OSHA, citing Covid failures, decides to remove three states from the Workplace Safety Authority.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said on Tuesday it was taking action that could deprive three states – Arizona, South ...


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said on Tuesday it was taking action that could deprive three states – Arizona, South Carolina and Utah – of their authority to regulate workplace safety, citing gaps in coronavirus protection policies.

Under federal law, states can take responsibility for workplace safety if the government approves their plan to do so and if the plan remains at least as effective as federal enforcement.

Federal officials said on Tuesday that all three states had not adopted a ruler that OSHA released in June – or adopt one at least as effective – requiring certain Covid-related safety measures from employers, such as the provision of protective equipment.

“OSHA has worked in good faith to help these three state plans come into compliance,” Jim Frederick, acting director of the agency, said on a conference call. “But their persistent refusal is a failure to maintain their commitment to the state plan to thousands of workers in their state.”

Emily H. Farr, director of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, expressed disappointment at the action, saying the state’s program had “been effective because Carolina South has historically had one of the lowest rates of injury and illness in the country. . “

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement his workplace safety regulator told OSHA he believed the state was already in compliance with the new rule and that it quickly launched a rule-making process to “review the mandate” after the federal agency informed the state that it was not in compliance.

Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox said in a statement that the state had previously expressed concern to the Department of Labor that the rule would place an undue burden on the healthcare industry. The state rejected the conclusion that its plan was less effective than the federal plan.

Twenty-eight states or territories have OSHA approved plans to enforce workplace safety. When no plan has been approved, OSHA retains primary authority.

The action comes as OSHA prepares to release a ruler forcing companies with 100 or more workers to require employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly tests for Covid-19. Some states have indicated that they will challenge the rule, although the legal basis for doing so seems weak.

OSHA, which is part of the Department of Labor, will post a notice in the Federal Register announcing its proposal to reconsider and revoke approval of the tri-state self-regulatory plans. There will be a 35 day comment period on the proposal before it can be finalized.

Seema Nanda, the attorney for the Ministry of Labor, said that as a result of the process, state authority to regulate occupational safety could be revoked entirely or partially, as with some industries.

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Newsrust - US Top News: OSHA, citing Covid failures, decides to remove three states from the Workplace Safety Authority.
OSHA, citing Covid failures, decides to remove three states from the Workplace Safety Authority.
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