US Department of Labor proposes approval of Massachusetts’ occupational health, safety plan for local government workers

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today published a proposed rulemaking to approve a new occupational safety and health plan for Massachusetts state and local employers and their employees.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, state and local government employers are specifically excluded from federal coverage. However, the act provides for states to assume responsibility for occupational safety and health programs under the state’s own plan, which must be approved by OSHA. Each state plan must include coverage of state and local employees.

“Massachusetts is committed to protecting the safety and health of state and local government workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “We applaud the state’s decision to extend to public sector workers the same workplace safety protections as those afforded to private sector workers.”

If approved, Massachusetts would be the newest OSHA-approved state plan for state and local government employees. The plan would cover approximately 6,500 public sector employers and nearly 434,000 public employees throughout the state. Private sector and federally employed workers in Massachusetts would remain under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

This NPRM will have a 30-day comment period. Comments and requests for a hearing must be submitted by Aug. 1, 2022. Submit comments online at the federal eRulemaking portal. Review the Federal Register notice for submission details.

To be eligible for initial or developmental approval as a state and local government employee state plan, a state must be able to operate an occupational safety and health program that is, or will be, at least as effective as the federal program.

Learn more about OSHA.

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