Wednesday, January 12, 2011

OSHA or State Safety and Health Standards?

Many states have adopted their own version of the federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements.  

The Question:  In developing specification standards for public contracts, do OSHA standards apply or should individual state safety and health standards apply?

Washington State Regulations:  In Washington State, where the legislature has adopted WISHA (Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act), there is a regulation that clearly addresses the relationship between OSHA and WISHA, noting that for most types of work, WISHA applies.

WAC 296-800-100 states the following:
The U.S. Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971 to develop and enforce workplace safety and health rules throughout the country. States may choose to run their own safety and health programs as long as they are at least as effective as OSHA. Washington state has chosen to run its own program and most employers in the state, therefore, are subject to enforcement by L&I and not by federal OSHA.

In Washington state, OSHA covers workplaces with federal employees, nonfederal employees working on federal reservations and military bases, employees working on floating worksites (floating dry docks, fishing boats, construction barges), and employees working for tribal employers on tribal lands.
Tip:  Check the regulations in your state as to how they relate to OSHA, and then make sure that your specifications accurately reflect which regulations are applicable.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog 
© 2011 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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