Thursday, April 25, 2019

OSHA State Plans FAQ

construction workers
Understanding OSHA state plans is important to prevent unnecessary
penalties and fines for safety violations.

OSHA compliance is often discussed as if it's just one federal organization with one set of regulations; however, that it is not the case. Pursuant to Section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, states are allowed to administer their own safety and health programs as long as they meet minimum federal requirements. As a result, many states have their own safety regulations that employers and workers must comply with in order to avoid fines. In this article, we answer some commonly asked questions about OSHA state plans.

What are OSHA state plans?

OSHA state plans are health and safety programs administered by individual states. These state programs must be approved by OSHA as being "at least as effective" as the federal OSHA program; however, OSHA state plans are often even stricter than federal OSHA regulations.

How are OSHA state plans different from federal OSHA standards?
  • State plans often include state-specific requirements that address local concerns such as California's heat illness prevention regulations.
  • Federal OSHA does not cover public sector employees such as law enforcement agents and emergency medical responders; however, most state plans cover private and public workers.
  • State plans often have innovative local programs that promote worker safety.

Which states have OSHA state plans?

Currently, the following states have OSHA state plans that cover private and public workers: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington,  and Wyoming.

Additionally, the following states have OSHA state plans that cover public workers only: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

How does compliance work in states with OSHA state plans?

If you work in a state with an OSHA state plan, you must comply with state-level standards. Although federal OSHA regulations are enforced in all states, individual state plans often have additional requirements that must be followed.

How do penalties work in states with OSHA state plans?

Fines and penalties in states under state plans are similar to states under federal OSHA. One difference is that states can impose higher fines. Many states that have stricter standards than federal OSHA also issue higher fines than federal OSHA for safety violations.

If I live in a state with an OSHA state plan, how can I make sure my classes are compliant with the state?

If you live in a state covered by a state plan, there may be specific rules as to which safety training classes are accepted by the state. You can find more information about this on OSHA's directory of state plans. You can also browse safety training courses tailored for specific regions on Zack Academy.

To learn more about OSHA state plans, visit OSHA's website. To find approved safety training courses near you, visit Zack Academy. Zack Academy offers a variety of OSHA safety training classes both locally and online.