In order to carry out the purposes of this chapter and to encourage voluntary compliance with occupational safety and health laws, regulations, rules and standards and to promote more effective workplace health and safety programs, the executive director acting in conjunction with the board of managers shall:
(a) Develop greater knowledge and interest in the causes and prevention of industrial accidents, occupational diseases and related subjects through:
(1) Research, conferences, lectures and the use of public communications media;
(2) The collection and dissemination of accident and disease statistics; and
(3) The publication and distribution of training and accident prevention materials, including audio and visual aids;
(b) Provide consultative services for employers on safety and health matters and prescribe procedures which will permit any employer to request a special inspection or investigation, focused on specific problems or hazards in the place of employment of the employer or to request assistance in developing a plan to correct such problems or hazards, which will not directly result in a citation and civil penalty; and
(c) Place emphasis, in the research, education and consultation program, on development of a model for providing services to groups of small employers in particular industries and their employees and for all employers whose experience modification factor for rate-setting purposes is in excess of the criteria established by the board of managers.
(a) Based upon and to the extent authorized by criteria established by the executive director, the commission is authorized to conduct special inspections or investigations focused on specific problems or hazards in the workplace with or without the agreement of the employer. The executive director shall issue a report on his or her findings and shall furnish a copy of the report to the employer and to any bargaining unit representing the employees of the employer. The executive director may share information obtained or developed pursuant to this article with other governmental agencies.
(b) For any employer whose experience modification factor exceeds the criteria established by the board of managers, the executive director may require the employer to establish a safety committee composed of representatives of the employer and the employees of the employer.
(c) In carrying out the provisions of this article, the executive director shall propose rules for promulgation which shall include, but are not limited to, the following provisions:
(1) Prescribing the membership of the committees, training, frequency of meetings, recordkeeping and compensation of employee representatives on safety committees; and
(2) Prescribing the duties and functions of safety committees which include, but are not limited to:
(A) Establishing procedures for workplace safety inspections and for investigating job-related accidents, illnesses and deaths; and
(B) Evaluating accident and illness prevention programs.
(d) An employer that is a member of a multiemployer group operating under a collective bargaining agreement that contains provisions regulating the formation and operation of a safety committee that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of this section is considered to have met the requirements of this section.
(e) It is not the purpose of this article to either supercede the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act program, federal Mine Safety and Health Act program or to create a state counterpart to these programs.
(a) The executive director may establish by rule a premium credit program for certain employers. The program is applicable solely to regular subscribers to the workers' compensation fund and not to self-insurers. Participation in any premium credit program is voluntary and no employer is required to participate.
(b) The program applies a prospective credit to the premium rate of a subscribing employer who participates in a qualified loss management program. The prospective credit is given for a period of up to three years: Provided, That the employer remains in the program for a corresponding period of time.
(c) The rule shall specify the requirements of a qualified loss management program and shall include a requirement that a recognized loss management firm participate in the program. A loss management firm shall be recognized if it has demonstrated an ability to significantly reduce workers' compensation losses for its client employers by implementing a loss control management program. The amount of credit against premium rates that may be allowed by the executive director shall vary from firm to firm and shall be primarily determined by the loss reduction success experienced by all of the subscribing employers of the sponsoring loss management firm over a period of time to be determined by the executive director.
(d) A credit is applied to the employer's premium rate for up to three years. The amount of the credit applied to the first year is based on the credit factor assigned to the loss management firm on the date the employer subscribes to the program. The amount of the credit applied to the second and third years shall be based on the credit factor assigned to the loss management firm and in effect on each first day of July of the pertinent year: Provided, That the applicable credit is halved in the third year.
(e) The employer may terminate participation in the program upon three years of continuous participation in the program without penalty. Sooner termination may result in a penalty being applied to the employer's premium rate.
(f) An employer who has subscribed to an existing program of a qualified loss management firm prior to the effective date of this section is subject to a reduction in credit as follows:
(1) Participation for one year or less shall result in credit for the full three years;
(2) Participation for more than one year but less than two years shall result in a credit for two years;
(3) Participation for two years or more but less than three years shall result in a credit for one year; and
(4) Participation for three years or more shall result in no credit.
(g) This section shall not become effective until the board of managers promulgates an appropriate rule to implement this section's provisions.