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Grassroots Worker Protection
How State Programs Help to Ensure Safe and Healthful Workplaces  

cover page photos

1999 Report from OSHSPA

The Occupational Safety and
Health State Plan Association

OSHSPA Grassroots Worker Protection logo


State Plan Programs Covering Both Private and Public Sector
(21 states and two territories)



North Carolina










Puerto Rico




New Mexico

South Carolina

Virgin Islands

State Plan Programs Covering Public Sector Only
(Private Sector Coverage Provided by Federal OSHA)
Connecticut New York  

State Covered by Federal OSHA
(29 states and the District of Columbia)
(Private Sector Only – The Act does not provide the authority to cover public sector employees)





New York


West Virginia

District of Columbia




North Dakota

Rhode Island





New Hampshire


South Dakota




New Jersey*


*State Plan application in process

What Is a State Plan?

States and territories may elect to develop their own unique occupational safety and health program. These "state plans" are approved and monitored by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which provides up to 50 percent of an approved plan’s operating costs. A state plan program, including the job safety and health standards which employers are required to meet, must be "at least as effective" as OSHA. Benefits of a state plan include coverage for public sector employees, and the opportunity to promulgate unique standards or to develop innovative programs which address the types of hazards specific to each state’s workplaces.


The Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association (OSHSPA) links the 25 state plan jurisdictions, federal agencies with occupational safety and health jurisdiction, and Congress. The group holds three meetings a year, giving state programs the opportunity to address common problems and share information. It also provides information to states or territories that are considering application for state plan status. OSHSPA representatives have appeared before congressional committees and other bodies to report on job safety and health issues.


The OSHSPA Board of Directors would like to thank the state occupational safety and health programs for providing updates to the 1999 Grassroots Worker Protection report. The board and the state programs would like to thank the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries for editing, designing and producing the 1999 report. In particular, we want to thank staff members of WISHA Services, including:

Steve Cant, CIH, Federal-State Operations Manager
Janet Kenney, Management Analyst
Sharon Hills, Administrative Assistant
Kathy Sortor, Word Processing Specialist
and the Public Affairs program, including:
Jim Knutsen, Graphic Designer

Additional Copies

This report may be reprinted or photocopied for distribution. To request copies of this report, contact the state plan program in your state or territory. Contact information is included at the end of this report. The report is posted on the L&I web site at (Artwork and photos are copyright protected.)

U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for
Occupational Safety and Health
Washington, D.C. 20210
DOL seal

February 19, 1999

After more than a year as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, I believe now more than ever in the importance of the Federal-State partnership in administering the national OSHA program. Our 25 State partners cover 40 percent of the nation's workforce, and the strength and vitality of our unique relationship continue to grow.

During the past year, the 25 State plans have worked with OSHA in developing their own individual Five-Year Strategic and Fiscal Year 1999 Annual Performance plans. This initiative is the cornerstone of a new way of doing business - one where we are better positioned to identify the means by which we most effectively can address workplace injuries and illnesses and gauge our successes. All of us now are focusing our efforts on our own results-oriented goals. Some State plans have adopted their own individualized approaches; others have followed the OSHA approach. But we all share one common. goal, which is to: "Improve workplace safety and health for all workers, as evidenced by fewer hazards, reduced exposures, and fewer injuries, illnesses and fatalities."

Through strategic and performance planning, we are finding that there are many roads to achieving the same goal; and, by measuring outcomes and holding ourselves accountable, we will ensure success in providing the best possible protection to America's workers. This 1999 edition of the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association's Grassroots Worker Protection publication again highlights the major contribution that the States make to the national occupational safety and health effort as well as the many unique and innovative programs they have undertaken.


Charles N. Jeffress
Assistant Secretary


Sharing a Common Goal
      Map of State Plan States

Safety and Health Pioneers

Workplaces at Risk
      Targeting Through Data          Chart of Inspections/Interventions by Type
      Local Emphasis Programs         Cooperative Compliance Programs

Protecting Public Employees

Hazard Specific Standards
      Bloodborne Pathogens, Construction, Fall Protection, Firefighting,
      Lead, Confined Space, Cranes and Derricks
      Telecommunications, High Voltage, Off-Highway Vehicles, Cold Weather Shelter,
      Agriculture, Petroleum

Workplace Safety and Health Programs

Ergonomics - Fitting the Job to the Worker

Preventing Workplace Violence

Protection from Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Enforcing Workplace Safety and Health Standards
      Response to Complaints, Dual Employer Requirements, Discrimination
      Imminent Danger Restraint, Violations Resulting in Worker Deaths or Serious Injuries
      Chart of Violations by Type, Violation, Penalty and Contest Data
      Settlement Agreements, Penalty Collection

Voluntary Compliance
      Consultation Services, Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP)
      Training and Education Initiatives, Safety and Health Conferences

Innovations - The Heart of State Plans
      Electronic Access to Information, Partnerships
      Plain Language Standards, Employer Awards, Financial Incentives
      Strategic and Performance Planning

Commitment to Worker Safety and Health
      Chart of Program Funds by Source
      Chart of Consultation and Enforcement Positions,
      State Plan Coverage Data



The 25 states and territories which operate state plan programs share a common goal: a safe and healthful workplace for every worker through prevention of on-the-job injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Sharing the mission of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), they take responsibility for developing and enforcing occupational safety and health standards in their jurisdiction. These state and territorial programs cover 40 percent of the nation’s workforce, conducting enforcement inspections and providing consultative services. They also conduct free training and education programs, encouraging employers and employees to use safe and healthful work practices.

Section 18 of the federal OSH Act of 1970 says that "Any State which, at any time, desires to assume responsibility for development and enforcement therein of occupational safety and health standards relating to any occupational safety and health issue with respect to which a Federal standard has been promulgated under section 6 shall submit a State plan for the development of such standards and their enforcement." State standards and their enforcement must be "at least as effective" as OSHA in promoting safe and healthy working conditions.

OSH Jurisdiction Map

This map shows the states covered by federal OSHA (dark green) and the states and territories with state plan programs (light green). Connecticut and New York (white) supplement their private sector OSHA coverage with public sector coverage under a state plan agreement. New Jersey is developing a public sector state plan to supplement its private sector OSHA coverage.



As early as the 19th century, states created laws for worker safety. Soon after statehood was granted in 1837, Michigan adopted worker safety laws, and started a factory inspection program in 1893. Massachusetts issued occupational safety rules around 1875. Iowa began collecting worker injury and illness statistics in 1884, and also began inspecting factories in an attempt to reduce accidents. In 1889, Washington built worker protection into the state’s constitution, requiring the legislature to "pass necessary laws for the protection of persons working in mines, factories and other employments dangerous to life or deleterious to health; and fix pains and penalties for the enforcement of the same." California began operating a safety enforcement program in 1913. Oregon adopted a workers’ compensation law in 1913, which included provisions for the inspection of certain hazardous industries.

In 1936 the federal government passed the Walsh-Healey Act, providing some protection to workers performing government contracts. The Williams-Steiger Act of 1970 (better known as the OSH Act), provided nationwide standards for the occupational safety and health of America’s private sector workforce. Yet, many states had already established a long history of addressing worker safety and health. The OSH Act included a provision allowing states to operate safety and health programs. In fact, because of states’ efforts at developing innovative programs to address the specific occupational hazards found in their geographical region, and because all state plans are required to the extent allowed by state or territorial law to provide coverage to the public sector, state and territorial OSH programs have a unique opportunity to provide a high level of protection to all employees in their jurisdiction.

"It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may serve as a laboratory and try novel social and economic experiments..."

Louis Brandeis,
U.S. Supreme Court Justice,
(March 1932)
Justice Brandeis’ quote is the hallmark of state plan philosophy. Innovations are the heart of state plans. States have dedicated their resources to developing their own unique programs, becoming pioneers of innovative occupational safety and health concepts. OSHA has shown willingness to be a follower as well as a leader by expanding some of the tools developed and proved by states to the national level. This report describes just some of the many innovations and protections developed and implemented by state and territorial programs.



Targeting Through Data.   The foundation of an effective program is the ability to target workplaces that have the most hazardous conditions. State plans use a variety of data sources to direct their enforcement and consultation efforts toward establishments at risk, and those actually experiencing injuries and illnesses that may be prevented by compliance with safety and health standards. Site specific claims history rather than industry-wide data is a better indicator of which employers may have safety and health deficiencies.

FY 98 Onsite Visits by Type pie chart
Text Version of Chart: FY 98 Onsite Visits by Type
Type: Pie Chart
Graph Elements: 3 - Pie segments by type of visit based on the number of visits.
  • Total Compliance Visits = 55,563, 67.1%
  • Total Consultation Visits = 14,918, 18%
  • Total Training & Education Programs = 12,344, 14.9%

Washington was the first state in the nation to have both an exclusive state-fund workers’ compensation system as well as an OSH program (WISHA) within the same agency. This provides an unequaled opportunity to use injury, illness and claims data to identify hazardous industries and problem employers. WISHA targets employers for services coordinated by enforcement, consultation, education and training, and risk management. In 1994, Wyoming’s state plan operation combined with its workers’ compensation system, allowing it to target based on site specific information. Wyoming uses data such as experience modification rating, loss ratio (claims payments compared to premiums), and the number of claims compared to size of employment to schedule compliance visits.

Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services administers workers’ compensation laws, a non-exclusive state fund, and workplace safety and health programs. OR-OSHA merges workers’ compensation claim data with state employment data, targeting employers with accidents for workplace inspections. Utah’s Labor Commission administers a workers’ compensation system and non-exclusive state-fund, resulting in accessible information for effective targeting of industries and employers.

FY 98 Compliance Inspection by Type bar graph
Vermont uses workers’ compensation data to develop a safety inspection schedule, using information on the total number of injuries, the number of lost time injuries, and employment at the firm. North Carolina and Arizona have also developed inspection targeting programs which use workers’ compensation data to identify those individual employers with high rates of claims. Michigan pioneered a general industry safety inspection scheduling program that relies on survey data as well as establishment specific injury information.



Text Version of Chart: FY 98 Compliance Inspections by Type
Type: Horizontal Bar Graph
Graph Elements: 8 - Segments by type of inspection based on the number of visits.
  • Safety Inspections = 43,758
  • Health Inspections = 11,824
  • Accidents = 3,724
  • Complaints = 11,906
  • Referrals = 3,183
  • Scheduled = 30,862
  • Follow-up = 2,799
  • Other = 2,789


Local Emphasis Programs. In 1997, Minnesota OSHA initiated a local emphasis program to address perchloroethylene exposures in industry. A number of companies were randomly selected for inspection from a list of drycleaners and other industries reporting large use of perchloroethylene to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. In 1998, Minnesota added a local emphasis program for automobile body repair shops following a review of IMIS (Integrated Management Information System) data which revealed that more than half of all automobile repair shops inspected by Minnesota had received a citation, and that most of the citations were for multiple violations. Hazards most frequently found in auto body shops include isocyanate exposures, flammability hazards, and deficient spray booths.

In 1995, Puerto Rico’s PROSHO started a local emphasis program (LEP) for toxic gas release to identify and provide assistance to those employers whose industrial activities expose or may expose employees to serious toxic gas related hazards. Under PROSHO’s 1999 annual performance plan, LEPs will be started for trenching and excavation, tunneling and urban trains. Indiana has implemented an LEP on scaffolding that has proved to be very successful in identifying and controlling hazards. The typical scaffold LEP inspection now has four times the average number of serious violations compared to previous similar inspections.

Cooperative Compliance Programs.In 1998, Virginia implemented the Virginia Compliance Alternative Partnerships (CAP) program. The program targets employers with the highest workplace injury and illness rates, seeking cooperative agreements with employers to work toward the goal of a safer and more healthful workplace. A pilot program was tested in the summer, and the program is being refined with input from Virginia’s business and labor communities.

Minnesota implemented the Minnesota First program in 1996 for high injury rate employers with 100 or more employees. The program combines the core elements of partnership, employee involvement, and safety and health program development toward a goal of reducing injuries, illnesses, and hazards in the inspected workplaces. Employers who develop an action plan and improve their safety and health program are eligible for penalty reductions of up to 70 percent, a two year exemption from general schedule inspections, and access to a safety and health consultant for the length of the action plan. During the first two years of the program, the Minnesota First team conducted an average of 40 inspections. The list of possible participants for 1999 includes 89 employers.

California’s Cal/OSHA received funding under workers’ compensation reform for an expanded targeted inspection program, and a targeted consultation program with a more proactive focus. Consultation visits are offered to high hazard employers as an alternative to targeted inspections. The targeted consultation program emphasizes reducing the number of repetitive motion injuries (RMIs), including back injuries, and has developed model injury and illness prevention training programs to prevent RMIs. Iowa is currently formulating a cooperative compliance program which will take advantage of both their consultation and enforcement sections to better serve Iowa’s employers and employees.


picture of public workers PROTECTING PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

The OSH Act of 1970 specifically excludes public agencies of the states and their political subdivisions from coverage by OSHA. However, state plans are required to provide occupational safety and health protection to public sector employees. This is a significant requirement and benefit of the state plan programs. Some of our most hazardous workplaces are in the public sector – firefighting, emergency response, corrections, law enforcement, publicly-funded health care facilities, and transportation workers. Under a state plan program, public employees can receive protection equal to coverage of private sector employees.



States and territories develop standards addressing the specific hazards found in their local industry, often involving labor and management representatives in the process. The regulatory process can work more quickly at the state level when compared to the federal level. Standards set by individual state plan programs have sometimes been a model and a forerunner of standards that are later adopted or expanded by OSHA at a national level. Following are some examples of how OSHSPA states and territories have enhanced the safety and health of America’s workforce.

California revised its bloodborne pathogen standard to better protect health care workers from pathogens transmitted through needlesticks. Healthcare employees were required to begin shifting to devices such as safety needles with sliding sheaths starting January 15, 1999. The standard was enthusiastically supported by the California Nurses Association and the California Health Care Association which represents 600 hospitals, health systems and physician groups. Legislation has been proposed to require similar protection from needlesticks in Washington state.

Bloodborne Pathogens
Kentucky adopted a bloodborne pathogens standard which applies protective measures to blood exposures on construction sites as well as general industry locations. Virginia’s construction sanitation standard assures that construction workers receives a level of protection similar to that provided to migrant and farmworkers under the field sanitation standard. California requires employers to obtain permits undertaking certain types of construction work. Permit holders must then complete a Cal/OSHA notification form and send it to the district office where work is to be performed, before beginning construction activity. Nevada adopted a regulation requiring a pre-construction conference for certain high-hazard construction projects, and adopted the 1989 American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard for steel erection safety.

Washington formed the Construction Advisory Committee, an innovative melding of business, labor and government, in 1988. The CAC helped produce an industry-wide fall protection standard, embraced by all parties. In less than three years, compensable claims attributed to falls from elevation dropped significantly. Oregon similarly involved stakeholders prior to rule adoption, and established a common set of rules for all industries, with special alternatives for unique situations such as roofing. Kentucky promulgated unique standards for fall protection in general industry, not limited to construction. North Carolina’s fall protection requirements prohibit most free climbing in the electric power industry, except for wooden poles in specific situations.

Fall Protection
Virginia is working with a group of firefighters and local government officials to develop a negotiated safety and health standard for public sector firefighters. Initiated after Virginia’s adoption of a new respirator standard, and the tragic death of two firefighters in Chesapeake, this standard will cover the special circumstances and hazards regularly faced by public employees fighting fires. Working with recommendations from a fire service advisory committee, Washington developed and adopted a firefighting standard which took effect in 1997.

Monitoring inspections conducted by Utah between 1987 and 1991 at a copper smelter undergoing major construction activity revealed that both smelter and construction employees at the site were exposed to excess levels of lead. Lead exposure limits in the construction standard did not provide the same level of protection as the general industry permissible exposure levels (PELs), so in 1991, Utah included construction work in the scope of its general industry lead standard. That same year, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a health hazard evaluation study of lead exposure among lead burners at the construction site. The report findings were published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Later, when OSHA promulgated a lead-in-construction standard in 1993, Utah adopted the federal rule.

["Lead Exposures Among Lead Burners," MMWR 41(17):307, May 1, 1992. See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, NIOSH, "Preventing Lead Poisoning in Construction Workers," Hazard Alert, Publication No. 91-116a, April 1992, 19 pp. Available online at]

In 1983, Maryland adopted a comprehensive lead-in-construction standard, which is combined with information, education and enforcement to protect construction workers. The state also requires laboratories to report high blood-lead levels. Virginia has adopted a regulation to monitor lead contractors’ compliance with state and federal requirements for removal and disposal of lead.

In 1973, Washington developed a confined space standard covering all industries. Maryland’s standard, adopted in 1976, also covers all workers. Kentucky’s standard applies to construction as well as general industry operations. Utah developed confined space entry requirements for farming operations in 1987. Before OSHA adopted its 1993 permit-required confined space standard, Virginia had maintained confined space standards for the general, construction, and telecommunications industries since 1987. In 1988, Minnesota adopted a confined space entry standard, applicable to both construction and general industry, which classifies all confined spaces from Class I (the least hazardous) to Class III (the most hazardous). Class I permits are issued on an annual basis, and Classes II and III at the time of entry.

Confined Space
In Oregon, certification is required for operators of cranes that are five tons or more that are used in construction. Maryland has a unique standard for personnel platforms suspended from cranes, derricks, and hoists in general industry. California issues permits for erecting fixed tower cranes, and for operating fixed and mobile tower cranes. Cal/OSHA is required to inspect the cranes within ten business days of receiving an application for an operating permit, and to reinspect twice each year. Anyone testing, examining or certifying cranes and derricks in lifting service that exceed three tons rated capacity must be licensed as a crane certifier by Cal/OSHA, or must be approved as a crane surveyor who works under the authority and supervision of a licensed crane certifier. Cal/OSHA conducts unannounced audits of the activities of crane certifiers and surveyors at least once during each licensing period, and investigates any complaints or accidents.

After the investigation of a 1994 crane collapse accident which killed two workers and injured a third in Washington State, more than $21,000 in resulting penalties was used to improve worker safety and health through the formation of a Crane Safety Association (WCSA). This was the first time that penalty dollars assessed by the Department of Labor and Industries were returned to an industry to make it safer for workers. The WCSA continues to be active and responsive to the safety needs of the craning community, presenting three crane safety seminars annually. They recently presented a code revision proposal for the use of attached personnel platforms with cranes and a voice communications revision. WISHA is acting on these revision proposals through the rule making process.

Cranes & Derricks
The number of towers erected has increased tremendously over the past several years due to use of cellular phones and pagers. Recognizing the need for specific rules/guidelines to address this unique industry, Michigan has established an advisory committee of employers and employees to consider draft rules for tower erection.

Vermont’s standard for electric power generation, transmission, and distribution requires two qualified lineworkers whenever energized lines and equipment are involved. There are limited exceptions for work done in emergency situations and from bucket trucks. The standard also requires contractors to certify their lineworkers as qualified and to provide this information to utilities prior to starting work. The Virginia Overhead High Voltage Line Safety Act requires employers to work with the owners of overhead power lines to de-energize or guard power lines against accidental contact while work is being conducted around such lines. This standard also includes employee training requirements.

High Voltage
Recognizing that the hazards of off-highway vehicles exist in industrial settings as well as on construction sites, Kentucky adopted safety standards for off-highway motor vehicles and equipment used in general industry locations.

Off-Highway Vehicles
In Minnesota's cold climate, working out of doors at certain times during the year requires extra safeguards. Minnesota adopted a unique job-site shelter standard in 1978 which requires employers to provide heated privies, and appropriate shelters for employees to eat lunches, change clothing, etc. when working in cold weather. Cold Weather Shelter
Because of the serious hazards found in the logging industry, the states of Michigan, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming developed comprehensive logging safety rules in the early 1970s. Federal OSHA rules, which previously covered only pulpwood logging, were expanded in 1995 to apply to all logging operations. Alaska has developed safety codes for highliune, tractor and helicopter-logging.


Working with industry, labor, management and the state legislature, Washington changed its agriculture standards, providing the same level of protection to farm workers as in other industries. 1996 legislation required the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Labor and Industries to coordinate adoption, implementation and enforcement of a common set of worker protection standards (WPS) relating to pesticides. Both agencies adopted the federal EPA standards for pesticides. Through a memorandum of understanding, these two agencies along with the Department of Health coordinate workplace pesticide inspections. WISHA has responsibility for enforcing the WPS where an employer/employee relationship exists. The Department of Agriculture enforces all other components of the pesticide label.

Oregon enacted a law in 1995 establishing an inspection exemption program for small agricultural employers. By participating in consultation and training activities sponsored by OR-OSHA, insurance carriers, industry associations, university outreach programs, or private consultants, employers are exempt from routine scheduled inspections. The law established an Agricultural Advisory Committee that assists in reviewing the state-specific standards for the agricultural industry, and how they are administered. The State of Oregon returned registration of farm labor camps to OR-OSHA in 1995, and also transferred the administration of a farm worker housing tax credit program aimed at improving labor camp conditions.

In 1983, North Carolina adopted a field sanitation standard covering migrant and seasonal farmworkers. North Carolina’s standard provides coverage regardless of the number of employees, and requires pre-occupancy inspection of all migrant labor camps. Virginia’s field sanitation standard for agriculture ensures the availability of drinking water regardless of the number of employees. Arizona has a standard which bans the use of hoes with handles shorter than 48 inches. Since the rule went into effect in 1985, the short-handled hoe, which was common in the early 1980s and caused widespread back problems among agricultural workers, has almost become extinct. California, New Mexico, and Wyoming also have standards prohibiting the use of short-handled hoes.

In response to local needs, several states with significant oil drilling operations adopted regulations regarding well drilling. Utah adopted standards in 1980 which cover all types of oil and gas well drilling and servicing. Wyoming promulgated regulations in 1970 covering oil and gas well drilling and servicing, and expanded coverage in 1984 to include special servicing. Alaska has also developed unique safety codes for the petroleum industry.

Many states had right-to-know laws before OSHA implemented the hazard communication standard in 1984. Although the federal standard initially covered only manufacturing (and later expanded), in Tennessee, labor, management, TOSHA, and the Tennessee General Assembly cooperated to expand coverage to all workers. The standard requires initial and annual retraining of employees, information to be given to TOSHA (and to the public upon request), and notification and warning to firefighters to allow better response to emergencies where hazardous chemicals are involved. TOSHA personnel visited all employers in Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes 20-39 who failed to submit chemical lists as required. With this additional effort, over 98 percent of employers responded.

HazCom. or Right-to-Know
Minnesota’s employee right-to-know law, adopted in 1983, covers more than just hazardous substances. It also covers harmful physical agents (e.g., noise, heat, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation) and infectious agents. MNOSHA has required training on all infectious agents, including bloodborne pathogens, since 1983. Alaska’s hazard communication rules cover noise and radiation in addition to workplace chemicals, including eight hazardous physical agents. Alaska also publishes physical agent data sheets describing the hazards for employers. Michigan covers piping systems containing hazardous substances, and requires employers to post employee notices to advise where material safety data sheets (MSDS) are kept, who to contact to review MSDS, and notification when a new chemical hazard is introduced in the workplace. From its inception in 1988, Iowa’s right-to-know legislation covered all sectors, including construction. It also covers right-to-know for the general public and in public emergency response. California maintains an information system that alerts employers and workers to the dangers of toxic substances in the workplace.  



Workplace specific safety and health programs that stress management commitment and employee involvement are key to controlling hazards that can cause injuries and illnesses. These programs emphasize worksite analysis to identify actual and potential hazards, technical and administrative control of the hazards, and training for all personnel, including supervisors and managers. Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington require employers to establish a safety and health program.

California 1990 law requires all employers to set up effective injury and illness prevention programs. Employers must conduct periodic inspections of their worksites to identify unsafe conditions and work practices, and eliminate any hazards found.

Hawaii Requires written safety and health programs at all establishments.

Minnesota A Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction Act (AWAIR) of 1990 requires employers in industries with high injury and illness incidence and severity rates to develop a written workplace safety and health program. The Minnesota OSH Act was amended in 1995 to require employers of 25 or more employees to establish a joint labor-management safety committee. Employers with 25 or fewer employees must establish a committee if their pure premium rate is in the top 25 percent for all classes.

Nevada Requires employers with eleven or more employees to establish a written safety program. Employers with more than 25 employees must have a safety committee.

North Carolina Requires employers with a high rate of workers’ compensation claims to have written safety and health programs, and to establish formal safety and health committees.

Oregon In the 1987 workers’ compensation reform, Oregon required high hazard firms to implement workplace safety committees. This employee involvement approach brings labor and management together in new and meaningful ways. It is the foundation for many significant developments which produced an unprecedented seven year decrease in injury, illness and fatality rates and workers’ compensation costs. In 1990 a law passed requiring mandatory labor/management safety and health committees for most Oregon employers.

Washington Washington’s law requires every employer to develop a written plan addressing the hazards of that business. The plan must include a safety and health committee of employer and employee representatives, and training for employees in safe work practices. WISHA’s video, Staying a Step Ahead, helps employers and employees establish accident prevention programs without having to wait until a consultant can schedule an onsite visit.



Ergonomics is the scientific study of human work. Ergonomics considers the physical and mental capabilities and limits of the worker as he or she interacts with tools, equipment, work methods, tasks, and the working environment. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which result in staggering costs due to pain, suffering and lost productivity. MSDs are among the most common and costly occupational injuries and illnesses in the United States. Some states have cited ergonomic hazards under general safety standards known as "general duty" or "safeplace" standards, but more specific requirements, along with training and outreach programs, will help to effectively control these types of hazards.

California’s workplace repetitive motion injury (RMI) standard which took effect in July, 1997, is the first in the nation to specifically address musculoskeletal injuries which are caused by a repetitive job, process or operation. The Cal/OSHA ergonomics standard contains three independent requirements: photo of typing on keyboard
  • Workplace evaluation of each type of job, process or operation (such as word processing, assembly or loading);
  • Control measures to correct the exposures causing RMIs in a timely manner; and
  • Employee training.
The standard is enforced only when at least two employees performing the same type of job, process or operation are diagnosed with RMIs by a licensed physician within a 12 month period.

Cal/OSHA issued the first citations for violations of the ergonomics standard in December, 1998. The employer was cited for not controlling, in a timely manner, exposures that cause RMIs, and for not providing employee training. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Service has made numerous presentations and provides publications on workplace ergonomics, back injury prevention and MSDs to help employers and employees understand the scope of the problem and to establish preventive measures minimizing the occurrence of RMIs.

OSHA recently made public the first draft of their proposed ergonomic program standard. Several state plans are also initiating ergonomic rulemaking, including North Carolina and Washington. When an OSHA rule becomes final, state plans are required to adopt an identical standard, or a standard at least as effective as OSHA’s, within six months.

Although it does not have an ergonomic standard, Minnesota was one of the first states to examine and cite ergonomic problems in the workplace. They established an ergonomics team to conduct comprehensive inspections of selected facilities including a thorough review of injury and illness records, a complete walkaround inspection of the facility, and abatement recommendations. Minnesota’s current ergonomics special emphasis program is nursing homes, with a goal of identifying and reducing occupational hazards common to nursing homes through education, outreach and inspection. The ergonomics team developed written "Guidelines for Resident Handling in Long-Term Care Facilities" to assist health care employers in preventing/reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, and conducted outreach sessions for the industry. In 1998 the team began conducting random nursing home inspections to assess compliance with standards, and the employers’ efforts to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

Washington is addressing ergonomic hazards in several ways. In 1998, the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) initiated the HIP, or Hazard Impact Partnership program. HIP coordinates the efforts of L&I’s industrial insurance, WISHA, and risk management programs, focusing on specific industries rather than individual employers. Nursing homes were selected as the first focus industry. Proposed activities include:
  • Premium incentives for nursing homes willing to develop "zero-lift" programs;
  • Performing job modifications on open claims for nurses and nursing assistants;
  • Documenting best practices used in skilled nursing facilities and sharing the information through written aerials, paycheck stuffers, calendars, posters, and other media; and
  • Evaluation of the interventions to determine the effectiveness of each, and to see which can be modified and replicated in other industries.
L&I’s Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) program has received a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to complete the evaluation over the next three years. WISHA’s 1999 performance plan includes a goal of reducing the number of back and shoulder injuries by five percent in nursing homes participating in HIP.

Washington also held seven rule-development conferences in October, 1998, to listen to public opinion on work-related MSDs and their prevention. The conferences were designed to help identify issues, concerns and options that need to be considered before WISHA develops an ergonomics standard. WISHA formed an advisory committee to further ensure broad participation in the rulemaking process. Information and outreach materials are available at

North Carolina implemented a Cooperative Assessment Program for Ergonomics after conducting 40 inspections based on ergonomic related complaints. The program allows employers to negotiate agreements resolving ergonomic hazards before citations are issued. The agreements preclude the necessity of lengthy inspections yet provide the same assurance of abatement which would be achieved through a citation. The state has also taken a giant step toward reducing the incidence of cumulative trauma disorders through the creation of the Ergonomics Resource Center. The center was developed to supplement compliance activity which is often the most protractive method of eliminating ergonomic stressors in the workplace. In-plant consultative assistance, including education and training, helps reduce repetitive motion disorders among workers in a wide variety of occupations. The center was recognized by the Ford Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a finalist in the 1996 Innovations in American Government Awards program.

In 1995 Oregon established a unique worksite redesign program providing grants from workers’ compensation funding sources to conduct research and development in public and private sector workplaces. This joint effort of the Workers’ Compensation Division and OR-OSHA uses the ergonomic technical and prevention skills in OR-OSHA to assist employers in solving real workplace injury and illness problems, in ways that can be shared with other employers in the same or related industries.



clip art: violence Workplace violence is an occupational safety and health hazard that demands action. Whether the risk of violence comes from a co-worker, client, patient or the public, employees deserve a safe workplace. Employers must be provided with tools to develop comprehensive plans to reduce levels of risk. State programs are developing formal rules as well as voluntary guidelines to help employers prevent this type of workplace hazard.

Oregon has taken a strong information and training approach to create awareness and encourage action. By creating several publications and working directly with the Associated Oregon Industries and other groups, statewide education network training forums have addressed this emerging area. Cal/OSHA held conferences on workplace security in a drive to increase awareness of the issue, promote additional research, and develop guidelines requested by safety and health professionals for preventing workplace violence. If present, indicators of violence in the workplace require further evaluation. Although workplace violence is part of a larger societal problem, the employer is still required under the California Labor Code to provide a safe and healthful place of employment. Employers at risk of robbery or other violent assaults must address workplace security in their injury and illness prevention program.

Indiana has issued general duty clause citations on workplace violence. New Mexico settled a Section 11(c) discrimination case involving workplace violence. Two employees with a history of fighting were involved in a fight at work. One complained and was subsequently transferred 60 miles away to another duty station. The employer did not reprimand the employee who was the aggressor in all the altercations.

Minnesota established the Workplace Violence Prevention Team in 1993 to research workplace violence and recommend a course of action for MNOSHA. Members include staff from MNOSHA Compliance and Workplace Safety Consultation. An essential member of the team is the Violence Prevention Coordinator, a full-time state-funded position. MNOSHA Compliance answers questions about workplace violence and responds to complaints about workplace violence. One of several onsite investigations conducted in 1998 resulted in a citation under the general duty standard. The team developed an informational fact sheet, posted on MNOSHA’s website at

clip art Minnesota’s Workplace Violence Prevention Center, established in 1997, continues to grow and provides information to the public. The Minnesota Violence Prevention Program forms cross-disciplinary partnerships with other violence prevention programs to create a statewide initiative. Through a successful partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Institute and Education Development Center, Minnesota took part in a nationwide satellite training session on youth violence prevention, with over 2000 participants. In 1998, MNOSHA trained over 1500 employers and employees in 36 violence prevention training sessions at ten regional centers.

Washington developed safety and health standards for the late night retail industry in 1990, and uses enforcement and consultation resources to encourage hazard abatement and prevention. The Workplace Violence Awareness and Prevention workshop helps participants assess risk factors and develop preventive measures. A written guidebook covering these topics and a sample prevention program were developed by WISHA, along with over 30 representatives of labor, business and the academic community ( WISHA’s video Is It Worth Your Life? with real-life scenarios demonstrates what workers and employers can do to prevent injuries. The video is distributed to employer networks and associations and may be reproduced.

In 1997, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries’ Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) program completed a comprehensive study of workplace violence based on federal and state data for 1992-95 ( Homicide was the fourth leading cause of workplace deaths in Washington state, and most incidents were consistent with well-known risk factors. Most were committed by persons unknown to the victims and most of the victims worked in retail trade, security services or transit. The majority of non-fatal injuries also occurred in predictable settings, but in contrast to the fatal assaults, most of these injuries occurred in a setting where the victim and attacker were in a custodial or client-caregiver relationship, such as health care or social services. Especially notable is that while the trend for assaults against private sector workers in the state was downward, that for state government workers was rising. This study counters the notion that violence on the job is a random event, and consequently impervious to remedy. Prevention strategies, such as hazard assessment and de-escalation training, are available to address the risk factors in each work setting.



Several states now regulate smoking in the workplace and public access buildings. In 1994, OSHA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on indoor air quality, including environmental tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke), which would ban workplace smoking unless a separate, enclosed and ventilated room to contain smoke is in place.

photo of smoking In 1988, Vermont passed legislation prohibiting smoking in the workplace, or requiring that smoking be confined to a designated enclosed area. Each employer must establish a written smoking policy, or negotiate one through collective bargaining. The policy may permit smoking in a designated unenclosed area if 75 percent of the employees in the workplace agree, and if the layout of the workplace protects non-smoking employees from exposure. Vermont passed additional legislation in 1993, prohibiting smoking in the common areas of all enclosed indoor places of public access, publicly owned buildings and offices. Since 1995, only those businesses with a cabaret license and more than 50 percent of their income from alcohol sales may be designated as smoking areas. If a cabaret is part of a larger facility, the cabaret may be designated as a smoking area provided it is separately enclosed and separately licensed as a cabaret.

Washington’s Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) rule banning smoking in offices requires employers to either prohibit smoking or set up separately ventilated smoking areas. The regulation does not apply to restaurants, taverns, factories or other indoor work areas which are not office spaces. Most smoking complaints are handled by a letter to the employer, outlining the rule and requesting a response that describes corrective action taken. About ten percent result in an inspection, and a fraction of those are assessed a penalty. In 1994 a lawsuit seeking to overturn the rule was filed by a group of tobacco companies and three small state businesses. They lost in several early attempts to have the rule declared invalid. A trial was held in Thurston County Superior Court in 1996, followed by a ruling that the Department of Labor and Industries was within its statutory authority and fully complied with the law in making the rule. The ruling was appealed, and the case was argued before the Washington State Supreme Court in November, 1998. The Court’s decision is expected soon.

In 1994, Maryland issued a rule covering virtually all workplaces including the hospitality industry, allowing smoking only in separately enclosed and sometimes separately ventilated rooms. The tobacco industry challenged the law but in 1995, Maryland’s highest court upheld the rule, concluding that "significant risk" to employees’ health should be regulated. Later the Maryland legislature allowed less restrictive rules for restaurants, hotels, taverns and bars. Maryland’s governor has been recognized by the American Heart and Lung Association for leadership in protecting Maryland workers.

California’s statewide smoking ban went into effect in 1995. Any violation of the smoking ban is punishable by a fine not to exceed $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation and $500 for a third and subsequent violation within one year. The smoking prohibition is enforced by local law enforcement agencies including local health departments. Cal/OSHA is not required to respond to any complaint regarding the smoking ban unless the employer has been found guilty of three violations within the previous year.

Utah’s Indoor Clean Air Act also went into effect in 1995. It supersedes any local ordinances and prohibits smoking in all enclosed indoor places of public access and publicly owned buildings and offices. Exceptions apply to guest rooms in hotels and other lodging places, taverns, private clubs, or facilities rented for public functions. The first violation is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $100. The second or subsequent violation is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $500.

New York’s highest court ruled in 1994 (Johannesen v. New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, NYCTAPP, No. 89A), that a worker’s asthma, aggravated by exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke in the workplace, is a compensable injury. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board ruled that the employee had sustained an accidental injury as a result of the repeated trauma of exposure to secondhand smoke. The board’s decision was upheld by the state Supreme Court Appellate Division on appeal by the city agency.

In Iowa, legislation was enacted in 1979 prohibiting smoking in a public place or in a public meeting except in a designated smoking area. Persons violating the law are subject to a civil fine. Puerto Rico now prohibits smoking in public buildings and agencies, hospitals, and restaurants. Smoking areas must be clearly identified with signs and must have adequate ventilation systems to impede the movement of smoke from the smoking area to nonsmoking areas. Violations are subject to a $250 fine.

Hawaii has a state law prohibiting smoking during the hours of operation in group child care homes and centers, and family child care homes. Michigan also prohibits smoking in child care centers and in family day care homes during the hours of operation. In addition, Michigan prohibits smoking in a public place or at a meeting of a public body, except in designated smoking areas.



States use a variety of innovative tools to assure employer compliance with occupational safety and health standards. They also protect the rights of employees who file a complaint or who participate in workplace safety and health activities.

Response to Complaints. Most states now use the "phone-fax" method pioneered by OSHA to address some types of safety or health complaints. When a complaint is received that meets a state’s criteria for using this policy, the employer is contacted by phone. A follow-up letter is faxed to the employer, who is asked to investigate the conditions that are alleged to be unsafe. The employer must respond within a short period of time, usually five days. A compliance investigation may be conducted if the employer does not respond, if the response is not satisfactory, or if the state program deems it necessary. Many workplace hazards have been abated faster, using fewer program resources, by using phone-fax.

Dual Employer Requirements. Employees of temporary service agencies have often experienced higher than average injury and illness rates, frequently due to cases of inadequate safety training. California has adopted an innovative policy regulating dual employers – temporary help agencies and employee leasing companies. The temporary agency retains hiring and firing authority, and acts as the primary employer to contract with the employee, issue paychecks, and provide workers’ compensation coverage. The employee works under the supervision and control of another company, the secondary employer. The Cal/OSHA dual employer policy concerns safety and health hazards when the employee is stationed at the worksite of the secondary employer. The primary employer must ensure that the employee receives all required training, is provided with required personal protective equipment, and is covered by an effective injury and illness prevention program. If the primary employer meets all of these requirements, generally they will not be held liable for violations which expose the employee to hazards at the secondary worksite, in situations where the primary employer does not have supervision and control over the employee’s work activity.

Discrimination. Kentucky’s anti-discrimination law provides for reinstatement with back pay and other appropriate relief for employees whose rights to complain about unsafe or unhealthful working conditions have been violated. Penalties up to $10,000 may be assessed against the offending employer, and failure to pay them may result in the placement of liens. The employee may be reinstated pending a final determination by the OSH Review Commission or court, leveling the playing field in cases which might involve prolonged litigation.

Hawaii extends the time to file discrimination complaints to 60 days, and mandates their investigation to be completed within 60 days, allowing quicker remedies for safety and health "whistle-blowers." North Carolina’s discrimination law includes an extended time frame of 180 days for filing a complaint, treble damages, and attorney fees. In Vermont, employees who have been subjected to discrimination for a protected activity may file a private action in Superior Court seeking triple wages, damages, costs and attorney fees.

Imminent Danger Restraint. When a substantial probability exists that workplace conditions could cause death or serious physical harm, states respond quickly to protect workers. Washington can issue orders of immediate restraint, and can "red tag" any machine or equipment in violation of a WISHA standard in imminent danger situations. Minnesota, Maryland and Oregon may also issue a "red tag" which prohibits use of equipment or continuing an operational process until the hazard is corrected or removed.

Similarly, Michigan can authorize tagging of equipment or a process which is the source of imminent danger. The tag or "cease operation order" prohibits individuals from working in locations or conditions where imminent danger exists, except when necessary to correct or remove the imminent danger. Tags can only be removed after inspection of the equipment or process by a program supervisor. Vermont may close a workplace or a portion of a workplace where an imminent danger exists without obtaining a temporary restraining order. There is a $5,000 per day penalty for disobeying an order.

Violations Resulting in Worker Deaths or Serious Injuries. FY 98 Total Violations/Hazards by Type bar graph
Virginia law provides criminal penalties up to $70,000 or imprisonment up to six months, or both, for the first occurrence of any willful violation which causes the death of an employee. A second occurrence can double both the penalty and length of sentence. Virginia’s policy is to recommend criminal prosecution for manslaughter against any person whose flagrant, culpable and wanton violation of VOSH laws results in the death of an employee. Virginia has successfully prosecuted a criminal willful violation and a manslaughter charge.

Arizona statute directs the Industrial Commission to assess an additional $25,000 penalty against any employer for each employee who suffers permanent disability or death as result of a willful or repeated OSH violation. The following provisions must be met: the citation was a final order; workers’ compensation benefits were paid as a result of the employee’s permanent disability or death; and, the OSH violation did not result from employee disobedience. The additional penalty is paid to the injured employee or their dependents.

Text Version of Chart: FY 98 Total Violations/Hazards by Type
Type: Horizontal Bar Graph
Graph Elements: 6 - Segments by type of Violations/Hazards based on the number of Violations/Hazards.
  • Serious/Compliance = 64,047
  • General = 87,163
  • Willful = 341
  • Repeat = 2,186
  • FTA = 494
  • Serious/Consultation = 63,887

Minnesota law provides a penalty up to $25,000 where a serious violation has caused or contributed to the death of an employee. In cases with willful violations involving a worker’s death, Michigan law provides penalties of $10,000 and one year in jail for a first conviction, and $20,000 and three years for a second conviction. Maryland law permits criminal penalties for violations of standards covering work around high-voltage lines.

Average Number of Violations per Inspection
Total Penalties Assessed
Average Penalty per Serious Violation
Percentage of Inspections with No Violations
Total Number of Contested Cases
Percentage of Inspections with Citations Contested
28.7 percent
14.3 percent

Settlement Agreements. South Carolina pioneered the use of settlement agreements at the pre-protest or post-contest level. A typical agreement may obligate the employer to request training and education, to develop a safety and health program, and to conduct monthly site inspections. Indiana includes establishing a workplace safety committee in nine-point informal settlement agreements. In 1996, Oregon developed its first cooperative settlement agreement offering comprehensive consultation and employee training as a post-contest option.

Utah started a program in 1990 offering employers with fewer than 100 employees a modified one time settlement agreement to establish a safety and health program, which can be supplemented by an active substance abuse program. The settlement process provides the employer with education, training and consultation. The compliance officer is directly involved in providing information and assistance to the employer, and monitoring progress through documentation provided by the employer, or through a follow-up inspection. The goal of the agreement is to reduce injuries and illnesses, and workers’ compensation costs.

Virginia uses specialized settlement agreements in some cases involving fatal accidents, willful violations or employers with poor safety and health records. Employers may be required to:
  • Develop comprehensive safety and health programs;
  • Provide VOSH with monthly lists of active construction sites for inspection scheduling purposes;
  • Hire a full time safety and health professional to run the company’s safety and health program;
  • Implement comprehensive and specially targeted training programs for employees and supervisors;
  • Require the president or other high ranking management personnel to:
    • Attend safety and health training courses;
    • Periodically visit job sites to assure safe and healthful work practices; and,
  • Develop a disciplinary system which includes documenting violations of safety and health work rules, and progressively severe internal penalties up to removal of the unsafe employee.
To provide the incentive to continue focusing on safety and health issues after a case is settled, VOSH has also agreed to excuse a portion of the penalty if no violations of the items cited in the original inspection recur within a set number of years.

Penalty Collection. Minnesota law assesses penalties up to 125 percent of the original amount if not paid within 60 days after becoming a final order. After 60 days, unpaid fines accrue additional penalties until paid in full or until the fine has accrued to 300 percent of the original amount. In 1993, Utah simplified the debt collection process. Utah’s Act now allows filing a lien in the district court for an uncollected citation penalty. The filed lien has the effect of a judgment of that court. Kentucky can have a lien placed on all real and personal property of an employer when a citation has been upheld by a final order of the Review Commission.



Enforcement is only part of the answer to reducing the incidence of worker injuries, illnesses and fatalities. A wide array of services help employers voluntarily comply with safety and health standards. These programs include free consultation visits to employers’ worksites, Voluntary Protection Programs, training and education programs for employers and employees to teach them how to work in a safe and healthful manner, and conferences on safety and health topics.

Consultation Services. In federal FY 98, state programs conducted 14,918 consultation visits, identifying and directing the abatement of about 63,900 serious hazards. Connecticut offers on-site consultations to help smaller firms and agencies with limited expertise and resources to interpret complex standards or conduct testing and monitoring. No penalties are proposed or citations issued for hazards identified by the consultant. Utah passed a bill in 1995 authorizing 0.25 percent, or about $1,000,000, of the workers’ compensation premium for workplace safety and health programs, including consultation and training. Utah uses pre-construction conferences extensively for large projects. A single point of contact helps customers with their questions and concerns.

Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). Companies whose managers and employees are working together to build exemplary, comprehensive safety and health programs with proven performance levels are receiving local and national recognition through the VPP. Some states also offer the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), which provides an incentive for employers to develop a comprehensive and effective injury and illness prevention program that involves employees in a significant way.
  • Arizona adopted the VPP STAR program in 1995.
  • California has eight worksites participating in Cal/VPP.
  • Iowa initiated a program in 1992.
  • Kentucky certified its first VPP participant in August, 1997.
  • Michigan initiated Star and Merit VPPs. Effective January, 1998, these programs will be available to the public sector.
  • Since 1996, Minnesota has offered a program which combines elements of VPP and SHARP. The first two participants received certificates in 1997, with others working toward MNSHARP status. Large employers must agree to mentor two small employers to be eligible for MNSHARP recognition.
  • North Carolina initiated the "Carolina Star" program in 1993, recognizing companies whose lost workday case rate is 50 percent below the state average for that industry. Sixteen sites have received the award since 1994. The state is currently working on an additional recognition program level for companies that exceed minimum occupational safety and health requirements, but have not attained the most stringent Carolina Star requirements.
  • Oregon developed a VPP program with the help of a joint labor/management committee in 1997. Oregon has awarded Star status – the highest recognition available – to one site, and Merit status to a second site. Twenty-one Oregon worksites have been awarded SHARP certificates. Seven of the worksites have earned second year certificates. Over 100 more companies are working toward their SHARP designation. It is hoped that SHARP recipients will also work toward VPP participation.
  • During 1998, Puerto Rico received and evaluated three applications to the VPP program. Two employers were certified in the Guanín (equivalent to Star) and one was certified Cemí (equivalent to Merit). Puerto Rico also has a Taíno program, specially designed for small employers.
  • The South Carolina Office of Voluntary Programs implemented the "Palmetto Star" in 1994.
  • Tennessee’s consultation team implemented the Volunteer Star, VPP, and SHARP.
  • Virginia launched VPP and SHARP initiatives patterned after OSHA’s model in 1995.
  • Washington has one VPP "Star" site, one application in process, and several more expected by summer. Twenty-five more sites are considering applying for the program.
  • Wyoming now has two employers in its "Cowboy Star and Merit" program. The first entrant was the City of Casper, and the second is Chevron Production Company. Employers can also participate in the SHARP program, as well as the Wyoming unique Employer Voluntary Technical Assistance Program (EVTAP) which started in 1982.
Training and Education Initiatives. In federal FY 98, states provided 12,344 training programs for over 262,819 employers and employees on topics such as Confined Spaces, Hazard Communication on Chemicals in the Workplace, Trenching and Excavation Safety, Bloodborne Pathogens, Tuberculosis, Eliminating Ergonomic Hazards, and Violence in the Workplace.

Oregon provides over 100 workshops covering 35 topics to over 2,000 employers and employees each quarter. The topics include core areas such as safety committee operations, hazard identification, accident investigation, and more technical programs on traffic control and scaffolding. Oregon is the first state to bring interactive training on-line via the Internet. Five core workshops and two advanced workshops are offered through OR-OSHA’s web site ( Workshops on workplace violence and ergonomics will be on-line soon. Oregon residents can take the classes electronically, respond to questions, receive personal attention from a trainer, and receive a certificate of completion.

The state of Washington recently placed its first occupational safety training video on the Internet. Roofing Safety, the first in a series designed for the residential construction industry, promotes safe construction practices to help prevent injuries among roofers. The video was developed by WISHA safety professionals in partnership with the Construction Advisory Committee. It can be viewed at ( This innovative use of technology makes video examples of safe roofing practices instantly available to employers and employees with an Internet connection on their computer.

Iowa has worked closely with the OSHA Training Institute, a local community college and the international American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) group to provide nationwide training on such topics as confined space entry and lockout/tagout via their Interactive Communication Network. In addition, IOSH staff received training on electrical hazards through a pilot by the OSHA Training Institute via the same network.

In North Carolina, when logging related fatalities drastically increased, the state initiated a training program for industry groups that took the message of safety into the field where tree felling activity was actually taking place. This effort dramatically reduced the number of tree felling-related fatalities from 13 to three in a single year. North Carolina has also established a local training network through the community college system which uses local safety professionals to teach a variety of safety topics.

Virginia, in an effort to combat the rising number of injuries and fatalities among loggers, developed a voluntary compliance program in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Tech School of Forestry, and the Virginia Forestry Association. Safety and health training is provided at the logging work site. Loggers who request onsite training are contacted at home in the evening to establish a meeting time and place. Materials including safety checklists, a safety manual, and lists of logging injuries are reviewed with loggers. Group training sessions arranged by Department of Forestry regional representatives are also conducted for loggers and their families.

Virginia’s Consultation Services Program has developed and produced two training videos with a grant from OSHA. One video, Getting Started with Safety, outlines steps necessary to begin a safety program and the benefits of having one. The second video, Common Safety Problems, describes five safety problems common to most small businesses. Both videos are used to help small businesses establish effective safety programs. These materials are available for other state consultation programs to customize for their own use.

Recognizing that construction is an especially high-hazard industry, Minnesota established a bimonthly training seminar specifically for the construction industry. These Construction Breakfasts are well attended by construction employers, employees, and union representatives. Average attendance is 125 people. Discussion at these sessions includes an analysis of recent construction accidents, new standards, workers’ compensation, and other safety and health-related topics pertinent to the construction industry.

Through the cooperative efforts of the Associated General Contractors of Kentucky and the Kentucky OSH Division of Education and Training, free job safety and health training is brought to the construction worksite in a training van. Fully equipped with audio-visual equipment, this mobile classroom makes training accessible to more contractors and their employees while drastically reducing down time at the site.

Michigan is piloting ergonomics training programs throughout the state. These programs are conducted in cooperation with private sector professionals, drawing on concepts from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommendations, and building on initiatives by OSHA and NIOSH. In September, 1997, a training package was completed on "Elements of Ergonomics Programs," adapted from the NIOSH primer of the same name. It covers recognition of work-related musculoskeletal disorders; how to initiate ergonomic programs; building in-house expertise; gathering and examining evidence of problems; developing controls; and health care management.

The Safety Partnership Program (SPP) is a new training effort in Kentucky. It offers long-term assistance to smaller employers with a history of high injury and illness rates and high workers’ compensation costs. SPP helps employers to develop a proactive approach to safety and health management, thereby improving production, increasing employee morale, and significantly reducing workers’ compensation costs. Employers are required to make a three year commitment, and management as well as employees must be willing to fully participate. Participants are assigned a team of safety and health consultants from Kentucky’s Division of Education and Training, and receive top priority over all other training service requests. Once requirements for SPP are fulfilled, employers can apply for the Voluntary Protection Partnership (VPP).

Because the demand for training in employer workplaces is so high, Puerto Rico is delivering training and conference sessions open to general audiences in different towns on the island. Information on each session is published in the newspaper, reaching and benefiting a higher number of employers, employees, students, and the general public. New York recognizes that many public employers need help complying with regulations that require a written program. They have developed model programs to help employers comply with the bloodborne pathogen and permit-required confined space standards.

Wyoming developed four training programs for specific segments of the current and future workforce:
  • The Three-Day Collateral Duty Health and Safety Program is for personnel who have safety duties in addition to their primary ones.
  • The Management Safety Seminar is directed toward the corporate officers and owners of businesses.
  • The Construction Safety Program was developed for foremen, superintendents, and safety personnel.
  • Industrial Technology Safety Training is for students from the junior high school level through the community college level, to increase future workers’ safety and health awareness.
Maryland provides training on three readily preventable causes of fatalities – trenching, electrical and fall hazards. This Fatality Prevention Program, which was first offered to other state and local inspection agencies, is an effective way to train public sector inspectors in the identification and avoidance of hazards, increasing the effectiveness of construction inspections. The Fatality Prevention Seminars continue to be extremely popular and to draw from private sector employers as well as from the public sector.

photo of conference Safety and Health Conferences. A number of states hold a Governor’s Safety and Health Conference. For 26 years Iowa has held an annual Governor’s Conference. The Conference is organized by a committee that includes representatives from labor, industry, and the public sector, and draws attendance from many segments of the population. Nationally known speakers are featured. The Conference is so successful that the Committee has established scholarships totaling $9,500 for seven college students who are majoring in safety and health areas.

Oregon’s Biennial Governor’s Conference draws over 3,000 participants to the Convention Center in Portland. Additional education with a conference format is offered in all the geographical regions of the state, as well as a second major conference every other year in Eugene. Washington’s annual Governor’s Conference, ongoing since 1949, is approaching 50 years. In 1997, for the first time, OSHA’s Region X conference was combined with the Governor’s conference. Over 3,000 people attended, with 147 exhibits. The annual conference alternates between Western Washington (Seattle) and Eastern Washington (Spokane).

Kentucky’s annual Governor’s Conference was first held in 1985. This joint effort of business, labor, government and academia is facilitated by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet and the Kentucky Safety and Health Network. It averages 50 sessions, 115 exhibitors, and 1800 participants. Complementing the Governor’s Conference which is held in Louisville each Spring, are mid-year symposiums offered at a variety of locations throughout the Commonwealth during the late Fall.

Maryland OSHI along with its safety council and a number of safety organizations sponsors an annual safety and health conference. The conference draws an average of 500 people each year. Puerto Rico has an annual three-day safety and health conference with workshops designed to help understand compliance requirements and update professionals in safety and health and related disciplines. Virginia successfully hosted its first annual safety and health conference in Richmond in 1996. The conference brought employers, employees, and associations together to discuss current safety and health initiatives in Virginia.

The Tennessee Safety Congress, sponsored by TOSHA and the Tennessee Chapters of the American Society of Safety Engineers, is an assembly of safety and health professionals meeting to share information and ideas to develop programs and educational techniques that promote good workplace safety and health practices. The Congress has grown and become nationally recognized for its high quality and diverse activities.

For more than 40 years, Michigan has sponsored an annual industrial ventilation conference focusing on effective and economical industrial ventilation systems. This week long conference is staffed by some of the most notable ventilation experts in the United States and Canada. It combines general sessions and small classroom experiences to share general ventilation information and the latest control technologies.



Many states have created unique safety and health initiatives which build partnerships, reward responsible employers, and use innovative methods of leveraging program resources to reach even greater numbers of employers, employees and worksites. These innovations demonstrate the commitment of the states and territories to continually develop effective and responsive programs which improve workplace safety and health.

Electronic Access to Information. Many state plan states are following federal OSHA’s lead in providing electronic access to occupational safety and health information via the Internet. These web sites provide a wealth of program and reference information day and night, from any location with computerized access. Users retrieve standards, policy manuals, information on appeal rights, public hearing notices, and material safety data sheets (MSDS) from terminals in their workplaces, homes, schools and libraries. In some states, the public can read proposed rule changes on the Internet, and comment by e-mail. Web resources are expanding beyond static information to include interactive on-line training (Oregon), and safety training videos that can be played directly over the Internet (Washington). State plan web sites are listed in the directory at the end of this report.

Partnerships. The Oregon construction industry and OR-OSHA are working together to reduce construction injuries and fatalities. The Joint Emphasis Program (JEP) is a cooperative effort between management, labor and government to design and implement focused joint training sessions. The goals of JEP are to focus on hazards, design a curriculum, provide training to safety personnel, foremen, supervisors and OR-OSHA staff, and to communicate the problems and solutions to the industry and public through outreach efforts. Initial training will target fall hazards in roofing, scaffolding, elevated areas, and excavations.

The MIOSHA program, a number of labor organizations, and the Michigan Department of Transportation worked together to develop contract specifications to enhance worker health and safety on a very large international bridge refurbishing project. The project, which entails closing the bridge for 18 months, will include safety and health requirements that go beyond current rules. If proven successful at minimizing accidents, injuries and exposures, the specifications may serve as a model for future projects in Michigan. Minnesota initiated a pilot partnership program with an electrical utility and its union. An agreement was signed to exempt this utility from general scheduled inspections for one year after it passed a thorough evaluation by the MNOSHA Electrical Utilities Team.

Virginia’s Safety Network programs were designed to link large businesses with small businesses to promote workplace safety through shared expertise and resources. Begun in 1993 as the Blue Ridge Safety Network, this program has grown to include eight local chapters covering nearly half of Virginia. Two hundred thirty employers participate in the networks, which provided 39 training seminars in 1998. Kentucky organized a private, non-profit Safety and Health Network with participants representing business, labor, government and academia. Their mission is to increase awareness of safety and health in the workplace through educational programs, scholarships and endowments, as well as through statewide symposiums.

Tennessee uses an approach that has yielded tremendous benefits: Industry-TOSHA discussion groups when new standards and requirements are proposed, such as Bloodborne Pathogens, Hazard Communication, and Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution standards.

Plain Language Standards. Rules written in plain language, not cumbersome bureaucratic language, are easier to understand and follow. Washington has been using clear rule writing principles for several years, and has published several standards in the new format. A two day class is available to agency staff who work with rules. Clearly written rules eliminate repetitive language, reduce cross-referencing and bureaucratic wording, simplify the overall outline structure, refer to the employer as "you," use questions for titles, and reduce large sections into smaller single topics. WISHA requested funds from the 1999 Washington State Legislature to redesign the WISHA standards, including a user’s guide, table of contents, core rules, general rules, industry rules, index, and compliance guides for small businesses. If funding is approved, the innovative format will promote consistent application and greater levels of voluntary compliance.

Employer Awards. Michigan recognizes employers who have taken measurable steps to address ergonomic related hazards. These include the Ergonomic Innovation Awards and the Ergonomic Success Awards for improvements which reduce worker strain, have substantially reduced traumatic strain/sprain injuries and cumulative trauma disorders. The awards also encourage the development of ergonomic ideas which can be shared with others.

Kentucky has refined its Governor’s Safety and Health Awards Program by introducing a graduated system which allows employers of all sizes and their workers to be recognized for their accomplishments in preventing occupational injuries and illnesses. This year, Indiana’s Department of Labor and the Hoosier Safety Council are co-sponsoring the inaugural Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards. All Indiana businesses, industrial facilities, individuals, institutions, municipalities, schools, service organizations, trade unions, and nonprofit organizations are eligible. Award categories include Innovations, Partnerships, Education and Outreach, and Technology Transfer.

Financial Incentives. Since 1993, Wyoming has given employers a 75 percent penalty reduction if they successfully reduce their workers’ compensation claims by 25 percent over a 12 month period. About 60 percent of employers have met their 25 percent reduction goal, with another 20 percent making some reduction. Wyoming also offers employers a 50 percent penalty reduction if they fix hazards the same day. Many employers have taken advantage of this, working well into the night to fix problems. A recent innovative option is to waive all penalties if the employer agrees to a consultation visit and a follow-up enforcement inspection 12 months later. Any repeat violations found during the follow-up will cost at least two to five times more than the original penalty.

Wyoming funds a loss control consultant through workers’ compensation to help employers reduce job related accidents and to lower premiums. Upon request, a briefing is given to a specific employer or group of employers. Highlights include analysis of the workplace injuries, how much money can be saved by reducing the frequency and severity of injuries, and behavioral modification concepts. The loss control consultant may work in tandem with safety and health consultation personnel.

Puerto Rico implemented the Quick Fix program in 1996, providing a 15% additional reduction in penalties for safety and health violations that are abated during the inspection. In Hawaii, a five percent workers’ compensation premium discount is offered for workplace safety and health programs certified by state-certified professionals as effective, leveraging the state’s consultation resources. Only poor safety performers can be placed into the assigned risk pool, and employers can "bet" on their future safety performance by negotiating for higher deductibles for workers’ compensation.

Strategic and Performance Planning. In 1995, OSHA encouraged state programs to develop an alternative to OSHA’s traditional state plan monitoring and evaluation process. Between 1995 to 1997, several states developed unique performance agreements with OSHA, including Oregon, Wyoming, Michigan, Washington, and North Carolina. Washington’s agreement featured streamlined targeting based on statewide safety and health priorities developed in partnership with business and labor, and enhanced coordination between the WISHA enforcement, consultation, and risk management programs. OR-OSHA’s performance agreement with federal OSHA, the first in the nation, was recognized in November, 1998, with Vice President Al Gore’s "Hammer Award." The award recognizes outstanding efforts to make government more efficient and less expensive.

In 1998, OSHA required all state plans to include an annual performance plan in their grant application. Each state also prepared a five year strategic plan in coordination with OSHA’s planning efforts. All state programs were required to adopt OSHA’s first strategic goal to "improve workplace safety and health for all workers, as evidenced by fewer hazards, reduced exposures, and fewer injuries, illnesses, and fatalities." Strategic and performance planning focuses on safety and health outcomes, not activities. OSHA and most states included reduced injury and illness rates in selected industries or worksites in their outcome goals. Other examples of outcome goals include decreased fatalities; improvements in employer safety and health management programs, with increased worker involvement; and, improved response time to fatalities, catastrophes and complaints.



FY 98 Funding for State Plan Programs pie chart In federal fiscal year 1998, state programs received $77.9 million in 23(g) and $14.4 million in 7(c)(1) funding from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s total budget of $336.5 million. The states are required to pay at least 50 percent of the total cost of a 23(g) program, and at least ten percent of the total cost of a 7(c)(1) program. In addition, many states fund other programs focused on safety and health in the workplace. Even in states facing serious budget constraints, the respective legislatures continue to provide matching funds for occupational safety and health programs in recognition of their value in reducing workplace injuries and illness, conserving both human and fiscal resources. In fiscal year 1998, state and territorial funds of $111.3 million were allocated to state plan programs. This commitment to worker safety and health is worthy of recognition.

Text Version of Chart: FY 98 Funding for State Plan Programs
Type: Pie Chart
Graph Elements: 3 - Pie segments by type of funding based on the amount of funding.
  • Federal 23(g) Funds = $77.9 Million, 38.3%
  • Federal 7(c)(1) Funds = $14.4 Million, 7%
  • State Funds = $111.3 Million, 54.7%

FY 98 Total Federal OSHA Budget pie chart Every day millions of workers provide the physical and mental energy and dedication to keep America running. Among them are the safety and health professionals who work with employers and employees to ensure that America has safe workplaces. When a logger loses an arm or a leg, or a construction worker dies in a trenching accident, safety and health workers do not see the victims as just a name on a report, or a statistic on an injury and illness log. They see precious human beings – one whose limb cannot be replaced, or whose life cannot be restored. They know the tragedy of families whose loved one is irrevocably changed, or who never came home from work at all. They are driven to identify the causes of accidents, and to help eliminate hazards as quickly as possible so that no one else is hurt.

Text Version of Chart: FY 98 Total Federal OSHA Budget
Type: Pie Chart
Graph Elements: 3 - Pie segments by type of budget based on the share of each budget.
  • State Plan 23(g) Share = $77.9 Million, 23.1%
  • State Plan 7(c)(1) Share = $14.4 Million, 4.3%
  • OSHA Share = $244.2 Million, 72.6%

The state plan programs and OSHA supplement enforcement efforts with voluntary compliance incentives, educating and training employers and workers to identify and abate hazards in their own workplaces. Employers and employees can join in the partnership and commitment to safe workplaces. Nationwide, much remains to be done to eliminate all the hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. But the accomplishments are clear. State plan programs make a significant contribution to the goal of safe and healthful workplaces for all American workers.

Total Population of Covered States & Territories
Total Private Sector Employers Covered
Total Private Sector Employees Covered
Total Public Sector Employers Covered
Total Public Sector Employees Covered

FY 98 Total Positions by Type

Text Version of Chart: FY 98 Total Positions by Type
Type: Horizontal Bar Graph
Graph Elements: 5 - Segments by type of Positions based on the number of Positions.
  • Training and Education = 112
  • Health Consultation = 146
  • Safety Consultation = 204
  • Health Compliance = 448
  • Safety Compliance = 804


Department of Labor
Labor Standards & Safety Division
Occupational Safety & Health Section
PO Box 107022
Anchorage, AK 99510-7022
(907) 269-4940
Alaska Website

Industrial Commission
Occupational Safety & Health
PO Box 19070
Phoenix, AZ 85005-9070
(602) 542-5795

Department of Industrial Relations
Division of Occupational Safety & Health
45 Fremont Street, Room 1200
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 972-8500
California Website

Department of Labor
Division of Occupational Safety & Health
38 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109
(860) 566-4550
Connecticut Website

Department of Labor & Industrial Relations
Occupational Safety & Health Division
830 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 586-9116
Hawaii Website

Department of Labor
402 West Washington Street, Room W195
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 232-2693
Indiana Website

Iowa Workforce Development
Labor Services Division
1000 East Grand
Des Moines, IA 50319
(515) 281-3606
Iowa Website

Labor Cabinet
Occupational Safety & Health Program
1047 U.S. 127 South
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-3070
Kentucky Website

Department of Licensing & Regulation
Division of Labor & Industry
Occupational Safety & Health
501 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 333-4195
Maryland Website

Department of Consumer & Industry Services
Bureau of Safety & Regulation
7150 Harris Drive
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 322-1814
Michigan Website

Department of Labor & Industry
Occupational Safety & Health Division
443 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155
(612) 296-2116
Minnesota Website

Department of Business & Industry
Division of Industrial Relations
Occupational Safety & Health
Enforcement Section
1370 South Curry Street
Carson City, NV 89710
(702) 687-5240
Nevada Website

New Jersey (State Plan application in process)
Department of Labor
Division of Workplace Standards
CN 953
Trenton, NJ
(609) 292-3923
New Jersey Website
New Mexico
Environment Department
Environmental Protection Division
Occupational Health & Safety Bureau
PO Box 26110
Sante Fe, NM 87502
(505) 827-4230
New Mexico Website

New York
Department of Labor
Division of Safety & Health
Building 12, State Campus, Room 457
Albany, NY 12240
(518) 457-1263
New York Website

North Carolina
Department of Labor
Division of Occupational Safety & Health
4 West Edenton Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 807-2900
North Carolina Website

Department of Consumer & Business Services
Occupational Safety & Health Division
Labor & Industries Building
350 Winter Street NE, Room 430
Salem, OR 97310
(503) 378-3272
Oregon Website

Puerto Rico
Department of Labor & Human Resources
Occupational Safety & Health
505 Munoz Rivera Avenue
Hato Rey, PR 00918
(809) 754-2171

South Carolina
Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation
Division of Labor
Office of Occupational Safety & Health
3600 Forest Drive Box 11329
Columbia, SC 29211
(803) 734-9600
South Carolina Website

Department of Labor
Division of Occupational Safety & Health
710 James Robertson Parkway, 3rd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243-0659
(615) 741-2793
Tennessee Website

Labor Commission of Utah
Occupational Safety & Health Division
160 East 300 South Third Floor
PO Box 146650
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6650
(801) 530-6901
Utah Website

Department of Labor & Industry
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
National Life Bldg, 120 State St, Drawer 20
Montpelier, VT 05602-3401
(802) 828-2765
Vermont Website

Department of Labor & Industry
Powers-Taylor Building
13 South Thirteenth Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 786-9873
Virginia Website

Virgin Islands
Department of Labor
Occupational Safety & Health Division
2131 Hospital Street Box 890
Christiansted, St. Croix, VI 00820-4666
(809) 772-1315

Department of Labor & Industries
WISHA Services Division
7273 Linderson Way SW PO Box 44600
Olympia, WA 98504-4600
(360) 902-4200
Washington Website

Department of Employment
Workers’ Safety & Compensation Division
Herschler Building, 2nd Floor, East
122 West 25th Street
Cheyenne, WY 82002
(307) 777-7786
Wyoming Website

Federal OSHA
OSHA's website

OSHA’s link to State Plan web sites:
State Plan web sites



Stephen M. Cant, CIH
Federal-State Operations Manager
Department of Labor & Industries
WISHA Services Division
PO Box 44600
Olympia, WA 98504-4600
PHONE: (360) 902-5430
FAX:     (360) 902-5529

Jay W. Bagley
Labor Commission of Utah
Occupational Safety & Health Division
PO Box 146650
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6650
PHONE: (801) 530-6898
FAX:     (801) 536-7906

Mary L. Bryant
Iowa Workforce Development
Labor Services Division
1000 East Grand
Des Moines, IA 50319
PHONE: (515) 281-3469
FAX:     (515) 281-7995

Danny Evans
Chief Administrative Officer
Department of Business & Industry
Division of Industrial Relations
400 West King Street Suite 200
Carson City, NV 89710
PHONE: (702) 687-5240
FAX:     (702) 687-6150
Vice Chairperson
Jay Withrow
Director, Office of Legal Support
Department of Labor & Industry
Powers-Taylor Building
13 South 13th Street
Richmond, VA 23219
PHONE: (804) 786-9873
FAX:     (804) 786-8418

Keith Goddard
Assistant Commissioner
Department of Licensing & Regulation
Division of Labor & Industry
1100 North Eutaw Street Room 604
Baltimore, MD 21201
PHONE: (410) 767-2196
FAX:     (410) 767-2003

Bob McLeod
VOSHA Manager
Department of Labor & Industry
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
National Life Building Drawer 20
Montpelier, VT 05602-3401
PHONE: (802) 828-2765
FAX:     (802) 828-2195













New Mexico

New York

North Carolina


Puerto Rico

South Carolina




Virgin Islands



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Occupational Safety & Health Administration
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