Illinois' State Plan Gets Federal Aid
Using it, the state will hire more inspectors to visit public sector workplaces, part of its outreach to 1 million public employees.
OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels visited the Illinois Department of Labor yesterday to celebrate Illinois' approval as a State Plan. And $1.5 million in OSHA matching funds will give IDOL the resources to protect more than 1 million public employees, including schoolteachers, police officers, and firefighters. OSHA provides similar funding to 26 other state plans for safety and health enforcement, but the only other jurisdictions that regulate public-sector health and safety are Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and the Virgin Islands. Once a state plan is approved, OSHA funds up to half of its operating costs. Private-sector employees in Illinois remain under the jurisdiction of OSHA.
"As Illinois faces unprecedented budget challenges, this new federal funding is critical to ensuring the health and safety of public workers across the state," said Governor Pat Quinn. "It is vital to raise awareness about how to protect those who serve and protect all of us every day."
The State Plan designation provides new federal resources to:
- Hire more enforcement inspectors to visit public-sector workplaces
- Establish a separate consultation program to assist public-sector employers in providing safe work environments
- Increase awareness of health and safety issues among public employees and employers.
"This new federal funding will allow us to enhance our program to make Illinois public workplaces safer," said IDOL Director Catherine Shannon. "Illinois will now have additional resources to protect public employees from work-related injuries and illnesses and to educate public employers about maintaining safe and healthy workplaces, which will improve the overall quality of life for public service workers, and in turn, the communities they serve."