State Plan states to feel pinch of federal shutdown
Washington – State-run occupational safety and health programs are being affected by the federal government shutdown and have begun reducing staff and hours.
The federal government partially shut down Oct. 1 after Congress failed to agree on a funding plan and, as a result, the vast majority of federal OSHA operations have come to a halt.
State Plan states – which cover about half of U.S. workplaces – receive portions of their funding from federal OSHA via grants. Those funds were not renewed because of the shutdown, according to Butch Tongate, deputy secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Environment and the chair of the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association.
“Some states are starting to cut back to critical services,” he said in an interview with Safety+Health magazine.
As much as 50 percent of some State Plan states’ enforcement budgets comes from the federal government, as does up to 90 percent of compliance assistance funding. Although every state is in a different fiscal position, the vast majority will be affected by the shutdown, Tongate said. Some State Plan states have begun cutting employee hours, while others are furloughing employees.