Introduced Version House Bill 4303 History

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H. B. 4303


         (By Delegates Manypenny, Longstreth, Caputo,

         Diserio and D. Poling)


         [Introduced January 24, 2014; referred to the

         Committee on Industry and Labor then the Judiciary.]



A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding a new article, designated §21-3E-1, §21-3E-2, §21-3E-3, §21-3E-4 and §21-3E-5, all relating to creating the Oil and Gas Drilling Workplace Safety Act; providing a short title; providing for rule-making; setting forth minimum requirements for the rules; establishing the applicability of worker’s compensation and the potential loss of immunity; providing special requirements; requiring injuries to be reported; requiring quarterly reports and the reports to be public; and providing for monetary penalties.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §21-3E-1, §21-3E-2, §21-3E-3, §21-3E-4 and §21-3E-5, all to read as follows:


§21-3E-1. Short title.

    This article shall be known and may be cited as the “Oil and Gas Drilling Workplace Safety Act."

§21-3E-2. Rule-making authority.

    (a) The commission, in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection, shall propose rules for legislative approval pursuant to article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to provide for enhanced workplace safety requirements and employee training requirements for all oil and gas drilling operations in the state. The rules shall include, but are not limited to, requirements relating to exposure to chemicals, work hours for both drilling site employees and employees involved in transportation, including truck drivers working on and off the drill rig site, safety of machinery, proper care and treatment of clothing worn on drilling sites, use of proper masks to protect worker respiratory health, use of proper lighting, safety of living conditions for workers, safety of site location, including stability of ground surfaces necessary to support all equipment used at drilling sites, and required duration of training.

    (b) The rules issued pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be printed in English in at least fourteen point type and conspicuously posted in a visible and prominent location at each oil and gas drilling site location.

§21-3E-3. Applicability of the workers' compensation; loss of              immunity.

    Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, in the event any covered employer conducting oil and gas drilling operations in this state fails to make the provision of payment of disability or death benefits as required by article four, chapter twenty-three of this code, that employer loses its immunity otherwise available to it and all the elements of “deliberate intention” as per subdivision (2), subsection (d), section two of that article shall have been met.

§21-3E-4. Special requirements.

    (a) All applicants for a new drilling permit for an oil and gas drilling operation shall utilize union workers or workers who have been trained or are undergoing training, appropriate for the type of and scope of work to be performed, where such training is through a valid apprenticeship program or an educational institution or school chartered, licensed or registered by the Department of Education, or a provider approved by the Department of Education. Following completion of training required by this section, a certificate of completion shall be issued by the apprenticeship program, educational institution, school or provider, and shall be conspicuously posted at each site location where the holder of the certificate is employed and shall be made available to the public upon request.

    (b) Any subcontractors or other independent contractors at such permitted sites shall also agree to the employment of or contractual relation with the same type of workers. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in this section shall be construed to mandate an employer or contractor subject to this section to exclusively require the use of union labor at a construction site or to be in violation of any federal prohibition regarding the same.

§21-3E-5. Reports of injuries.

    (a) A drilling permit holder must report to the commissioner any workplace accident occurring at the oil or gas drilling location by the close of business of the commissioner's next business day. In the event a drilling permit holder fails to report any workplace accident pursuant to this subsection, the commissioner may by order which particularly describes the nature of the violation, assess the permit holder a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 for the first such violation, not more than $2,000 for a second violation and not more than $3,000 for a third or subsequent violation. The penalty shall be paid to the commissioner for deposit in the State Treasury. In assessing the amount of the penalty, the commissioner shall give due consideration to the size of the employer's business, the good faith of the employer, the history of previous violations and the failure with any other record-keeping requirements.

    (b) The commissioner must publish a quarterly report on all workplace accidents occurring at oil or gas drilling locations. The quarterly reports shall be available for public review, in writing and via an online format on the commission’s website.


    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the Oil and Gas Drilling Workplace Act. The bill provides a short title. The bill provides for rule-making. The bill sets forth the minimum requirements of the rules. The bill establishes the applicability of worker’s compensation and a potential loss of immunity. The bill provides special requirements. The bill requiring injuries to be reported. The bill requires quarterly reports and the reports to be public. The bill provides for monetary penalties.

    This article is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.

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