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OSHA invites comment on pending approval of Massachusetts State Plan

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Washington — A State Plan covering Massachusetts’ state and local government employees is a step closer to reality after OSHA recently published a proposed rule outlining its initial approval.

An announcement in in the June 30 Federal Register states that the agency is accepting public comment until Aug. 1 and will schedule an informal hearing if one is needed to resolve any “substantial issues.”

If approved, the State Plan would cover about 434,000 public sector employees and 6,500 employers. Private-sector workers and federal employees would remain under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

 

“Massachusetts is committed to protecting the safety and health of state and local government workers,” OSHA administrator Doug Parker said in a June 29 press release. “We applaud the state’s decision to extend to public sector workers the same workplace safety protections as those afforded to private sector workers.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 doesn’t cover state and local government employees, but allows for states to assume responsibility for protecting those workers.

Each State Plan must include coverage of state and local government employees, as well as “operate an occupational safety and health program that is, or will be, at least as effective as the federal program,” the release states.

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