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This part contains requirements for Cooperative Agreements
between states and the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under sections 21(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.) and section 21(d), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Compliance Assistance Authorization Act of 1998 (which amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act,) under which OSHA will utilize state personnel to provide consultative services to employers. Priority in scheduling such
consultation visits must be assigned to requests received from small businesses which are in higher hazard industries or have the most hazardous conditions at issue in the request. Consultation programs
operated under the authority of a state plan approved under Section 18 of the Act (and funded under Section 23(g), rather than under a Cooperative Agreement) which provide consultative services to private sector employers, must be "at least as effective as" the section 21(d) Cooperative Agreement programs established by this part. The service will be made available at no cost to employers to assist them in establishing effective occupational safety and health programs for providing employment and places of employment which are safe and healthful. The overall goal is to prevent the occurrence of injuries and illnesses which may result from exposure to hazardous workplace conditions and from hazardous work practices. The principal assistance will be provided at the employer's worksite, but off-site assistance may also be provided by telephone and correspondence and at locations other than the employer's worksite, such as the consultation project offices. At the worksite, the consultant will, within the scope of the employer's request, evaluate the employer's program for providing
employment and a place of employment which is safe and healthful, as well as identify specific hazards in the workplace, and will provide appropriate advice and assistance in establishing or improving the employer's safety and health program and in correcting any hazardous conditions identified.
Assistance may include education and training of the employer, the employer's supervisors, and the employer's other employees as needed to make the employer self-sufficient in ensuring safe and healthful work and working conditions. Although onsite consultation will be conducted independent of any OSHA enforcement activity, and the discovery of hazards will not mandate citation or penalties, the employer remains under a statutory obligation to protect employees, and in certain instances will be required to take necessary protective action. Employer correction of hazards identified by the consultant during a comprehensive workplace survey, and implementation of certain core elements of an effective safety and health program and commitment to the completion of others may serve as the basis for employer exemption from certain OSHA enforcement activities. States entering into Agreements under this part will receive ninety percent Federal reimbursement for allowable costs, and will provide consultation to employers requesting the service, subject to scheduling priorities, available resources, and any other limitations established by the Assistant Secretary as part of the Cooperative Agreement.
States operating approved Plans under section 18 of the Act
shall, in accord with section 18(b), establish enforcement policies applicable to the safety and health issues covered by the State Plan which are at least as effective as the enforcement policies established by this part, including a recognition and exemption program.
[65 FR 64290, October 26, 2000]