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CORRECTED ***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Workforce Protections Subcommittee to Examine OSHA and State Workplace Safety Plans

On Thursday, June 16 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), will hold a hearing entitled, “Is OSHA Undermining State Efforts to Promote Workplace Safety?” The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Act allows states to administer their own workplace safety programs if they are “at least as effective” as the federal safety program. This has provided states with the ability to make safety decisions that best address the unique needs of its workplaces. Today, 27 states and territories administer a State Plan Program for worker safety, covering an estimated 40 percent of private-sector workers and approximately 10 million public-sector workers.

In recent years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has increased its scrutiny of state plans, and the failure to provide adequate federal funding as required  by law has placed even greater strain on state budgets. Additionally, a March 2011 report by the Department of Labor’s Inspector General found OSHA has not been able to evaluate the impact of its own enforcement policies and therefore is unable to determine the effectiveness of state safety plans. This has left states without clear guidelines and may jeopardize the success of these important workforce safety programs.

Thursday’s hearing will give members an opportunity to review the findings of the Inspector General report and examine OSHA’s ability to adequately support state workplace safety plans. To learn more about this hearing, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.

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Elliot Lewis
Assistant Inspector General for Audits
Office of the Inspector General
Department of Labor
Washington, D.C.

Kevin Beauregard
Assistant Deputy Commissioner/Assistant Director
Occupational Safety and Health Division of North Carolina
Raleigh, NC
Testifying on behalf of Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association.

Peter Gerstenberger
Senior Advisor for Safety Compliance & Standards
Tree Case Industry Association
Londonderry, NH

Eric Frumin
Health and Safety Director
Change to Win
New York, NY