Federal OSHA Tries to Make Updating State Plans a Little Easier

A newly published proposed final rule makes clear that OSHA wants to make it easier for State OSHA plans to make updates and changes.

OSHA says the new rule — which is scheduled to go into effect on October 19 of this year — is intended to “remove the detailed descriptions of State plan coverage, purely historical data, and other unnecessarily codified information” from documentation, and to eliminate any references to parts of a plan which “no longer apply.”

The proposed rule would also end requirements that State plans retain hard copies of approved programs, and clarify the definitions of “development step” and “developmental period” as used in the process of creating State OSHA plans.

States with State plans will still be required to submit annual copies of their plans to federal OSHA for review. However, they will no longer have to submit multiple copies.

According to OSHA, “the purpose of these revisions is to eliminate the unnecessary codification of material” and to “save the time and funds currently expended in publicizing State plan revisions.”

It’s important to note that these proposed changes will not impact the purview or power of State OSHA plans, and will not change the responsibilities of individual employees and/or employers. However, EHS professionals looking for more evidence of the trend toward State OSHA plans can probably find some here. As OSHA makes launching and maintaining State plans easier and easier, even more states may choose to take the plunge.

OSHA is welcoming comment and input on this proposed final rule until September 17. They can be submitted (citing docket number OSHA-2014-0009) at www.regulations.gov.