OSHA Sets June 25 State Plan Meeting

The agency seeks comments at the informal stakeholder meeting about how to determine whether state plans are at least as effective as the federal OSHA program.

Registrations are due by June 11 from anyone wishing to attend an informal stakeholder meeting two weeks later so OSHA can obtain comments on how to determine whether approved state plans are at least as effective as its own program. The June 25 meeting will take place in Washington, D.C.

The OSH Act of 1970 encourages states to develop and operate their own workplace safety and health plans, with OSHA approval. The state plans' standards and enforcement programs must be "at least as effective as" those of federal OSHA; OSHA approves and monitors the plans, but how effectively it monitors was called into question in 2009, when Las Vegas newspapers devoted extensive coverage to construction fatalities in that city. Federal OSHA began its own investigation of the Nevada state plan and stepped up its oversight of all plans when it published its report on the Nevada program's deficiencies in October 2009.

Currently there are 27 OSHA-approved state occupational safety and health plans, including 22 states and territories that operate plans covering the private sector and state and local government employers and employees. Five states and territories operate plans covering public-sector employees only.

The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at U.S. Department of Labor headquarters, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Room N-3437. To register, send an email to Angela DeCanio at DeCanio.Angela@dol.gov, call 202-693-2239, or fax 202-693-1671 and label the request: "Stakeholder Meeting: Monitoring of OSHA-Approved State Plans." Registrants should provide name, address, phone, fax, email address, organization for which the registrant works, and the organization the registrant will represent (if different).

OSHA is working with the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association to examine OSHA's system of monitoring the effectiveness of state plans and to address a recommendation by the DOL inspector general for OSHA "to define effectiveness, design measures to quantify impact, establish a baseline for State Plan evaluations, and revise monitoring to include an assessment of effectiveness." OSHA's notice of the meeting said draft indicators will be available at www.osha.gov prior to the meeting.

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