MACo Legislative Director Andrea Mansfield testified before the Senate Finance Committee today in support of SB 279 with amendments. A crossfile of HB 404 heard earlier this week, this bill would require a prospective bidder or offeror for a public works project over $100,000 to submit a public safety plan and an attestation that the plan meets certain requirements as part of the procurement process.
SB 279 is nominally the product of a workgroup that examined issues related to occupational safety and health plan prequalification and developed recommendations on these requirements during the interim. In speaking about the suggested amendments, Ms. Mansfield expressed concern that the bill’s requirements varied from the workgroup’s recommendations and that certain requirements could negatively affect small contractors and procurement officials. She further commented, “Larger companies may have staff to develop and monitor the rigorous safety plans envisioned under the bill, but smaller companies may not be able to afford staff or to contract out for this purpose, even if they engage in safe practices. The administrative burden of this requirement could make it extremely difficult for a smaller contractor to comply, disqualifying the contractor from bidding altogether.” MACo’s suggested amendment would increase the threshold to $1 million to better target higher risk projects and lessen the effect on smaller contractors.
Other suggested amendments would require the attestation of a safety plan be submitted to a procurement official at contract award, not as a part of the selection process; clarify that the completion of the safety questionnaire and additional safety measures do not impede work on a project; and protect local jurisdictions from any deficiencies in safety plans or safety-related issues that may occur at a worksite.
Ms. Mansfield urges the committee to accept these amendments to lessen the effects of this legislation on contractors and procurement officials.