HIOSH Back on Track with New OSHA Agreement

OSHA and the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH) have worked together to strengthen the State Plan, and HIOSH has achieved the milestones established to resume practically all private-sector enforcement authority.

A new Operational Status Agreement between OSHA and the Hawaii State Plan is in operation, as of Sept. 28, 2017, specifying that Hawaii will resume enforcement coverage in the state's private sector.

Hawaii administers an OSHA-approved State Plan to develop and enforce occupational safety and health standards for public-sector and private-sector employers, but during 2009-2012, the Hawaii State Plan faced major budgetary and staffing restraints that caused the Hawaii director of Labor and Industrial Relations to seek a temporary modification of the State Plan's approval status from final approval to initial approval, to allow supplemental federal enforcement activity to take place and give Hawaii sufficient time and assistance to strengthen its State Plan.

Federal OSHA agreed and modified the final approval determination in September 2012, assuming concurrent federal enforcement authority over occupational safety and health issues in the private sector. Since then, OSHA and the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH) have worked together to strengthen the State Plan, and HIOSH has achieved the milestones established to resume practically all private-sector enforcement authority, OSHA's Federal Register notice stated.

The two agencies signed a new approval agreement on April 13, 2017, that explains the respective areas of federal and state authority. Among other things, federal OSHA retains coverage over all federal employees, contractors, and subcontractors at Hawaii national parks and on any other federal establishment where the land is determined to be under exclusive federal jurisdiction; private-sector maritime activities; private-sector employees within the secured borders of all military installations where access is controlled; the U.S. Postal Service, its contract workers, and contractor-operated facilities; and the enforcement of whistleblower claims. The Hawaii State Plan retains coverage over all state and local government employers and regains coverage over all private-sector employers not covered by federal OSHA, including marine construction not performed on vessels or other floating facilities.

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