State Plan State

Editor's Note: Know the difference between OSHA and a state plan.

Melissa BoyceOverview: Under federal OSHA, states are permitted to come up with their own state plan in place of the federal plan to better take control of workplace safety issues in their state. To do so, a state must submit a proposed plan to OSHA and have it approved. Currently, over 20 states have their own plans.

To obtain approval, the proposed plan must be at least as stringent as the federal plan, but can also be stricter. Because federal OSHA does not include public workers, a few states have adopted the state plan just for their public employees and others have included public employees in their overall state plan.

Federal OSHA encourages states to come up with their own plan because of the lack of inspectors and budget within the federal program. To this end, it will even finance 50 percent of the budget on an approved state plan.

Trends: Many states go above and beyond federal standards regarding ergonomics, workplace violence, toxin exposure levels and written safety programs.

Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor

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HR guidance on complying with occupational safety and health state plans.