On Tuesday, Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) introduced the Ensuring Worker Safety Act (H.R. 4864), a bill that would allow the Secretary of Labor to review and order reforms to underperforming state Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) plans without first ordering their termination. Under current law, states may operate their own OSH plan or remain under federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) authority. States that elect to operate their own programs must demonstrate that their programs and standards are “at least as effective” as the federal framework. If a state OSH plan is found to be out of compliance with federal standards, OSHA’s only recourse is to terminate the state plan. The Ensuring Worker Safety Act would provide OSHA with greater options to hold state plans accountable.
Specifically, according to a press release, the bill would create a formal mechanism for the Agency to identify a problem with the state OSH plan and order remedial steps without beginning the process of terminating the plan. During this remedial process, OSHA would have concurrent enforcement authority. The measure would also direct the Government Accountability Office to provide a study every five years to review the effectiveness of state plans and the Secretary of Labor’s oversight of these plans.
This bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.
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