Nevada Seeks Final OK for OSHA State Plan

If final approval is granted, Nevada would become the 16th state where federal OSHA has determined that a program is meeting all requirements of an effective state OSHA program.

Nevada may become the first Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) state-plan state since North Carolina in 1996.

OSHA seeks public comments by Dec. 16, 1999, on its proposal to grant final approval to Nevada to administer its occupational safety and health plan independently from the federal agency. Nevada has operated an approved state plan since 1974.

"Nevada has demonstrated its commitment to strong workplace safety and health measures by providing state funds for its plan over and above what federal law requires," OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress said. "The additional funds have allowed the state to expand both its enforcement and voluntary compliance programs and to undertake innovative programs such as a multimedia campaign to promote occupational safety and health."

The Nevada plan is administered by the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations and covers all employers except those on Indian lands, the federal government and the U.S. Postal Service. Those employers remain under federal jurisdiction.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 permits states and territories to establish their own job safety and health programs subject to federal approval and monitoring.

To be eligible for final approval, a state must operate an occupational safety and health program that is found to be performing in a manner at least as effective as the federal program. It also must have a sufficient number of safety inspectors and industrial hygienists to run the program effectively. Finally, the state must provide data to federal OSHA on its activities.

Nevada's plan exceeds required benchmarks for compliance staffing and is at least as effective as the federal program in such areas as occupational safety and health standards and variances from standards, enforcement, inspection targeting and procedures, employee participation in inspections, protection for "whistleblowers," citations and penalties, and voluntary compliance programs. In addition, OSHA has found that trends in worker safety and health injury and illness rates under the Nevada plan compare favorably with those under the federal program. These findings are documented in an evaluation report dated July 10, 1999.

Written comments on OSHA's proposal to give final approval to the Nevada plan, as well as any requests for public hearings, should be submitted in duplicate to the Docket Officer, Docket T-033, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N2625, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC. Comments limited to 10 pages or fewer may be transmitted by fax to (202) 693-1648, provided the original and one copy are sent to the Docket Office later. Electronic comments may be submitted to www.osha-slc.gov/e-comments/e-comments-nevada.html.

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