COLUMBUS –State Representative Josh Williams (R-Sylvania) supported the passage of legislation through the House Wednesday that will establish safety standards for construction workers at Ohio oil refineries.
The Protect Ohio Workers Act will require oil refinery construction workers to have a minimum of three years of experience in an apprentice program, where they earned a Class A journeyperson certificate or 6,000 hours of trade experience earning a Class B journeyperson certificate. Workers will also be required to complete 30 hours of safety and health hazard recognition training provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and be proficient in English.
Lucas County is home to two of the three oil refineries in the state this legislation will be applicable to, both located in the 41st House District. An industrial accident at one of the refineries last fall has highlighted the need for additional safety measures.
“It was in September 2022 that two individuals tragically lost their lives in an incident at the BP-Husky Oil Refinery in my district” said Williams. “We have an obligation to try and prevent these incidents from occurring. With these training requirements, we can ensure contractors and subcontractors meet a minimum level of qualifications to perform the hazardous work at these facilities.”
To help prevent a shortage of qualified construction workers, the legislation will phase in the implementation of qualified construction workers. By January 2024 at least 65% of workers must be certified as a Class A journeyperson and 35% must be Class B journeyperson. By the beginning of 2025 Class A journeyperson certification increases to 80% and 20% must be a Class B journeyperson.
The legislation will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.