A method of stimulating employers and employees
to institute new or to perfect existing programs for safe
and healthful working conditions.
(3) Provide for appropriate reporting procedures by
employers with respect to information relating to conditions
of employment that will assist in achieving the objectives of
this act.
(4) Provide for the frequency, method and manner of
making inspections of workplaces without advance notice. In
the event of an emergency or unusual situation, the secretary
may give advance notice.
(5) Publish and disseminate to employers, employees and
labor organizations and ensure the posting, where
appropriate, by employers of informational, educational or
training materials designed to aid and assist in achieving
the objectives of this act.
(6) Provide for the establishment of new and the
perfection and expansion of existing programs for
occupational safety and health education for employers and
employees and institute methods and procedures for the
establishment of a program for voluntary compliance by
employers and employees with the requirements of this act and
all applicable occupational safety and health standards and
regulations promulgated under this act.
Section 7. Standards.
(a) General rule.--The secretary shall, by regulation, adopt
all occupational safety and health standards, amendments or
changes adopted or recognized by the United States Secretary of
Labor under the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health
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Act of 1970 in order to provide reasonable and adequate
protection to the lives, safety and health of public employees.
Except as provided under subsection (b), the secretary shall
promulgate and repeal regulations as necessary to conform to the
standards established under the Occupational Safety and Health
Act of 1970. Where no Federal standards are applicable, the
secretary shall provide for the development of State standards
as necessary in special circumstances.
(b) Interstate commerce.--The secretary may not adopt
standards for products distributed or used in interstate
commerce which are different from Federal standards for products
unless the standards are required by compelling local conditions
and do not unduly burden interstate commerce.
(c) Challenge to standard or regulation.--A person who may
be adversely affected by a standard or regulation issued under
this act may challenge the validity or application of the
standard or regulation by bringing an action for declaratory
judgment.
Section 8. Variances.
(a) Variance procedure.--
(1) A public employer may apply to the secretary for a
temporary order granting a variance from a standard or a
provision promulgated under this act. A temporary order shall
be granted only if the employer files an application that
meets the requirements of subsection (b) and establishes all
of the following:
(i) The employer is unable to comply with a standard
by the standard's effective date because of
unavailability of professional or technical personnel or
of materials and equipment needed to come into compliance
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with the standard or because necessary construction or
alteration of facilities cannot be completed by the
effective date.
(ii) The employer is taking all available steps to
safeguard employees against the hazards covered by the
standard.
(iii) The employer has an effective program for
complying with the standard as quickly as practicable.
(2) (i) A temporary order issued under this section
shall prescribe the practices, means, methods, operations
and processes which the employer must adopt and use while
the order is in effect and state in detail the employer's
program for complying with the standard.
(ii) A temporary order may be granted only after
notice to employees and an opportunity for a hearing. The
secretary may issue one interim order to be effective
until a decision is made on the basis of a hearing.
(iii) A temporary order may not be in effect for
longer than the period needed by the employer to achieve
compliance with the standard or one year, whichever is
shorter. An order may be renewed not more than twice so
long as the requirements of this section are met and an
application for renewal is filed at least 90 days prior
to the expiration date of the order.
(iv) An interim renewal of an order may not remain
in effect longer than 180 days.
(b) Contents of application for variance.--An application
for a temporary variance order shall contain all of the
following:
(1) A specification of the standard or portion from
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which the employer or owner seeks a variance.
(2) A representation by the employer, supported by
representations from qualified persons who have firsthand
knowledge of the facts represented, that the employer is
unable to comply with the standard or portion and a detailed
statement of the reasons.
(3) A statement of the steps the employer has taken and
will take, with specific dates, to protect employees against
the hazard covered by the standard.
(4) A statement of when the employer expects to be able
to comply with the standard and what steps the employer has
taken and will take, with dates specified, to come into
compliance with the standard.
(5) A certification that the employer has informed the
employees of the application by giving a copy of the
application to the authorized employee representative,
posting a statement giving a summary of the application and
specifying where a copy may be examined at the place or
places where notices to employees are normally posted, and by
other appropriate means. A description of how employees have
been informed shall be contained in the certification. The
information to employees shall also inform them of the right
to petition the secretary for a hearing.
(c) Variance for experimental program.--The secretary may
grant a variance from any standard or portion whenever the
secretary determines that a variance is necessary to permit an
employer to participate in an experimental program approved by
the secretary, which is designed to demonstrate or validate new
and improved techniques to safeguard the health or safety of
workers.
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(d) Hearing and order.--
(1) An affected employer may apply to the secretary for
a rule or order for a variance from a standard promulgated
under this act. Affected employees shall be given notice of
each application and an opportunity to participate in a
hearing.
(2) The secretary shall issue a rule or order if the
secretary determines on the record, after opportunity for an
inspection where appropriate and a hearing, that the
proponent of the variance has demonstrated by a preponderance
of the evidence that the conditions, practices, means,
methods, operations or processes used or proposed to be used
by an employer will provide employment and places of
employment which are as safe and healthful as those which
would prevail if the employer complied with the standard. The
rule or order shall prescribe the conditions the employer
must maintain and the practices, means, methods, operations
and processes which the employer must adopt and utilize to
the extent they differ from the standard in question.
(3) A rule or order may be modified or revoked upon
application by an employer, an employee, an authorized
employee representative, or by the secretary on the
secretary's own motion, in the manner prescribed for issuance
under this section at any time after six months from the date
the rule or order was entered.
(e) Challenge to standard or regulation.--A person who may
be adversely affected by a standard or regulation issued under
this section may challenge the validity or applicability of the
standard or regulation by bringing an action for declaratory
judgment.
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Section 9. Pennsylvania Occupational Safety and Health Review
Board.
(a) Establishment.--The Pennsylvania Occupational Safety and
Health Review Board is established to have and exercise the
powers, duties and prerogatives under this act. The review board
shall consist of five persons appointed by the Governor from
among persons who by reason of training, education or experience
are qualified to carry out the functions of the review board.
(b) Terms of members.--Each member shall serve a term of
four years and until the member's successor is appointed. The
Governor shall designate one of the members to serve as
chairperson.
(c) Power to hear appeals.--A member of the review board
shall hear and rule on appeals from compliance orders,
notifications and penalties issued under this act. The secretary
shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations with respect to
the procedures for review board hearings.
(d) Schedule for hearing appeals.--A review board member
hearing an appeal or appeals under this act shall be paid a per
diem amount to be determined by the secretary. The members shall
alternate the hearing of appeals according to a schedule adopted
by the secretary. If a member is unable to hear an appeal, the
next available member, in accordance with the schedule, shall
hear the appeal. A member shall be selected to hear the appeal
within 30 days after the date it was filed.
(e) Necessary staff.--Any staff necessary for the purposes
of conducting hearings shall be provided by the Department of
Labor and Industry.
(f) Subpoena power and oaths.--In the conduct of hearings
the review board member may subpoena and examine witnesses,
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require the production of evidence, administer oaths and take
testimony and depositions.
(g) Ruling on appeal.--After hearing an appeal, the review
board member may sustain, modify or dismiss a compliance order
or penalty, provided that decision shall be issued within 120
days after the appeal was filed.
Section 10. Appeal from review board.
A person, including the secretary, adversely affected or
aggrieved by an order of the review board, after all
administrative remedies under this act have been exhausted, is
entitled to judicial review.
Section 11. Inspection and investigation powers.
(a) Right to inspect.--
(1) To carry out the purposes of this act, the secretary
or a designated representative, upon presenting appropriate
credentials to the employer, may enter a workplace or
environment where work is performed by an employee, without
advance notice and at reasonable times, to inspect and
investigate a place of employment and all pertinent
conditions, structures, machines, apparatus, devices,
equipment and materials and question an employer or employee
privately.
(2) Whenever the secretary, proceeding under this
section, is denied admission to a place of employment, the
secretary may obtain a warrant to make an inspection or
investigation of the place of employment from any judge of
Commonwealth Court.
(b) Witnesses and evidences.--
(1) In making inspections and investigations under this
section, the secretary may require the attendance and
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testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence under
oath. Witnesses shall be paid the same fees and mileage that
are paid witnesses in the courts of this Commonwealth.
(2) In case of a failure or refusal of a person to obey
an order, the court of common pleas for the judicial district
where the person resides, is found or transacts business
shall issue to the person an order requiring the person to
appear to produce evidence if asked, and when so ordered, to
give testimony relating to the matter under investigation or
in question.
(3) A failure to obey an order of the court may be
punished by the court as a contempt.
(c) People to accompany secretary or representative.--
(1) Subject to regulations issued by the secretary, a
representative of the employer and an authorized employee
representative shall be given an opportunity to accompany the
secretary or an authorized representative during the physical
inspection of a workplace for the purposes of aiding the
inspection. Where there is no authorized employee
representative, the secretary or an authorized representative
shall consult with a reasonable number of employees
concerning matters of health and safety in the workplace.
(2) An employee who accompanies the secretary or an
authorized representative on an inspection may not suffer any
reduction in wages as a result.
Section 12. Inspection and investigation of violations.
(a) Request for inspection.--
(1) An employee or authorized employee representative
who believes that a violation of an occupational safety or
health standard exists or that an imminent danger exists may
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request an inspection by giving notice of a violation or
danger to the secretary.
(2) The notice and request shall be in writing, set
forth with reasonable particularity the grounds for the
notice and be signed by an employee or authorized employee
representative.
(3) A copy of the notice shall be provided by the
secretary to the employer or an agent of the employer no
later than at the time of inspection, except that on the
request of the person giving notice, the names of individual
employees or the authorized employee representative shall be
kept confidential.
(b) Action by secretary.--
(1) Whenever the secretary receives a request for
inspection and determines that there are reasonable grounds
to believe that a violation or danger exists, the secretary
shall make an inspection as soon as practicable to determine
if a violation or danger exists. The inspection may be
limited to the alleged violation or danger.
(2) If the secretary determines there are no reasonable
grounds to believe that a violation or danger exists, the
secretary shall notify the employer, employee or authorized
employee representative in writing of the determination.
Notification may not preclude future enforcement action if
conditions change.
(c) Notice of violation during inspection.--
(1) Prior to or during an inspection of a workplace, an
employee or authorized employee representative in the
workplace may notify in writing the secretary or a
representative of the secretary responsible for conducting
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the inspection of a violation of this act which the person
has reason to believe exists in the workplace.
(2) The secretary shall by regulation establish
procedures for informal review of a refusal by a
representative of the secretary to issue a citation with
respect to an alleged violation and shall furnish the
employer and the employees or authorized employee
representative requesting a review a written statement of the
reasons for the secretary's final disposition of the case.
Notification may not preclude future enforcement action if
conditions change.
(d) Summary by secretary.--The secretary shall compile,
analyze and publish in either summary or detailed form all
reports or information obtained under this section.
(e) Rules and regulations.--The secretary shall prescribe
rules and regulations as the secretary deems necessary to carry
out the secretary's responsibilities under this act, including
rules and regulations dealing with the inspection of an
employer's or owner's establishment.
Section 13. Recordkeeping.
(a) Employer's duties prescribed by regulation.--In
accordance with the secretary's regulations, an employer shall
make, keep and preserve and make available to the secretary
records regarding activities relating to this act as the
secretary deems necessary or appropriate for developing
information regarding the causes and prevention of occupational
accidents and illness. The regulations may include provisions
requiring an employer to conduct periodic inspections. The
secretary shall issue regulations requiring that an employer,
through posting of notices, training or other appropriate means,
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keep employees informed of the protections and obligations under
this act, including the provisions and regulations of this act.
(b) Records relating to death and injury.--The secretary
shall prescribe regulations requiring an employer to maintain
accurate records and to make public periodic reports of work-
related deaths, injuries and illnesses, other than minor
injuries requiring only first aid treatment and not involving
lost time from work, medical treatment, loss of consciousness,
restriction of work or motion or transfer to another job.
(c) Exposure to toxic or harmful agents.--
(1) The secretary shall issue regulations requiring an
employer to maintain accurate records of employee exposures
to potentially toxic materials or harmful physical agents
which are required to be monitored or measured under any
occupational safety and health standard adopted under this
act. The regulations shall provide employees or the
authorized employee representative with an opportunity to
observe monitoring or measuring and have access to the
records. The regulations shall allow each employee or former
employee to have access to records that indicate the
employee's own exposure to toxic materials or harmful
physical agents.
(2) An employer shall promptly notify each employee who
has been or is being exposed to toxic materials or harmful
physical agents in concentrations or at levels that exceed
those prescribed by an occupational safety and health
standard promulgated under this act and shall inform each
employee who is being exposed of the corrective action taken.
Section 14. Compliance orders.
(a) Issuance.--Whenever the secretary, upon inspection or
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investigation, determines that an employer has violated a
provision of this act, an occupational safety or health standard
or regulation promulgated under this act, the secretary shall
with reasonable promptness issue a compliance order to the
employer. Each compliance order shall be in writing and shall
describe the nature of the violation, including a reference to
the provisions of this act or the standard, regulation or order
alleged to have been violated. The compliance order shall fix a
reasonable time for the abatement of the violation.
(b) Posting of order.--Each compliance order issued under
this section or a copy or copies of the order shall be
prominently posted as prescribed in regulations issued by the
secretary at or near each place a violation referred to in the
compliance order occurred and at other locations within the
workplace reasonably accessible to the employees.
Section 15. Enforcement procedures.
(a) Notice of order and penalty.--
(1) If, after inspection or investigation, the secretary
issues a compliance order under section 14(a), the secretary
shall, within a reasonable time after the termination of the
inspection or investigation, notify the employer by certified
mail of the penalty, if any, proposed to be assessed under
section 17. The notification shall inform the employer that
the employer has 15 working days from the receipt of notice
within which to notify the secretary that the employer wishes
to contest the compliance order or proposed assessment of
penalty.
(2) If the employer fails to notify the secretary within
15 days and if no notice is filed by any employee or
authorized employee representative under subsection (c)
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within 15 days, the compliance order and the assessment, as
proposed, shall be deemed a final order of the secretary and
not subject to review by any court or agency.
(b) Notice of failure to correct violation.--
(1) If the secretary has reason to believe that an
employer has failed to correct a violation for which a
compliance order has been issued within the period permitted
for correction, the secretary shall notify the employer by
certified mail of the failure and of the penalty proposed to
be assessed under section 17 by reason of the failure. In the
case, however, of a review proceeding initiated by the
employer under this section in good faith and not solely for
delay or the avoidance of penalties, the period permitted for
correction of the violation may not begin to run until the
entry of a final order by the review board. Notification by
the secretary shall inform the employer that the employer has
15 working days from the receipt of the notice within which
to notify the secretary that the employer wishes to contest
the notification or the proposed assessment of penalty.
(2) If, within 15 days from receipt of notification
under this section, the employer fails to notify the
secretary that the employer intends to contest the
notification or proposed assessment of penalty, the
notification and assessment, as proposed, shall be deemed a
final order of the review board and not be subject to review
by any court or agency.
(c) Action by review board.--
(1) If an employer notifies the secretary that the
employer intends to contest a compliance order issued under
section 14(a) or a notification issued under subsection (a)
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or (b) or if, within 15 days after the issuance of a
compliance order under section 14(a), an employee or
authorized employee representative files a notice with the
secretary alleging that the period of time fixed in the
compliance order for abatement of the violation is
unreasonable, the secretary shall immediately advise the
review board of the notification, and the review board shall
afford an opportunity for a hearing.
(2) The review board shall issue an order, based on
findings of fact, affirming, modifying or vacating the
secretary's compliance order or proposed penalty or directing
other appropriate relief. The order shall become final 30
days after the order's issuance.
(3) Upon a showing by an employer of a good faith effort
to comply with the abatement requirements of a compliance
order and a showing that abatement has not been completed
because of factors beyond the employer's reasonable control,
the secretary, after an opportunity for a hearing as provided
in this subsection, shall issue an order affirming or
modifying the abatement requirements in the compliance order.
(4) The rules of procedure prescribed by the secretary
shall provide affected employees or the authorized employee
representative of affected employees an opportunity to
participate as parties to hearings under this subsection.
Section 16. Injunction proceedings.
(a) Temporary restraining order.--
(1) The Commonwealth Court shall have jurisdiction, upon
petition of the secretary, to restrain conditions or
practices in any place of employment when a danger exists
that could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious
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physical harm immediately or before the imminence of the
danger can be eliminated through the abatement procedures
otherwise provided for by this act.
(2) An order issued under this section shall require
necessary actions to avoid, correct or remove the imminent
danger and prohibit the employment or presence of any
individual in locations or under conditions where the
imminent danger exists, except individuals whose presence is
necessary to avoid, correct or remove the imminent danger.
(3) A temporary restraining order issued without notice
may not be effective for more than five days.
(b) Action by inspector.--As soon as an inspector concludes
that conditions or practices described in subsection (a) exist
in a place of employment, the inspector shall inform the
affected employees and employers of the danger and shall further
inform them that the inspector is recommending to the secretary
that relief be sought.
(c) Failure of secretary to seek relief.--If the secretary
arbitrarily or capriciously fails to seek relief under this
section, an employee who may be injured by reason of the failure
or the authorized employee representative may bring an action
against the secretary in Commonwealth Court to compel the
secretary to seek an order and for further relief as may be
appropriate.
Section 17. Penalties.
(a) Willful or repeated violations.--An employer who
willfully or repeatedly violates the requirements of section 4
or 5, an occupational safety and health standard promulgated
under section 7 or regulations prescribed under this act may be
assessed a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each
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violation.
(b) Compliance order for serious violation.--An employer who
has received a compliance order for a serious violation of the
requirements of section 4 or 5, an occupational safety and
health standard promulgated under section 7 or regulations
prescribed under this act shall be assessed a civil penalty of
not more than $1,000 for each violation.
(c) Compliance order for lesser violation.--An employer who
has received a compliance order for a violation of the
requirements of section 4 or 5, an occupational safety and
health standard promulgated under section 7 or regulations
prescribed under this act, which violation has been determined
not to be of a serious nature, may be assessed a civil penalty
of not more than $1,000 for each violation.
(d) Failure to correct violation.--An employer who fails to
correct a violation for which a compliance order has been issued
under section 14 within the period permitted for its correction,
the period may not begin to run until the date of the final
order of the review board in the case of a review proceeding
under section 15 initiated by the employer in good faith and not
solely for delay or avoidance of penalties, may be assessed a
civil penalty of not more than $1,000 for each day during which
the failure or violation continues.
(e) Violation causing death.--
(1) An employer who willfully violates a standard or
order promulgated under section 7 or a regulation adopted
under this act, which violation caused death to an employee,
commits a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be
sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $10,000 or to
imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
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(2) If a conviction is for a violation committed after a
first conviction, the person shall be sentenced to pay a fine
of not more than $20,000 or to imprisonment for not more than
one year, or both.
(f) Providing advance notice of inspection.--A person who
gives advance notice of an inspection to be conducted under this
act without authority from the secretary or a designee commits a
misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a
fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not more
than six months, or both.
(g) False statements.--A person who knowingly makes a false
statement, representation or certification in an application,
record, report, plan or other document filed or required to be
maintained under this act commits a misdemeanor and shall, upon
conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $10,000
or to imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
(h) Violation of posting requirements.--An employer who
violates any of the posting requirements as prescribed under the
provision of this act shall be assessed a civil penalty of not
more than $1,000 for each violation.
(i) Refusing entry for investigation or inspection.--An
employer who refuses entry to the secretary or an authorized
representative while the secretary or representative is
attempting to conduct an investigation or inspection under this
act or willfully obstructs the secretary or an authorized
representative from carrying out an investigation or inspection
commits a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced
to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not
more than six months, or both.
(j) Causing bodily harm to the secretary or authorized
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representative.--An employer or individual who willfully causes
bodily harm to the secretary or an authorized representative
while the secretary or representative is attempting to conduct
an investigation or inspection under this act commits a
misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a
fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for not more
than one year, or both.
(k) Authority to assess civil penalties.--The review board
shall have authority to assess all civil penalties under this
act, giving due consideration to all of the following:
(1) The appropriateness of the penalty with respect to
the size of the business of the employer being charged.
(2) The gravity of the violation.
(3) The good faith of the employer.
(4) The history of previous violations.
(l) Determination of serious violation.--For the purposes of
this act, a serious violation shall be deemed to exist in a
place of employment if there is a substantial probability that
death or serious physical harm could result from a condition
which exists, or from one or more practices, means, methods,
operations or processes which have been adopted or are in use,
in the place of employment unless the employer did not and could
not with the exercise of reasonable diligence know of the
presence of the violation.
(m) Disposition of civil penalties.--Civil penalties owed
under this act shall be paid to the secretary for deposit in the
State Treasury and may be recovered in a civil action in the
name of the Commonwealth brought in Commonwealth Court.
(n) Unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.--A
person who violates the provisions of section 22 commits a
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misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a
fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not more
than one year, or both. In the event that the person is an
officer or employee responsible for carrying out the provisions
of this act, the officer or employee shall be removed from
office or employment upon conviction under this section.
Section 18. Discrimination against employees.
(a) General rule.--An employer or any other person may not
discriminate against an employee because the employee has filed
a complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted a
proceeding under or related to this act or has testified or is
about to testify in a proceeding or because of the exercise by
an employee on the employee's own behalf or on behalf of others
of any right afforded by this act.
(b) Remedy.--
(1) An employee who believes that the employee has been
discharged, disciplined or otherwise discriminated against by
a person in violation of this section may, within 30 days
after a violation occurs, file a complaint with the secretary
alleging discrimination.
(2) Upon receipt of the complaint, the secretary shall
investigate as deemed appropriate and shall, if requested,
withhold the name of the complainant from the employer.
(3) If, upon investigation, the secretary determines
that the provisions of this section have been violated, the
secretary shall request the Attorney General to bring an
action in Commonwealth Court against the person or persons
alleged to have violated this act. The Commonwealth Court
shall have jurisdiction, for cause shown, to restrain
violations of this act and to order all appropriate relief,
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including reinstatement of the employee to the employee's
former position with back pay and benefits.
(c) Notice of determination of complaint.--Within 90 days of
receipt of a complaint filed under this section, the secretary
shall notify the complainant and the complainant's
representative by registered mail of the secretary's
determination of the complaint.
(d) Other rights preserved.--Nothing in this act shall be
construed to diminish the rights of an employee under any law,
rule or regulation or under any collective bargaining agreement.
Section 19. Research and demonstration projects.
(a) Secretary to conduct.--
(1) The secretary shall conduct research and undertake
demonstration projects relating to occupational safety and
health issues and problems either within the Department of
Labor and Industry or by grants or contracts. The secretary
may prescribe regulations requiring employers to measure,
record and make reports on exposure of employees to toxic
substances which the secretary believes may endanger the
health or safety of employees.
(2) The secretary shall cooperate with the Director of
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of
the United States Department of Health and Human Services in
establishing the programs of medical examinations and tests
as may be necessary to determine the incidence of
occupational illnesses and employee susceptibility to the
illnesses.
(3) The programs, on the request of the employer, may be
paid for by the secretary, and the secretary shall provide
other assistance as may be required.
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(b) Confidentiality.--Information obtained under this act
shall be made public without revealing the names of individual
workers covered by physical examination or special studies and
shall be made available to employers, employees and the
respective organizations.
Section 20. Education programs.
(a) Programs to train personnel.--The secretary shall
conduct directly or by grants or contracts education programs to
provide an adequate supply of qualified personnel to carry out
this act and informational programs on the importance and proper
use of adequate safety and health equipment.
(b) Short-term training.--The secretary may conduct directly
or by grants or contracts short-term training of personnel
engaged in work related to the secretary's responsibilities
under this act.
(c) Additional programs.--The secretary shall provide for
the establishment and supervision of programs for the education
and training of employers, owners and employees in the
recognition, avoidance and prevention of unsafe or unhealthful
working conditions in employment covered by this act. The
secretary shall consult with and advise owners and employers,
employees and organizations representing owners, employers and
employees as to effective means of preventing occupational
injuries and illnesses.
Section 21. Reports to United States Secretary of Labor.
The secretary shall make reports to the United States
Secretary of Labor as required by the Secretary of Labor
regarding the administration and enforcement of this act.
Section 22. Confidentiality of information maintained.
All information reported to or otherwise obtained by the
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secretary or an authorized representative or a member of the
review board in connection with any inspection or proceeding
under this act which contains or might reveal a trade secret
shall be considered confidential. The information may be
disclosed to other officers or employees concerned with carrying
out this act or when relevant in a proceeding under this act. In
a proceeding, the secretary, the review board or the court shall
issue orders as may be appropriate to protect the
confidentiality of trade secrets.
Section 23. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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