News Release USDL: 96-382
Friday,September 13, 1996
Contact: Susan Hall Fleming (202) 219-8151
OSHA Proposes Final Approval For North Carolina
State Safety And Health Program, Comments Due
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) is seeking public comments by Oct. 15 on
its proposal to give North Carolina final approval
to operate its' OSHA independently from federal OSHA.
Federal OSHA enforcement was discontinued in
North Carolina in 1975, but after the death of
25 workers in the 1991 fire at Imperial Foods
Products in Hamlet, federal OSHA reasserted limited
concurrent federal enforcement until March 1995.
"North Carolina has made significant strides in
recent years in improving workplace protection
for workers within its borders," Assistant Secretary
Joseph A. Dear said in announcing the proposal.
"We are confident that North Carolina employers
and employees can continue to expect an effective
state OSHA program."
When a state receives final approval under the
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970,
federal OSHA formally relinquishes its concurrent
enforcement authority in the state.
To be approved for independent operation under
the OSH Act, a state must run an occupational
safety and health program that is found to be
performing in a manner at least as effective as
the federal program. It also must have a sufficient
number of safety inspectors and industrial
hygienists to run the program effectively.
Finally, the state must provide data to federal
OSHA on its activities.
North Carolina's program is essentially similar
to federal OSHA's. The state adopts standards
that are at least as effective as their federal
counterparts--usually identical--and the plan has
similar provisions governing emergency temporary
standards, imminent danger proceedings, coverage
under the general duty clause, variances, safeguards
to protect trade secrets, protection of employees
against discrimination for exercising their rights
under the plan, and employer and employee rights to
participate in inspection and review proceedings.
Contests of citations and/or penalties are handled
by the independent North Carolina Occupational
Safety and Health Review Board and may be appealed
to the North Carolina Superior Court and ultimately
to the North Carolina State Supreme Court.
The North Carolina Department of Labor administers
the state plan. North Carolina does not cover
railroad or private sector maritime employment,
employment on Indian reservations or military bases,
and enforcement relating to contractors or
subcontractors on any Federal establishment where
the land has been ceded to the Federal government.
Public comments addressing OSHA's proposal to
grant final approval to North Carolina should be
postmarked no later than Oct. 15 and submitted in
quadruplicate to the OSHA Docket Officer, Docket
No. T-031, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Ave.,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Each comment must
clearly identify the issues to be addressed and
the positions taken. Documents and evaluation
reports are public record and are available for
review. North Carolina will have the opportunity
to respond to all submissions.
Interested persons also may request an informal
public hearing on the proposed final approval by
submitting their request to the above docket by
Oct. 15. OSHA will determine whether to hold a
hearing by Nov. 14, and will publish notice of
the date and location in the Federal Register.
Decision on whether to grant final approval also
will appear in the Federal Register following
close of the comment period or certification of
the record if a hearing is held.
Notice of OSHA's proposal that the North Carolina
state plan receive final approval was scheduled to
appear in the Sept. 13 Federal Register.