OSHA to Modify Hawaii State Plan Determination
Washington, DC (WorkersCompensation.com) - OSHA announces the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) decision to modify the Hawaii State Plan's "final approval" determination under Section 18(e) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the Act) and to transition to "initial approval" status. OSHA is reinstating concurrent federal enforcement authority over occupational safety and health issues in the private sector, which have been solely covered by the Hawaii State Plan since 1984. DATES: Effective September 21, 2012.
Background Hawaii administers an OSHA-approved state plan to develop and enforce occupational safety and health standards for public and private sector employers, pursuant to the provisions of Section 18 of the Act. The Hawaii State Plan received initial federal OSHA plan approval on December 28, 1973 (39 FR 1010) and the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH) of the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is designated as the state agency responsible for administering the state plan. Pursuant to Section 18(e) of the Act, OSHA granted Hawaii "final approval" effective April 30, 1984 (49 FR 19182). Final approval under Section 18(e) requires, among other things, a finding by the Assistant Secretary that the plan, in actual operation, provides worker protection "at least as effective as" that provided by federal OSHA. A final approval determination results in the relinquishment of federal concurrent enforcement authority in the state with respect to occupational safety and health issues covered by the plan. 29 U.S.C. 667(e). During the past three years, the Hawaii State Plan has faced major budgetary and staffing restraints that have significantly affected its program. Impacts on the state plan are clearly reflected throughout OSHA's recent monitoring reports. Joint efforts were made by federal OSHA and HIOSH to address these issues, yet Hawaii continues to face severe programmatic, staffing and training challenges. Therefore, the Hawaii Director of Labor and Industrial Relations has requested a temporary modification of the state plan's approval status from final approval to initial approval, to permit exercise of supplemental federal enforcement activity and to allow Hawaii sufficient time and assistance to strengthen its state plan. Hawaii has pledged to accomplish the necessary corrective action to regain final approval status in a timely manner. Hawaii's proactive efforts demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that workers are afforded adequate protection during this period of program strengthening and improvement. Pursuant to the procedures set forth at 29 CFR 1902.47 et seq., OSHA published notice of its reconsideration of Hawaii's 18(e) determination; proposed resumption of concurrent federal enforcement authority; and a request for written comments and opportunity to request an informal hearing on July 19, 2012 (77 FR 42462). That notice also contains a more detailed description of the Hawaii State Plan and the identified deficiencies. The 35-day comment period closed on August 23, 2012 and OSHA received four (4) written comments, including two (2) requests for a hearing. Decision Pursuant to the procedures set forth in 29 CFR 1902.47 et seq., the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health has made a final decision to modify the Hawaii State Plan's approval status from 18(e) final approval to initial approval, and to reinstate concurrent federal enforcement authority over occupational safety and health issues in the state, pending the necessary corrective action by the state plan in order to once again meet the criteria for an 18(e) final approval determination. Concurrent federal enforcement authority will be exercised in Hawaii effective September 21, 2012.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
For press inquiries: Francis Meilinger, OSHA Office of Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-1999; email: email@example.com.
For general and technical information: Douglas J. Kalinowski, Director, OSHA Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, Room N- 3700, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2200; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: OSHA Federal Register