Authority and scope. The Illinois State Plan for Public Employee Occupational Safety and Health received initial OSHA approval on September 1, 2009. The Plan designates the Illinois Department of Labor as the State agency responsible for administering the Plan throughout the State. The Plan includes as enabling legislation the Illinois Safety Inspection and Education Act (SIEA) [820 ILCS 220] and the Illinois Health and Safety Act (HSA) [820 ILCS 225]. Under the legislation, the State Director of Labor has full authority to adopt, enforce and administer all laws and rules protecting the safety and health of all employees of the State and its political subdivisions under the Illinois Public Employee Only State Plan.
Standards. Illinois has adopted State standards identical to OSHA occupational safety and health standards promulgated through September 30, 2005. The State Plan provides that these standards will be updated within one year of plan approval and future OSHA standards and revisions will be adopted by the State within six months of Federal promulgation, in accordance with 29 CFR 1953.5. Any emergency temporary standards will be adopted within 30 days of Federal adoption. The State will adopt Federal OSHA standards in accordance with the provisions of the Illinois Health and Safety Act [820 ILCS 225/4.1]. The Plan also provides for the adoption of alternative or different occupational safety and health standards by the Director of Labor, where no Federal standards are applicable to the conditions or circumstances or where standards more stringent than Federal are deemed appropriate.
Variances. The Plan includes provisions for the granting of permanent and temporary variances from State standards in terms substantially similar to the variance provisions contained in the OSH Act. The State provisions require employee notification of variance applications as well as employee rights to participate in hearings held on variance applications. Variances may not be granted unless it is established that adequate protection is afforded employees under the terms of the variance. The State has committed to amend its current variance procedures at 56 ILAC 350.40 to bring them into conformance with Federal procedures at 29 CFR 1905 within two years of plan approval.
Employee notice and discrimination protection. The Plan provides for notification to employees of their protections and obligations under the Plan by such means as the State poster and required posting of notices of violations. The Plan also provides for protection of employees against discharge or discrimination resulting from exercise of their rights under the State's Acts in terms similar to section 11(c) of the OSH Act. The SIEA provides that an employee who believes that he or she has been discharged or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of this section may, within 30 calendar days after the violation occurs, file a complaint with the Director of Labor alleging the discrimination. The Plan provides that the Director shall investigate such complaints as appropriate and make a determination within 90 days. If the Director determines that the provisions of this section have been violated, the Director shall bring an action in the circuit court for appropriate relief.
Inspections and enforcement. The Plan provides for inspection of covered workplaces, including inspections in response to employee complaints by the Department of Labor. If a determination is made that an employee complaint does not warrant an inspection, the complainant shall be notified, in writing, of such determination and afforded an opportunity to seek informal review of the determination. The Plan provides the opportunity for employer and employee representatives to accompany the inspector during an inspection for the purpose of aiding in the inspection and in the absence of such a representative, the right to interview a reasonable number of employees during the inspection. The Plan also provides for the right of entry for inspection and prohibition of advance notice of inspection. The Director of Labor is responsible for all enforcement actions, including the issuance of all citations which must specify the abatement period, posting requirements, and the employer's and employees' right to contest any or all citations. Although the Plan contains authority for a system of first-instance monetary penalties, in practice it is the State's intent to issue monetary penalties only for failure to correct and egregious violations. The State has discretionary authority for civil penalties of not more than $10,000 for repeat and willful violations. Serious and other-than-serious violations may be assessed a penalty of up to $1,000 per violation and failure-to-correct violations may be assessed a penalty of up to $1,000 per violation per day. In addition, any public employer who willfully violates any standard, rule, or order can be charged by the Attorney General with a Class 4 felony if that violation causes death to any employee.
Review procedures. Although the Director has statutory responsibility for both the enforcement and the appeals process (820 ILCS 220/2.4), in practice, Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) hear contested cases without any oversight or review by the Director. The State will make appropriate changes to its regulations and procedures to ensure the separation of these functions and the independence of the adjudicatory process within one year of plan approval. The Director of Labor will remain responsible for the enforcement process, including the issuance of citations and penalties, and their defense, if contested. Public employers or their representatives who receive a citation or a proposed penalty may within 15 working days contest the citation, proposed penalty and/or abatement period and request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Any public employee or representative may within 15 working days request a hearing before an ALJ regarding the reasonableness of the abatement period. Informal review prior to contest may also be requested at the division level. The ALJ's decision is subject to appeal to the courts.
Staffing and resources. The Plan further provides assurances of a fully trained, adequate staff within three years of plan approval, including 11 safety and 3 health compliance officers for enforcement inspections, and 3 safety and 2 health consultants to perform consultation services in the public sector. The State has assured that it will continue to provide a sufficient number of adequately trained and qualified personnel necessary for the enforcement of standards as required by 29 CFR 1956.10. The State has also given satisfactory assurance of adequate funding to support the Plan.
Records and reports. The Plan provides that public employers in Illinois will maintain appropriate records and make timely reports on occupational injuries and illnesses in a manner substantially identical to that required for private sector employers under Federal OSHA. Illinois has assured that it will coordinate with the Illinois Department of Health to expand its participation in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Annual Survey of Injuries and Illnesses to include public sector employers. The State will comply with the provisions of 29 CFR 1904.7, which allow full employee and employee representative access, including employee's names, to the log of workplace injuries and illnesses; and will amend its recordkeeping regulations within two years of plan approval. The Plan also contains assurances that the Director of Labor will provide reports to OSHA in such form as the Assistant Secretary may require, and that Illinois will participate in OSHA's Integrated Management Information System as well as it successor, OSHA Information System, once deployed.
Voluntary compliance programs. The Plan provides that training will be provided to public employers and employees; a separate on-site consultation program in the public sector will be established to provide services to public employers who request assistance; and all State agencies and political subdivisions will be encouraged to develop and maintain internal safety and health programs as an adjunct to, but not a substitute for, the Director of Labor's enforcement.
[74 FR 45114, Sept. 1, 2009]