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Hawaii regains enforcement control over private-sector employers

OSHA says State Plan for occupational safety and health is back on track

Posted October 2, 2017

OSHA has approved Hawaii’s improvements to its state health and safety plan. A new Operational Status Agreement between the agencies specifies when federal or state authority applies and the steps Hawaii will take to reassume enforcement coverage in the private sector.

Since 1984, Hawaii has administered an OSHA-approved State Plan to develop and enforce safety and health standards for both public- and private-sector employers. However, between 2009 and 2012, the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH) faced major budgetary and staffing difficulties that significantly affected its program.

In 2012, OSHA temporarily placed the state’s final plan approval on hold and reinstated federal enforcement authority over workplace safety and health issues in the private sector.

Under the new agreement, federal OSHA retains coverage over all federal employees, contractors, and subcontractors at Hawaii National Parks and on any other federal establishment where the land is determined to be under exclusive federal jurisdiction; private-sector maritime activities; private-sector employees within the secured borders of all military installations where access is controlled; the U.S. Postal Service, its contract workers, and contractor-operated facilities; and the enforcement of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. 660(c), the Act's whistleblower provision.

HIOSH retains coverage over all state and local government employers and regains coverage over all private-sector employers not covered by federal OSHA, including marine construction not performed on vessels or other floating facilities.

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