NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and no longer represents OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

Strengthen OSHA's Partnership with State Programs

Action: Increase the involvement of OSHA's State partners in developing and implementing national safety and health policies and redirect the focus of OSHA's monitoring of the States from counting activities to measuring results.

Background: Twenty-five States and territories operate OSHA-approved safety and health programs. These State programs cover 40 percent of the nation's workplaces, with the federal government providing partial funding for the States to implement their own job safety and health laws. State programs must be at least as effective as federal OSHA, but they do not have to be identical. This flexibility allows the States to serve as laboratories of innovation, experimenting with new methods for achieving workplace safety and health. At the same time, there needs to be a reasonable degree of nationwide consistency between federal and state programs. Thus, it makes good common sense for OSHA to work closely with the States in formulating policies which affect employee safety and health across the nation. This flexibility has allowed the States over the years to develop new and alternative programs.

  • Thirteen State programs have in place statutory or regulatory requirements for workplace safety and health programs.

  • Several States adopted standards for confined spaces, lead in construction, and hazard communication well in advance of federal action.

  • A number of States have in operation variations of the Maine 200 program.

  • Almost half the States contribute additional 100% funds above and beyond the available federal 50% match.

  • Many State plans have had access to Workers' Compensation data for years and use the information to direct their inspection and consultation targeting.

OSHA traditionally has monitored the States by looking at their activity levels and comparing them with the federal program. With State involvement, OSHA overhauled the monitoring process in 1994, reducing the number of activity measures from 112 to 48 and eliminating unnecessary reporting requirements. Efforts are underway to refine this system even further, shifting the focus away from measuring activities like inspections, and looking instead at the results of those activities, such as the number of employees removed from hazards.

Description: OSHA will increase its ongoing efforts to involve its State partners in the development of national policies through a number of means. The head of OSHA will regularly attend State plan meetings. States will be represented at all OSHA stakeholder meetings and they will be able to participate on internal taskforces, provide comments on draft standards, compliance policies, and other documents. To facilitate State involvement, OSHA will pilot an electronic mail system to allow immediate transmission of information and documents and will use teleconferencing and other communication technologies to obtain wider State input at lower cost.

States will participate in the ongoing development of an OSHA Performance Measurement system that is based on desired program results, not just activities conducted. This measurement system will then be incorporated into the agency's process for monitoring and evaluating State programs.

Implementation Plan: OSHA's involvement of the State plans in policy development is ongoing. The Electronic Mail experiment will be undertaken in the third and fourth quarters of FY 1995 and expanded in FY 1996. State representatives will participate in the development of an expanded Performance Measurement system during the remainder of FY 1995, and incorporating the measurement system into State Plan Monitoring will occur during FY 1996.

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and no longer represents OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.