Safe Solutions

Federal vs. state plans

As you know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) primarily is responsible for enforcing occupational safety and health laws. However, a state is entitled to develop and enforce its own laws regarding worker safety and health if its rules are at least as effective as the federal requirements. OSHA must approve state plans, which currently are in effect in 27 states and territories.

A state's failure to maintain compliance with federal requirements for its occupational safety and health plan can cause the state to lose authority to administer its own plan. A 2010 review by OSHA of all state plans has revealed some issues that may cause further agency intervention with some state plans.

State plan reviews

Problems associated with the Nevada OSHA state plan were the subject of a special review by OSHA in 2009 that reported failures to cite willful violations because of a lack of management and legal support; instances of clear repeat violations that were not cited; hazards that were not cited or even mentioned to employers; lack of construction hazard training for Nevada OSHA inspectors; and failures by the Nevada agency to ensure employers abated hazards identified during inspections.