Most people are already aware that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) laws and regulations cover most private sector employers and workers in all 50 states, DC, and other US jurisdictions. However, it is less known that several states have their own specific OSHA approved state plans. These state plans are largely funded by OSHA but allow each state to set their own specific standards. Do not get too excited though, as each state plan is required to be at least as effective as the Federal OSHA laws and regulations, if not more so.
There are currently 22 states and US territories that maintain their own OSHA approved state plans:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
Please keep this in mind when evaluating the hazards present at your workplace. As a specific example, the California OSHA has much more stringent Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) for a variety of airborne contaminants than the Federal OSHA limits.
Another important factor to consider when discussing the state vs Federal OSHA programs, is that while they both apply to federal and private sector employers, Federal OSHA programs do not apply to public sector workers. State OSHA programs can either blanket cover the entire state, or even have specific rules and regulations that apply specifically to public sector employers.
Do you have any OSHA related questions? If so, please contact us using the form present on the “Contact” page.