Dawn Koepke

Governor vetoes unnecessary reporting expansion

By Dawn Koepke

Capitol Update, Oct. 1, 2018 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 2963 that would have required the Department of Public Health (DPH) to report employee blood lead levels above a certain threshold to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (commonly known as Cal/OSHA) who in turn is instructed to investigate and possibly take enforcement action against the employer within three working days.

CMTA and other business organizations opposed this bill because it set an arbitrary threshold for blood lead levels in workers then required Cal/OSHA to treat it as a violation of workplace safety laws, which is completely inconsistent with how information on blood lead levels is currently shared or handled.

The DPH collects the blood lead level results from tests that are part of an employer’s medical monitoring program in workplaces where exposure to lead is likely. This information is not, but should be provided to Cal/OSHA on a regular basis in a format that is appropriate for evaluation to determine the need for further action by Cal/OSHA. Per statutory mandate, when an elevated blood lead level is found, the Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program contacts the worker and the employer to engage in a constructive dialogue to identify potential exposure sources and take actions to reduce exposures. This interaction is necessary to determine the appropriate remedy, which may or may not involve enforcement actions against employers, and the findings are not provided to Cal/OSHA.

The Governor declined to sign the bill because he believes it will “erode th[e] collaborative approach” DPH currently enjoys with employers in reducing workers’ exposure to lead and is duplicative in that DPH can already refer issue to Cal/OSHA for enforcement when needed on a case-by-case basis. Governor Brown further found the bill premature given that Cal/OSHA is already “in the process of revising and updating regulations that establish permissible lead exposure levels for workers and the level at which immediate intervention is needed.”

You can read the complete veto message here.

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