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State and local government workers are excluded from Federal coverage under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the "OSH Act"). However, states operating their own state workplace safety and health programs under plans approved by the U.S. Department of Labor cover most private sector workers and are also required to extend their coverage to public sector (state and local government) workers in the state. Section 2 (11) of the OSH Act encourages states to develop and operate their own state OSH programs.

OSHA regulations [29 CFR Part 1956] also permit states without approved plans to develop plans that cover only public sector workers. In these states, private sector employment remains under Federal OSHA jurisdiction. Twenty-two states and territories operate plans covering both the public and private sectors and five states - Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and the Virgin Islands - operate public employee only plans.

States without OSHA-approved state job safety and health plans may voluntarily provide safety and health protection to their governmental workers. Many states without approved safety and health programs do provide coverage to public employees, to varying degrees, through programs that do not receive Federal funding and are not subject to Federal OSHA oversight. Some of the resources listed below may assist "non-plan" states in providing better protection to their state and local government employees.


reference icon 29 CFR Part 1956
State Plans for the Development and Enforcement of State Standards Applicable to State and Local Government Employees In States Without Approved Private Employee Plans

These regulations describe the procedures and requirements for the approval, evaluation, and operation of state public sector only plans.


reference icon 29 CFR Part 1952

Approved State Plans for Enforcement of State Standards

reference icon 29 CFR Part 1953

Changes to State Plans for Development and Enforcement of State Standards


reference icon 29 CFR Part 1954
Procedures for the Evaluation and Monitoring of Approved State Plans

These regulations describe the procedures and requirements for the approval, evaluation, and operation of state plans.


reference icon 29 CFR Part 1975.5

Coverage of Employees under the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970: States and Political Subdivisions Thereof

This regulation clarifies who is considered to be an employee of a state or political subdivision under the OSH Act.


reference iconOutline for the Submission and Review of State Plans
This outline describes the content and format of a state public employee only plan.


reference icon "State and Local Government Workers' Occupational Safety and Health Coverage in Federal OSHA States"
[DOL Office of the Inspector General Audit Report No. 05-00-001-10-001 (February 9, 2000)]
This report contains the findings of the Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General's audit of the safety and health coverage provided to state and local government employees in 29 states and territories which do not operate OSHA-approved occupational safety and health programs.


reference icon Directory of States with Approved Occupational Safety and Health Plans
This page lists the addresses of all states currently operating OSHA-approved occupational safety and health plans.

reference icon Specific descriptions of coverage of public sector employees are available for the following state OSH plans:
reference icon 40 CFR Part 311
These Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations extend OSHA's hazardous waste operations and emergency response standard (29 CFR 1910.120) to state and local government employees engaged in hazardous waste operations in states that do not have an approved state plan.