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July 1, 2003

Council urges veto of bill to augment regulation of handling of toxic substances

The Business Council is urging Governor George Pataki to veto a bill that would impose new record-keeping requirements on employers whose workers handle or use toxic substances.

The bill (S.2452-Onorato, A.8014-Nolan) is needlessly burdensome to employers and is pre-empted by federal standards enforced by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh noted in a June 30 letter to Richard Platkin, Governor Pataki's counsel.

The bill is preempted by federal OSHA regulations because the federal government has not given New York responsibility for developing and enforcing its own relevant occupational safety and health standards, Walsh wrote.

States may go through an expensive and time-consuming process to seek federal authority to develop and enforce its own standards. But New York has not requested such "state-plan" status, he added.

The Council also objects to the new burdens on employers created by the bill. The bill's supporting documents claim its requirements would not burden employers. But the bill would require the keeping, for 40 years, of detailed records for every person who handles a toner cartridge for office copiers or uses typewriter correcting fluid, Walsh wrote.