While a “State-OSHA Plan” must at least meet Fed-OSHA standards, these plans often develop their own additional requirements and have widely varying enforcement and appeal processes. When Federal OSHA adopts a new regulation, such as the recently instituted requirement to report all amputations and single hospitalizations for treatment within 24 hours, the regulation became effective immediately in states where the Federal Government enforces the Occupational Safety and Health Act1. On the other hand, most State OSHA Plans do not automatically adopt Fed-OSHA changes.
Under OSHA’s Contingency Plan, all but approximately 10% of its employees are furloughed. If one calls an Area Office, you’ll encounter an Area Director and perhaps an Assistant Area Director, who respond to workplace fatalities or complaints of situations threatening a high risk of death or serious injury. In some cases, senior compliance officers may be involved. Similarly, the five or six top managers in each region are working. This skeleton crew not only respond to workplace fatalities, but they must also somehow issue citations within the six months of commencing an inspection. Despite the unusual circumstances, as recently as last year, the powerful D.C. Court of Appeals upheld the six-month requirement in AKM v. Secretary of Labor.