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29 U.S. Code § 671a - Workers’ family protection

(a) Short title

This section may be cited as the “Workers’ Family Protection Act”.

(b) Findings and purpose
(1) FindingsCongress finds that—
hazardous chemicals and substances that can threaten the health and safety of workers are being transported out of industries on workers’ clothing and persons;
these chemicals and substances have the potential to pose an additional threat to the health and welfare of workers and their families;
additional information is needed concerning issues related to employee transported contaminant releases; and
additional regulations may be needed to prevent future releases of this type.
(2) PurposeIt is the purpose of this section to—
increase understanding and awareness concerning the extent and possible health impacts of the problems and incidents described in paragraph (1);
prevent or mitigate future incidents of home contamination that could adversely affect the health and safety of workers and their families;
clarify regulatory authority for preventing and responding to such incidents; and
assist workers in redressing and responding to such incidents when they occur.
(c) Evaluation of employee transported contaminant releases
(1) Study
(A) In general

Not later than 18 months after October 26, 1992, the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (hereafter in this section referred to as the “Director”), in cooperation with the Secretary of Labor, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the heads of other Federal Government agencies as determined to be appropriate by the Director, shall conduct a study to evaluate the potential for, the prevalence of, and the issues related to the contamination of workers’ homes with hazardous chemicals and substances, including infectious agents, transported from the workplaces of such workers.

(B) Matters to be evaluatedIn conducting the study and evaluation under subparagraph (A), the Director shall—
(i) conduct a review of past incidents of home contamination through the utilization of literature and of records concerning past investigations and enforcement actions undertaken by—
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health;
the Secretary of Labor to enforce the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.);
States to enforce occupational safety and health standards in accordance with section 18 of such Act (29 U.S.C. 667); and
other government agencies (including the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency), as the Director may determine to be appropriate;
evaluate current statutory, regulatory, and voluntary industrial hygiene or other measures used by small, medium and large employers to prevent or remediate home contamination;
(iii) compile a summary of the existing research and case histories conducted on incidents of employee transported contaminant releases, including—
the effectiveness of workplace housekeeping practices and personal protective equipment in preventing such incidents;
the health effects, if any, of the resulting exposure on workers and their families;
the effectiveness of normal house cleaning and laundry procedures for removing hazardous materials and agents from workers’ homes and personal clothing;
indoor air quality, as the research concerning such pertains to the fate of chemicals transported from a workplace into the home environment; and
methods for differentiating exposure health effects and relative risks associated with specific agents from other sources of exposure inside and outside the home;
identify the role of Federal and State agencies in responding to incidents of home contamination;
prepare and submit to the Task Force established under paragraph (2) and to the appropriate committees of Congress, a report concerning the results of the matters studied or evaluated under clauses (i) through (iv); and
study home contamination incidents and issues and worker and family protection policies and practices related to the special circumstances of firefighters and prepare and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report concerning the findings with respect to such study.
(2) Development of investigative strategy
(A) Task ForceNot later than 12 months after October 26, 1992, the Director shall establish a working group, to be known as the “Workers’ Family Protection Task Force”. The Task Force shall—
be composed of not more than 15 individuals to be appointed by the Director from among individuals who are representative of workers, industry, scientists, industrial hygienists, the National Research Council, and government agencies, except that not more than one such individual shall be from each appropriate government agency and the number of individuals appointed to represent industry and workers shall be equal in number;
review the report submitted under paragraph (1)(B)(v);
determine, with respect to such report, the additional data needs, if any, and the need for additional evaluation of the scientific issues related to and the feasibility of developing such additional data; and
if additional data are determined by the Task Force to be needed, develop a recommended investigative strategy for use in obtaining such information.
(B) Investigative strategy
(i) Content

The investigative strategy developed under subparagraph (A)(iv) shall identify data gaps that can and cannot be filled, assumptions and uncertainties associated with various components of such strategy, a timetable for the implementation of such strategy, and methodologies used to gather any required data.

(ii) Peer review

The Director shall publish the proposed investigative strategy under subparagraph (A)(iv) for public comment and utilize other methods, including technical conferences or seminars, for the purpose of obtaining comments concerning the proposed strategy.

(iii) Final strategy

After the peer review and public comment is conducted under clause (ii), the Director, in consultation with the heads of other government agencies, shall propose a final strategy for investigating issues related to home contamination that shall be implemented by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and other Federal agencies for the period of time necessary to enable such agencies to obtain the information identified under subparagraph (A)(iii).

(C) Construction

Nothing in this section shall be construed as precluding any government agency from investigating issues related to home contamination using existing procedures until such time as a final strategy is developed or from taking actions in addition to those proposed in the strategy after its completion.

(3) Implementation of investigative strategy

Upon completion of the investigative strategy under subparagraph (B)(iii), each Federal agency or department shall fulfill the role assigned to it by the strategy.

(d) Regulations
(1) In generalNot later than 4 years after October 26, 1992, and periodically thereafter, the Secretary of Labor, based on the information developed under subsection (c) and on other information available to the Secretary, shall—
determine if additional education about, emphasis on, or enforcement of existing regulations or standards is needed and will be sufficient, or if additional regulations or standards are needed with regard to employee transported releases of hazardous materials; and
prepare and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report concerning the result of such determination.
(2) Additional regulations or standards

If the Secretary of Labor determines that additional regulations or standards are needed under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall promulgate, pursuant to the Secretary’s authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.), such regulations or standards as determined to be appropriate not later than 3 years after such determination.

(e) Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated from sums otherwise authorized to be appropriated, for each fiscal year such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

Editorial Notes
References in Text

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, referred to in subsecs. (c)(1)(B)(i)(II) and (d)(2), is Pub. L. 91–596, Dec. 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 1590, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 651 of this title and Tables.


Section was enacted as part of the Fire Administration Authorization Act of 1992, and not as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 which comprises this chapter.