H.P. 1532 - L.D. 2185
Resolve, Relating to Protection from Bloodborne Pathogens for Maine Workers
Emergency preamble. Whereas, Acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, this resolve proposes to improve protection from bloodborne diseases for workers; and
Whereas, Maine workers suffer a significant number of needle-stick injuries each year, putting them at risk of contracting numerous diseases, many of which, like AIDS or Hepatitis C, are life-threatening; and
Whereas, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or "OSHA," has adopted a regulation requiring private-sector employers to develop plans to control exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including a requirement that employers use engineering and work practice controls to prevent needle-stick injuries; and
Whereas, that federal regulation has been adopted as a rule by the State's Board of Occupational Safety and Health, which establishes requirements for public-sector workplaces; and
Whereas, a federal directive interpreting the bloodborne pathogen regulation sets forth more explicit instructions to employers in implementing the regulation, including a requirement that employers provide engineering controls such as needleless systems and safer needle devices; and
Whereas, adoption of the directive as a rule would provide greater assurance of continued protection for public-sector employees; and
Whereas, the Legislature intends for public-sector and private-sector employees to have rigorous protection against exposure to bloodborne pathogens; and
Whereas, the Legislature intends that public-sector and private-sector employers learn and heed the requirements of the OSHA directive to use the most effective engineering controls, including needleless systems and safer needle devices and that such employers act as quickly as possible to implement such systems; and
Whereas, the Legislature understands that the requirements of the OSHA directive are relatively recent so that employers may not have fully implemented the requirement, but wishes to expedite the process; and
Whereas, a survey of practices and progress in implementing the directive will help policymakers assess the need for additional educational efforts or additional regulation; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore, be it
Sec. 1. Rules for occupational safety and health of public employees. Resolved: That, except as provided in this section, the Board of Occupational Safety and Health, as defined in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 26, section 564, shall adopt rules that are at least as protective of employee health and safety as Directive Number CPL 2-2.44D issued by the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or "OSHA," to interpret the OSHA bloodborne pathogen regulation and effective November 5, 1999. The rules must exempt any hypodermic apparatus exchange program certified by the Department of Human Services, Bureau of Health pursuant to Title 22, section 1341 from the requirements of that directive. Rules adopted pursuant to this section are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter II-A; and be it further
Sec. 2. Survey of health care providers. Resolved: That the Department of Labor and the Department of Human Services shall conduct a survey of public and private health care providers and field providers, including, but not limited to, emergency medical technicians, to collect information about:
1. The use of needleless systems and other safe needle devices by employees; and
2. The process used or to be used by the providers to comply with federal regulations or state rules regarding engineering controls to protect employees against exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
The departments shall report the results of the survey to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over labor matters of the 120th Legislature by February 1, 2001. That committee may report out legislation to the 120th Legislature in response to the survey.
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this resolve takes effect when approved.
Effective April 14, 2000.
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