The chemistry industry has serious concerns with House Bill 205 (HB 205), which could have devastating impacts to our workforce in Ohio's refineries. The bill, currently pending in House Homeland Security Committee, would implement an arbitrary hiring quota at Ohio refineries. This quota would mandate that our members hire at least 80% apprenticeship workers for construction and maintenance projects at their sites.
While OCTC is supportive of apprenticeship programs as an excellent pathway to develop skills and safety training in the construction trades, apprenticeship is not the only route to develop these important skills, and simply being enrolled in an apprenticeship program does not qualify an individual to work at our facilities. The only real impact of these quotas would be to provide a market advantage into the lead proponents of this legislation when it comes to procuring these contracts.
Ohio refineries and chemical manufacturers have the utmost regard for the safety of our facilities, especially the employees and contractors who work in and around our sites. The environmental, health, and safety protocols at our members’ facilities are robust, and our members work tirelessly to continuously improve the checks and balances that keep all our workers safe.
The potential consequences of unsafe work practices at our facilities are severe, and thus we take all conversations about worker safety with the seriousness they deserve. Our members create a culture of safety at our facilities, and we pride ourselves on a strong safety performance, including worker safety rate five times that of the manufacturing sector as a whole.
OCTC exists to educate policymakers and the public on the industry of chemistry. We do so using science, data, and facts. In the past, proponents of HB 235 have chosen to do the exact opposite. They have stoked fears about the safety of our facilities. They have used past incidents at refineries, stripped them of all meaningful context, and pushed a false narrative to tip the scales in their favor. These tactics are disrespectful to every individual who works in the industry of chemistry. Misinformation and other dangerous rhetoric has no place in a productive conversation about workplace safety. It is critical that the Ohio General Assembly take a stand against this behavior.
OCTC looks forward to continuing to work with our legislative leaders to oppose this harmful proposal.