A bill introduced in March to the U.S. House of Representatives proposes to change the relationship between state and federal safety programs.
The Ensuing Worker Safety Act (H.R. 4864), introduced by Rep. Dina Titus from Nevada’s Third District, seeks to ensure that state Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plans are as effective as federal standards and enforcement. The goal is to revise federal OSHA’s either-or response if it finds a state plan is underperforming.
Under the current law, states can either create and manage their own safety and health programs or fall under federal safety standards. If they choose the former, they have to certify that their programs are at least as effective as federal OSHA.
However, if they are found by federal OSHA to be inadequate, then the federal OSHA has two choices: do nothing or terminate the program and control state safety, which eliminates state autonomy and increases the cost for the federal government.
The Ensuing Worker Safety Act would enable federal OSHA to:
- identify a problem with a state plan and compel a remedy without beginning the process for withdrawing approval.
- establish OSHA’s concurrent enforcement authority while a state plan is remedying deficiencies.
- keep federal OSHA accountable in its role to provide oversight and guidance to state plans.