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• Publication Date: 09/30/1991
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 56:49444
• Standard Number: 1955.5
• Title: Notice of Petition to Withdraw Approval of North Carolina State Plan

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1952

North Carolina State Plan; Petition to Withdraw Federal Approval

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Notice of petition to withdraw approval of the North Carolina State Plan.

SUMMARY: Pursuant to 29 CFR 1955.5, this notice publishes, for public comment, a petition filed by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to withdraw approval of the North Carolina occupational safety and health plan under section 18(e) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Public comment is sought specifically on AFL-CIO allegations and, in general, on the effectiveness of the State plan in assuring occupational safety and health protection to North Carolina workers. The comment period is 90 days.

DATES: Comments on the petition must be postmarked by December 30, 1991.

ADDRESSES: Four copies of written comments must be sent to the Docket Office, Docket No. T-24, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2626, 200 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210 (Telephone: 202-523-7894). Comments of 10 or fewer pages in length may also be transmitted by facsimile to 202-523-5046 (FTS 523-5046), provided that the original and three copies of the comment are sent to the Docket Office thereafter.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Foster, Director Office of Information and Consumer Affairs, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N-3647, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., (202) 523-8148.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Part 1955 of Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, sets forth procedures under sections 8 and 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C 657, 667) (hereinafter referred to as the Act) for withdrawal of approval of State plans which have been approved under section 18(c) of the Act and 29 CFR Part 1902. Section 1955.5 of Title 29 provides that any interested person may petition the Assistant Secretary to initiate proceedings for the withdrawal of section 18(f) state plan approval under the Act. The petition shall set forth the grounds for initiating withdrawal proceedings, and include facts to support the petition. The Assistant Secretary may publish the petition for public comment. 29 CFR 1955.5.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) wrote a letter to Assistant Secretary Scannell, dated September 11, 1991, in which it petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to withdraw approval of the North Carolina occupational safety and health plan under section 18(e) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The AFL-CIO stated that the North Carolina state plan "has failed to protect the safety and health of North Carolina workers" and asked OSHA to "promptly move to exercise concurrent jurisdiction in North Carolina."

In its petition, the AFL-CIO alleges that North Carolina is unable to fulfill its statutory obligation to provide effective health and safety protection to North Carolina workers. As an example, the AFL-CIO cited the recent tragic fire at the Imperial Food Products processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina in which 25 workers died. The union states that North Carolina failed to inspect the Imperial Food plant, despite it being in the category of "high hazard" operations.

Generally, the AFL-CIO alleges that North Carolina failed to enforce and failed to provide adequate personnel to effectively implement its state occupational health and safety program. The union notes the lack of sufficient inspectors on staff and failure to perform the requisite number of inspections. Specifically, the petition states that North Carolina failed to meet benchmark staffing levels established in 1985 to have 50 safety inspectors and 27 health inspectors. Further, the petition states that North Carolina failed to meet requirements underlying their 1985 benchmarks to conduct safety inspections of high hazard manufacturing establishment every 2 years and to conduct health inspections of establishments in industries with significant health hazards every 3 years. Additionally, the union claims that North Carolina has failed to classify violations correctly, failed to collect a large percentage of penalties assessed for violations, and failed to pursue worker discrimination complaints in a timely manner.

As part of the consideration of the AFL-CIO petition for North Carolina plan withdrawal, public comment is being sought on the specific allegations and the performance of the State plan in general. Concurrently with the comment period, OSHA will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the North Carolina state plan performance, and a decision to grant or deny the petition will thereafter be issued.

AVAILABILITY OF PETITION AND PUBLIC COMMENTS FOR INSPECTION AND COPYING:

A copy of the AFL-CIO petition and all public comments may be inspected and copied, during normal business hours at the following locations:

Docket Office, Docket No. T-24 U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W. - Room N2626 Washington, D.C. 20210 Telephone: (202) 523-7894

Regional Office U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA 1375 Peachtree Street, N.E. - Suite 587 Atlanta, Georgia 30367 Telephone: (404) 347-3573

Area Office U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA Century Station 300 Fayetteville Mall - Room 104 Raleigh, North Carolina 27601 Telephone: (919) 856-4770

Signed at Washington, D.C., this 24th day of September 1991.

Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary of Labor


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