Late last month Federal OSHA announced that it has concluded its special evaluation of state-run OSHA programs under its jurisdiction. The reports provide detailed findings and recommendations on the operations of state-run OSHA programs in 25 states and territories. The review was initiated after a 2009 special OSHA report on Nevada’s program, identified serious operational deficiencies in that state.
OSHA indicated that it has found deficiencies including concerns about identification of hazards, proper classification of violations, proposed penalty levels, and failure to follow up on violations to ensure that problems were corrected.”
The report and appendices for each of the 25 states, as well as each state’s comment and fiscal year 2009 self-evaluation report, are now available on OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/efame/index.html.
States have 30 days to provide a formal response, including a detailed corrective action plan for addressing findings and recommendations. Each state’s formal response will be public information and available online as well.
The EFAME review also identified areas where states have adopted standards and procedures exceeding federal OSHA’s requirements, such as injury and illness prevention programs in California, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota and other states; the adoption of a cranes and derricks rule prior to OSHA’s in North Carolina, Washington and Maryland; and Oregon’s requirement that employers abate serious workplace violations during the contest period, a legal tool under consideration in Congress but still lacking in federal OSHA.
The review of the Hawaii program highlights significant performance problems resulting from staffing and funding cutbacks. OSHA is addressing these problems directly with the governor’s office. If Hawaii is unable to present a reasonable strategy for expeditiously improving its worker safety and health oversight, consideration will be given to the state’s current authority to operate its own program independently and could result in a federal takeover.
The 25 states and territories evaluated are Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. No reports are being issued on the Nevada and Illinois state plans; a special study was issued on the Nevada state plan in October 2009, and the Illinois state plan was not approved until September 2009. The status of each state’s efforts to improve its plans will be reflected in the fiscal year 2010 Federal Annual Monitoring and Evaluation report expected in 2011. For more information about those states operating their own plans, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/index.html.