The focus for this term of the Connecticut General Assembly for employers and employees has been on the paid sick leave bill (still no action in the House as of May 3rd).
However, employers who have employees working on public works projects and manual labor on state or municipal building construction or repair contracts need to be aware of a bill that cleared both the Senate and House very early today (H.B. 5537). The bill is expected to be signed into law shortly, will become effective January 1, 2009. The vote tally in the Senate is available here.
Under current law, some of these employees must prove that they have completed a 10-hour construction safety and health course that meets federal OSHA Training Institute Standards. The new bill expands this training and expands the people who must receive training.
The Office of Legislative Research has fairly detailed report available here:
First, it expands the construction safety training requirement to any public works project, which includes sewage and water treatment plants, site work, road and bridge work, parking lots, drainage systems, and other public projects.
Second, instead of applying the training requirement to all projects of $ 100,000 or more, the bill applies the existing prevailing wage project thresholds to the training requirement. This means the requirement kicks in for (1) repair and renovation projects of $ 100,000 or more and (2) new construction projects of $ 400,000 or more.
Furthermore, it removes the requirement that the proof of the training be sent to the labor commissioner. Presumably, the proof will be sent to the contracting agency paying for the prevailing wage project. …
The bill also creates training requirement exceptions for employees of public service companies and commercial vehicle drivers who either pick up at or deliver cargo to public work projects.
It requires the labor commissioner to adopt implementing regulations by January 1, 2009. By law, regulations cannot take effect before the effective date of the act authorizing them.
A few notable items:
- The employees who must receive the training (which, under current law, is any employee "performing manual labor") is greater under the bill. The bill states that a mechanic, laborer, or worker must complete the safety training course.
- Notably, according to the OLR, the safety training requirements "do not apply to employees of public service companies, which are defined in statute to include electric, electric distribution, gas, telephone, telegraph, pipeline, sewage, and water companies; cable franchise holders; and railroad companies."
With all the training requirements that exist for employers, employers should add this to their list if they are in the business of doing construction or repair work for the State of Connecticut.