STAND. COM. REP. NO. 477
RE: S.B. No. 936
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts, to which was referred S.B. No. 936 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC HEALTH,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to add a new section to the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Law to require:
(1) The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to disseminate information regarding seizure first aid to employers, employees, and the general public;
(2) Employers to post materials provided by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; and
(3) The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to adopt rules to implement the new requirements.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from ten individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
Your Committee finds that seizure disorders like epilepsy are evidenced by sudden surges of electrical activity in the brain that affect a variety of mental and physical functions. Your Committee finds that as of 2019, over fifteen thousand people in the State of Hawaii and over three million in the United States are living with epilepsy, and an additional ten percent of the population may experience a non-epileptic seizure in their lifetime. Your Committee also acknowledges testimony that seizures and strokes are becoming more common among individuals who contract the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The prevalence of epilepsy and other seizure disorders in our community evidence a need to provide workplace education regarding seizure first aid. This measure would ensure that information is available to members of the community regarding how to render first aid in the event of a seizure.
Your Committee also acknowledges the concerns raised by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations regarding this statutory placement of the new requirements set forth in this measure and the difficulty in implementing and enforcing them. The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Law, codified at chapter 396, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is administered by the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH). The jurisdiction of HIOSH is limited to ensuring that every employer furnishes its employees with a workplace that is safe and free from recognized hazards. Since seizures are currently deemed a medical condition and not a workplace hazard, HIOSH does not have the jurisdiction to enforce or require seizure first aid training for the public. Furthermore, since epileptic seizures or other seizures not directly caused by a workplace exposure to hazardous material is not considered a workplace injury or illness by state or federal standards, the cost of enforcement will not be covered by federal grants, and therefore must be fully funded by the State. According to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, the Governor has restricted state funds for the Department and further restrictions are likely to come. Based on the testimony from the Department, your Committee believes further discussion of this complex issue is needed.
Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Inserting an effective date of July 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 936, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 936, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts,
BRIAN T. TANIGUCHI, Chair