Bill Text: CA AB73 | 2021-2022 | Regular Session | Amended

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Health emergencies: employment safety: agricultural workers: wildfire smoke.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 12-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2021-06-09 - Referred to Coms. on HEALTH and L., P.E. & R. [AB73 Detail]

Download: California-2021-AB73-Amended.html

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 12, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 29, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  February 02, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 73


Introduced by Assembly Members Robert Rivas, Eduardo Garcia, Lorena Gonzalez, and Kalra
(Principal coauthor: Senator Caballero)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry, Bloom, Cristina Garcia, Luz Rivas, Santiago, Stone, and Wood)

December 07, 2020


An act to add Part 12 (commencing with Section 9110) to Division 5 of the Labor Code, relating to employment safety. safety, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 73, as amended, Robert Rivas. Employment safety: agricultural workers: wildfire smoke.
Existing law establishes the Division of Occupational Safety and Health within the Department of Industrial Relations and requires the division to, among other things, monitor, analyze, and propose health and safety standards for workers. Existing law authorizes the division to adopt regulations to implement health and safety standards. Under existing law, certain violations of a standard, order, or special order pursuant to these provisions are crimes.
Existing regulations require, under certain circumstances, an employer to provide respirators to employees for voluntary use when the air quality index for small particulate matter exceeds certain thresholds, and to encourage employees to use the respirators.
This bill would, among other things, require the division to designate a wildfire smoke strike team within each regional office for purposes of enforcing regulations regarding air quality safety for agricultural workers, as defined. The bill would require the division, by January 1, 2023, to establish a stockpile of N95 filtering facepiece respirators, as defined, of sufficient size to adequately equip all agricultural workers during wildfire smoke emergencies. The bill would require the division to establish guidelines for procurement, management, and distribution of the N95 respirators.
The bill would require agricultural employers to furnish regional offices of the division with employee totals, by month, to ensure that adequate amounts of N95 respirators are stockpiled. The bill would grant these agricultural employers access to the regional stockpiles during wildfire smoke emergencies, unless the agricultural employer failed to register their employee totals.
The bill would require the division, by January 1, 2023, to develop and distribute related training and information, and would require employers to periodically conduct the training. The bill would, in addition, commencing January 1, 2023, require refresher training during wildfire smoke emergencies and prior to distribution of the respirators.
Because a violation of certain safety and health standards or orders constitutes a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: MAJORITY2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Part 12 (commencing with Section 9110) is added to Division 5 of the Labor Code, to read:

PART 12. Agricultural Workers

9110.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that having access to a statewide stockpile of N95 filtering facepiece respirators in the event of a wildfire smoke emergency is vital to the health and safety of its essential agricultural workers.
(b) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “AQI” means air quality index and refers to the method used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to report air quality on a real-time basis, utilizing the chart in subdivision (b) of Section 5141.1 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.
(2) “Agricultural employee” means a person employed in any of the following:
(A) An agricultural occupation, as defined in Wage Order No. 14 of the Industrial Welfare Commission.
(B) An industry preparing agricultural products for the market, on the farm, as defined in Wage Order No. 13 of the Industrial Welfare Commission.
(C) An industry handling products after harvest, as defined in Wage Order No. 8 of the Industrial Welfare Commission.
(3) “N95 filtering facepiece respirator” or “N95 respirator” means an N95 particulate filtering facepiece respirator approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(4) “PM 2.5” means particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or smaller.
(5) “Stockpile” means the N95 filtering facepiece respirator stockpile established pursuant to subdivision (d).
(6) “Wildfire” means an unplanned, unwanted wildland fire, including unauthorized human-caused fires, escaped wildland fire use events, escaped prescribed fire projects, and all other wildland fires when the objective is to extinguish the fire.
(c) The division shall designate a “wildfire smoke strike team” within each of its regional offices. These teams shall be deployed to inspect agricultural workplaces for compliance with Section 5141.1 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations when both of the following conditions apply:
(1) The current AQI for PM 2.5 is 151 or greater, regardless of the AQI for other pollutants.
(2) The wildfire conditions in the region are such that it would be reasonable to anticipate that agricultural employees within the region may be exposed to wildfire smoke.
(d) (1) By January 1, 2023, the division shall establish a stockpile of N95 filtering facepiece respirators, upon appropriation, of sufficient size to adequately equip all agricultural workers during wildfire smoke emergencies. Thereafter, the stockpile shall be adjusted as necessary to account for the growth in the number of agricultural workers within the state.
(2) The division shall establish stockpile guidelines for procurement, management, and distribution of N95 respirators. The division shall coordinate with the Department of General Services to distribute masks for local storage within the division regional offices.
(3) Agricultural employers shall furnish these regional offices with employee totals, by month, to ensure that adequate amounts of N95 respirators are stockpiled. During wildfire smoke emergencies, agricultural employers shall have access to the regional stockpiles to equip their employees, in order to comply with Section 5141.1 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations. If an agricultural employer fails to register with the regional office, they will not have access to the stockpile and shall purchase N95 respirators from other sources for use by their employees in order to comply with these requirements.
(e) (1) By January 1, 2023, the division shall develop, and shall thereafter distribute, specific air quality training and information in both English and Spanish on all of the following issues:
(A) What resources employers use to determine unhealthy air quality.
(B) What type of personal protective equipment agricultural employees are entitled to when working in hazardous air quality conditions.
(C) How to use N95 respirators safely.
(D) Signs and symptoms of illness related to unhealthy air exposure and respirator failure or issues.
(E) The right of an employee to request and obtain medical treatment without fear of reprisal.
(2) The information shall be designed to be easily understood by agricultural employees from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and various education levels, including the use of pictograms, as necessary. The information shall be made widely and easily accessible throughout the year, including in physical formats at the worksite and via the division’s internet website.
(3) The training shall be provided by the employers for all management staff and agricultural employees periodically. The frequency shall be established by the division and shall be based upon the regional wildfire risk.
(f) Commencing January 1, 2023, in addition to the periodic training required in subdivision (e), during a wildfire smoke emergency and prior to distribution of the N95 respirators, an agricultural employer shall conduct refresher training, as developed by the division, for all managers and agricultural employees specifically focused on the safe and effective use of the N95 respirators.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

SEC. 3.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In order to protect the health and safety of essential agricultural workers from smoke inhalation during what has become an extended wildfire season, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.
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