House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed Representative Susannah Whipps (R-Athol) to serve as his designee on a special commission that will study the regulation of cutting, welding and other hot work processes governed by the state fire code to enhance the safety of the public and first responders.
Representative Whipps is one of four state legislators serving on the 11-member special commission, which will also include State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey, Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn, and five members appointed by Governor Charlie Baker with backgrounds in public safety and related construction trades.
“As the owner of a company that manufactures equipment for the water and wastewater industry, Representative Whipps is very familiar with the regulations and standards governing welding work,” said Representative Jones. “Susannah’s knowledge in this area will be an asset to the special commission as it considers potential changes to the current state fire code.”
As part of its investigation, the special commission will study the current requirements for issuing licenses and permits for hot work processes that are capable of initiating a fire or explosion to determine if these requirements provide adequate protections. The special commission will also consider the use of supervised details and firewatchers; the adequacy of fees to cover inspection, oversight and other municipal costs; the deterrent effect of penalties for violations; cost recovery assessment for damages resulting from the failure to comply with rules and regulations; the training and certification required to perform the work; and other ways to enhance work safety.
The special commission will file a report containing its findings, including any proposed legislation, by June 1, 2017.
A seventh generation Athol resident who previously served for nine years on the Athol Board of Selectmen, Representative Whipps was recently re-elected to her second two-year term in the Massachusetts Legislature. She represents the Second Franklin District, which consists of the communities of Erving, Gill, New Salem, Orange, Warwick, Wendell, Belchertown, Athol, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, and Templeton.