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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO STANDARDS OF EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 6 of chapter 149 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 24, the words “authority hereof” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- this section or section 6½. 

SECTION 2. Said chapter 149 is hereby further amended by striking out section 6½, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:- 

Section 6½. (a) For the purposes of this section, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

“Public employees”, individuals employed by a public employer. 

“Public employers”, places of employment subject to section 28 of chapter 7, any agency, executive office, department, board, commission, bureau, division or authority of the commonwealth or of any political subdivision of the commonwealth, any quasi-public independent entity and any authority or body politic and corporate established by the general court to serve a public purpose.

(b) Public employers shall provide public employees at least the level of protection provided under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 29 U.S.C. 651 et. seq., including standards and provisions of the general duty clause contained in 29 U.S.C. 654. 

(c) The governor shall appoint an occupational health and safety hazard advisory board which shall consist of the following 19 members: the secretary of labor and workforce development or a designee, who shall serve as the co-chairperson; the personnel administrator or a designee, who shall serve as co-chairperson; the director of the division of labor standards or a designee; the secretary of administration and finance or a designee; the director of the office of employee relations or a designee; the commissioner of public health or a designee; the director of industrial accidents or a designee; 4 representatives from labor unions representing public employees; 1 representative from a community-based health and safety advocacy organization; the president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, Inc. or a designee; the president of the Massachusetts Highway Association or a designee; the president of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Inc. or a designee; the president of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, Inc. or a designee; the president of the Massachusetts Water Works Association Inc. or a designee; the president of the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association or a designee; and 1 member of the faculty of the department of work environment at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. 

The advisory board shall evaluate injury and illness data, recommend training and implementation of safety and health measures, monitor the effectiveness of safety and health programs and determine where additional resources are needed to protect the safety and health of public employees.

(d) The department shall promulgate regulations to enforce this section. The department shall consult with the advisory board established in subsection (c) prior to: (i) adopting or amending the regulations; or (ii) the submission of a state plan for occupational safety and health standards and their enforcement to the United States Secretary of Labor pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 667. The department may, after consulting with the advisory board, adopt specific regulations for individual quasi-public independent entities and authorities. 

(e) The attorney general may bring a civil action for declaratory or injunctive relief to enforce this section.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect on February 1, 2019.

Approved, March 9, 2018.