May 2, 2023
Worker safety is an issue that local municipalities take very seriously. However, PSATS has long opposed any new unfunded mandates, such as HB 299, which would subject local governments to federal OSHA standards.
With limited revenue streams and ballooning expenses many municipalities are already stretching every dollar they have. Without full state funding for the excessive regulatory requirements and punitive penalties that HB 299 would impose, local elected officials will be forced to pass the costs of compliance onto their taxpayers.
As the legislation is currently written, there are also concerns it could impact some nonprofit emergency service providers. These organizations are a necessity to our communities and are already facing huge financial shortfalls and dwindling ranks. This legislation would only add to that burden.
Allowing a state government agency to fine another government entity is just plain bad policy for Pennsylvania. In the private sector the risk of a fine may keep bad actors in line, in this instance it only hurts taxpayers.
Also, most OSHA standards are not applicable to local governments and simply don’t make sense for public entities. Some of the riskiest work for townships includes road maintenance and construction and local governments must follow PennDOT’s safety regulations, and the requirements set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
Finally, this bill ties the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to OSHA standards. It gives a tremendous amount of power to unknown bureaucrats in Washington to determine future policies. Anytime OSHA develops new standards or adopts new enforcement policies, whether the legislature agrees with them or not, state plans are required to adopt the same or as effective standards.
We ask that you oppose HB299 when it is brought before the House. If you have any questions or if you would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Sincerely,
| Joseph H. Gerdes, III
Government Relations Director