Permissible exposure limits to be determined through AB 515

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 8, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Earlier this week Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) presented AB 515 on the Assembly floor.  It directs the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Standards Board) to adopt standards specifying permissible exposure limits (PELs) for workplace hazardous substances which are identical to the standards approved by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard and Assessment (OEHHA).  This circumvents the current regulatory process to either overturn or expedite PEL standards on workplace chemicals.  The bill passed with a close vote of 43 Ayes and 34 Noes, with Democrats Cathleen Galgiani (Tracy) and Nicole Parra (Hanford) voting No.

AB 515 limits the ability of the Standards Boards to adopt workplace standards by replacing it with the health-based standards approved by (OEHHA).  The Standards Board has already developed over 600 PELs.  The bill would require that they all be revisited.  

Bill proponents have shown no reason to dramatically change the PEL setting process. The Standard Board has recently revised the PEL setting process to make it more efficient and responsive to the concerns of the sponsors of this bill.  The current process allows for stakeholder meetings with subcommittees that focus on scientific facts and feasibility.  

Many CMTA members have gone through the PEL process and have found positive results which allow them to continue doing business in California and provide a safer work environment for their employees.  AB 515 is unnecessary and could become very costly for the State.  OEHHA does not have the occupational knowledge or experience needed to develop appropriate PELs for the workplace.  The bill's proponents want to establish unnecessary and more stringent workplace standards without involvement from affected industries that currently have a voice through the Standards Board process. CMTA believes that the PEL setting process should stay with the Standards Board.

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