• Record Type:
    OSHA Instruction
  • Current Directive Number:
    CSP 01-01-002
  • Old Directive Number:
    STP 2.2
  • Title:
    Definition of "Issue"
  • Information Date:
  • Standard Number:

OSHA Instruction STP 2.2 October 30, 1978

May 3, 1972

OSHA Program Directive # 72-15

To: Regional Administrators, Assistant Regional Administrators for State Programs, National Office Directors

Subject: Definition of "Issue"

1. Purpose. To further define the term "issue" as used in section 18 of the Act and in the State plan regulations, 29 CFR 1902.

2. Directives Affected. This supplements Program Directive #72-14 , "Standards Comparison Format for 18(b) Plans."

3. Explanation.

a. Basic Definition of "Issue".


The Act and the State plan regulations, 29 CFR 1902, define
the scope of a State plan in terms of "issues" with respect to which a Federal standard has been promulgated. The State plan regulations present a basic definition of an issue as "an industrial, occupational or hazard grouping which is at least as comprehensive as a corresponding grouping contained in (i) one or more sections in Subpart B or R or Part 1910 of this chapter, or (ii) one or more of the remaining subparts of Part 1910." Subparts B and R of Part 1910 primarily include "vertical" standards related to particular industries such as construction work (1910.12), textiles (1910.262) and pulpwood logging (1910.266). With the exception of agricultural these Federally defined vertical issues also include all applicable horizontal standards. Longshoring (1910.16) is a specific occupational grouping but is also closely identified with a particular industry. The remaining subparts of Part 1910 generally relate to "horizontal" standards, i. e. standards in broad hazard categories applicable to many or all industries. Examples are Subpart E - means of Egress, Subpart I -

OSHA Instruction October 30, 1976



Personal Protective Equipment, and Subpart L - Fire Protection.

b. Definition of Other "Issues".
The State plan regulations also provide that, for cause shown, a plan may be approved which relates to other industrial, occupational or hazard groupings with respect to which Federal standards have been promulgated if these other groupings are "administratively practicable" and do not conflict with the purposes of the Act. As indicated above, an industrial grouping is considered a vertical issue; that is, the standards can only be applied in the industry(ies) delineated. Hazard groupings, on the other hand, are considered horizontal issues, that is, the standards can be applied wherever appropriate regardless of the industry. Occupational groupings do not necessarily fall into either the vertical or horizontal categories. An issue which contains standards applicable to a given occupational group may be necessary in some special cases, but because of the difficulties such a grouping would cause in delineating Federal and State responsibilities clearly and the more widespread use of industrial or hazard groupings, it is not anticipated that occupational groupings will be widely used.


It is anticipated that most development of "Issues" different
from those defined in Part 1910 will result in the creation of new vertical issues, i. e. industrial groupings in addition to those in Subparts B or R. These vertical issues must be identifiable on the basis of Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes to be acceptable. The most desirable way for vertical issues to be defined is as combinations of SIC major groups, e. g. - "all Manufacturing, SIC Major Groups 19 through 39," or at least as single SIC major groups. Finer 3 or 4 digit SIC groups would tend to result in less efficient allocation of Federal and State inspection resources.
c. Requirements


The State may include more standards in any given issue than
does OSHA. For example, Subpart I- Personal Protective

OSHA Instruction STP 2.2 October 30,1978


Equipment, contains a number of standards relating to protective equipment, but by no means all possible standards relating to this issue. Therefore, if the State selects Subpart I as an issue, it is required to apply State standards which are identical with or at least as effective as all the Federal standards contained therein. Once the State has met this requirement, it can also include in this issue additional standards relating to personal protective equipment. The enforcement of those additional standards will also be eligible for 50% funding.


Where a State chooses to create new vertical issues, it will
be required to apply State standards which are identical with or at least as effective as all federal horizontal standards applicable in that issue. Once this requirement is met, the State may also enforce other standards in their vertical issue for which there are no federal counterparts and may be funded for their enforcement. However, these standards can only be funded to the extent they apply to the vertical issue; they cannot be funded when applied horizontally. An example of this would be where a State made SIC 33, Primary Metal Industries, a vertical issue. After the State includes all applicable horizontal standards they could also, if they wished; apply boiler safety standards in those industries (we have not presently promulgated boiler safety standard) and be funded for their enforcement. However, this would not allow for Federal funding of the boiler inspection program in industries not selected as issues.
d. Support for Different "Issues" and Other Differences in Coverage


Sections 1902.2(c)(2) and 1902.2(c)(3) of Part 1902 require
certain documents support for variations in coverage of the Federal standards. The necessity for such difference must be conclusively documented and in addition, they must be found to be administratively practicable, since areas lacking State coverage will be subject to Federal enforcement. This would include cases where definitions

OSHA Instruction STP 2.2 October 30, 1978


of "issue" create different vertical industrial groupings as a result of which the standards comparable to the Federal horizontal standards would not be applicable to all industries in the State. It would also include cases where certain groups of employers or employees are excluded from coverage under an issue that has been chosen.
At least two factors must be considered before the Assistant Secretary will approve a plan with different employer or employee exclusions and/or with different definitions of issues: (1) whether the separate areas of Federal and State responsibility are clearly defined and whether establishments under Federal or State jurisdiction are easily identifiable for scheduling inspections; and (2) whether the different issue definitions result in an acceptable or practicable division between separate Federal and State areas of responsibility in any given workplace.
Some States have asked specifically if they could exclude "home office" white collar employees in a separate location from a manufacturing plant. This would be permissible (different occupational groupings) their places of employment are reported separately so that Federal jurisdiction can be readily ascertained. However, exclusion from coverage in an issue under a State plan on the basis of number of employees will not be deemed practicable.

4. Action. Each Regional Administrator, through the ARA for State Programs, should explain to State designees the various options available in defining issues and the effect of each option on his State plan. Further, the ARA should help the State designee to define issues in such a way as to provide the maximum safety and health protection for covered workers and the most efficient possible division of effort between State and Federal activities.