|OSHSPA Reports on State Plan Activities > 2001 OSHSPA Report > State Standards: Addressing Specific Hazards|
|State Standards: Addressing Specific Hazards|
The regulatory process can work more quickly at the state level, and state plan programs have set standards that have sometimes been a model and forerunner of standards later adopted or expanded by federal OSHA at the national level. Individual states and territories have promulgated standards addressing hazards specific to local industry, often involving labor and management representatives in the process.
Two examples of the ability of states to protect workers through standards addressing specific hazards are the ergonomic standards adopted by California and Washington, and the amendments to the bloodborne pathogen standard adopted by California, Alaska, Minnesota and Tennessee to protect workers from needlestick injuries. Other state examples are listed below.
Alaska, California, Hawaii, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia
Alaska, California, Hawaii, Iowa, Nevada and Virginia have permit requirements for asbestos handling. Iowa requires businesses engaged in the removal or encapsulation of asbestos to hold a permit for that purpose, and asbestos workers must be licensed. California and Nevada require pre-job conferences for certain high-hazard construction projects.
California also requires permits before an employer may undertake the following work:
California, Hawaii, Nevada, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Puerto Rico
California, Hawaii, Nevada, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon and Puerto Rico have state specific regulations on crane operations. Oregon requires certification for operators of cranes that are five tons or more. Maryland has a unique standard for personnel platforms suspended from cranes, derricks and hoists in general industry.
California inspects fixed and mobile tower cranes within 10 business days of receiving an application for an operating permit. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) inspects tower cranes–including freestanding, climbing, mobile and self-erecting tower cranes–twice a year. DOSH must be notified 24 hours in advance whenever a tower crane begins operation, is climbed or dismantled–and when a mobile tower crane begins operation.
A crane certifier who tests, examines or certifies cranes and derricks in lifting service that exceed three tons rated capacity is required to be licensed by DOSH, or to be approved by DOSH as a surveyor to certify cranes under the authority and supervision of a licensed crane certifier.
Puerto Rico requires crane inspectors to be licensed by its Department of Labor and Human Resources. This regulation was signed by the Governor of Puerto Rico in April 2000 and covers the manufacture, installation, alteration and repairs of cranes, inspection and certification of cranes, issuance of licenses and applicant’s requirements, expiration and renewal duties of licensed inspectors, maintenance of records and suspension.
Alaska, California, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming
Alaska, California, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming have state-specific standards on logging practices. Many of these states developed comprehensive logging standards in the early 1970s. Alaska also developed safety codes for highline, tractor and helicopter logging.
Though Minnesota has not adopted state-specific standards for loggers, the Loggers’ Safety Education Program administered by the Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) Division provides safety training in eight-hour seminars throughout Minnesota. To receive workers’ compensation premium rebates from the state’s Targeted Industry Fund, logger employers must maintain current workers’ compensation coverage, and they or their employees must have attended during the previous year a logging safety seminar sponsored or approved by the WSC Division.
North Carolina has a longstanding partnership with the North Carolina Forestry Association that includes training on tree felling safety, Logging Demo Day, Forestry Day, and participation in annual regional meetings of arborists and tree trimmers. The Southern Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture assisted the state in achieving its strategic goal of reducing fatalities relating to tree felling.
Since 1998 Virginia has implemented a Local Emphasis Program on logging as a cooperative effort among the West Virginia and Virginia area offices of federal OSHA, and other state and federal forestry agencies and associations.
With the assistance of an advisory committee of logging representatives, the Washington logging standard was adopted in a clear-rule writing style and updated to meet current industry needs. The scope of the standard was expanded to cover log road construction and other forest activities that use logging machinery and power saws. Under the revised standard each worksite must have at least one serviceable, operable two-way radio, phone or radio/phone combination available to reach emergency services. The regulation went into effect December 1999.
Washington, Utah, Virginia, Minnesota
In 1973 Washington developed a confined space standard covering all industries. Utah developed confined space entry requirements for farming operations in 1987. Before federal OSHA adopted its 1993 permit-required confined space standard, Virginia had maintained confined space standards for the general, construction and telecommunications industries since 1987.
In 1988 Minnesota adopted a confined space entry standard for construction and general industry that classifies all confined spaces from Class I, least hazardous, to Class III, most hazardous. Class I permits are issued annually, Class II and III permits at the time of entry.
Tennessee, Minnesota, Alaska, Michigan, Iowa, California
Many states had right-to-know laws before federal OSHA implemented the hazard communication standard in 1984. Although the national standard initially covered only manufacturing and later expanded, in Tennessee, labor, management, TOSHA, and the Tennessee General Assembly cooperated to expand coverage to all workers. The standard requires initial and annual retraining of employees, information to be given to TOSHA and to the public upon request, and notification and warning to firefighters to allow better response to emergencies involving hazardous substances. TOSHA personnel visited all employers in Standard Industrial Classification codes 20-39 who failed to submit required chemical lists. With this additional effort, over 98 percent of employers responded.
Minnesota’s employee right-to-know law, adopted in 1983, covers more than hazardous substances. It also covers harmful physical agents–such as noise, heat, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation–and infectious agents. MNOSHA has required training on all infectious agents, including bloodborne pathogens, since 1983.
Alaska’s hazard communication regulations cover noise and radiation in addition to workplace chemicals and hazardous physical agents. Alaska also publishes physical agent data sheets describing the hazards for employers.
Michigan covers piping systems containing hazardous substances, and requires employers to post employee notices on where material safety data sheets (MSDS) are kept, who to contact to review the MSDS, and notification when a new chemical hazard is introduced in the workplace.
From its inception in 1988, Iowa’s right-to-know legislation covered all industry sectors, including construction, as well as right-to-know laws for the general public and in public emergency response. California maintains an information system that alerts employers and workers to the dangers of toxic substances in the workplace.
Lead in Construction
Maryland adopted a comprehensive lead-in-construction standard in 1983 combining information, education and enforcement to protect construction workers. The state also requires laboratories to report high blood-lead levels. Virginia adopted a regulation to monitor lead contractors’ compliance with state and federal requirements for removal and disposal of lead.
Utah, Wyoming, Alaska
Utah adopted standards in 1980 that cover all types of oil and gas well drilling and servicing. Wyoming set regulations in 1970 covering oil and gas well drilling and servicing, and expanded its coverage in 1984 to include special servicing. Alaska also developed unique safety codes for the petroleum industry.
Vermont’s standard for electric power generation, transmission and distribution requires two qualified lineworkers whenever energized lines and equipment are involved. There are limited exceptions for work done in emergency situations and from bucket trucks. The standard also requires contractors to certify their lineworkers as qualified and to provide this information to utilities prior to starting work.
Virginia’s Overhead High Voltage Line Safety Act requires employers to work with the owners of overhead power lines to de-energize or guard power lines against accidental contact while work is being conducted around such lines. This standard includes employee training requirements.
Recognizing that the hazards of off-highway vehicles exist in industrial settings as well as on construction sites, Kentucky adopted safety standards for off-highway motor vehicles and equipment used in general industry locations. Minnesota adopted a standard in 1999 to provide protection to operators and ground crews working with and around mobile earthmover equipment on construction sites.
Cold Weather Shelter
Because Minnesota’s climate can adversely affect working outdoors at certain times during the year, Minnesota adopted a unique job-site shelter standard in 1978 that requires employers to provide heated privies and shelters for employee mealtimes and clothing change when working in cold weather.
Migrant & Immigrant Regulations
California, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, Virginia
Every California employer operating a labor camp is required to obtain a permit issued by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) or by a local government agency authorized to issue such permits. The employer must post or have available a valid and current permit. DHCD makes preoccupancy inspections as part of the permit process. After occupancy, inspections are made in response to complaints. Cal/OSHA cites the employer when a permit is lacking, and makes a referral to DHCD.
California’s Targeted Industries Partnership Program (TIPP) combines and coordinates resources from state, federal and local agencies to enforce labor laws and educate employers and their employees. TIPP currently targets the garment manufacturing, restaurant and agricultural industries, which have long histories of labor law, employment tax and safety and health violations. TIPP’s four lead agencies–the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Employment Development Department, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division–develop TIPP’s agenda and recruit other state and local agencies to participate in that agenda. TIPP has coordinated up to 12 agencies in a single enforcement action.
TIPP began operating in November 1992 as a joint enforcement and educational outreach program charged with bringing about compliance with state and federal labor laws. Many employees are recent immigrants without access to information concerning their rights as workers, or to the agencies that can help them with their wage and hour problems. Recognizing that farm workers who labor in fields remote from government agencies need special accommodation for their grievances, TIPP set up a toll-free telephone hotline staffed by bilingual professionals to receive farm worker questions and complaints.
Many businesses that violate the laws do so out of ignorance of their responsibilities as employers. As part of TIPP’s educational effort, after each inspection all the TIPP partners participate in a conference with the employer to disclose their findings and answer questions regarding the laws that TIPP enforces. During the inspection, TIPP investigators routinely interview the workers to answer their questions and to ascertain whether the employer is complying with the wage, safety and health laws.
For over 20 years North Carolina has been a leader in committing resources to provide protection for agricultural workers. The Agricultural Safety and Health Section of the North Carolina Division of Occupational Safety and Health conducts pre-occupancy inspections of migrant housing, and enforces OSHA regulations after the housing has been occupied. North Carolina adopted a field sanitation standard in 1983 that covers all migrant and seasonal farm workers, regardless of the number of employees engaged in hand labor operations in the field.
Oregon issues raised by OR-OSHA stakeholders during the 1999 growing season precipitated changes to the agricultural labor housing regulations. Committee members representing labor, the agricultural community, elected officials and affected state agencies revised regulations on housing and related facilities. Some of the changes are:
The 1999 Washington state legislature passed legislation requiring the Department of Labor and Industries and the Department of Health to adopt joint rules for the licensing, operation and inspection of temporary worker housing. The departments were required to establish a formal agreement identifying the roles of each agency with respect to enforcement of temporary worker housing rules.
The state departments working together with the U.S. Department of Labor, worker advocates and the agricultural industry developed regulations that will improve housing conditions for farm workers living in temporary on-farm housing during the harvest seasons. The single set of standards will be enforced by both agencies, avoiding the confusion in past years. The new rules will be stable and predictable so that growers and workers alike know what to expect.
Virginia’s field sanitation standard for agriculture ensures the availability of drinking water for all employees regardless of the number.
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