Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Little House Keeping - Coverage of Public Employees Part 2

I have a couple of comments I want to bring out to clarify something. An anonymous commenter wrote:

"IL protected its public workers since 1987 under the IDOL. It is misleading to say they were not protected. I am sure many states are similar."

That comment was responded to by another anonymous commenter who had previously commented:

"Didn't say they weren't protected. Just said the program is not funded under a 23(g) grant. Several States with Federal enforcement in the private sector, including Oklahoma and Illinois, provide excellent public sector enforcement with 100% State funds. If Congress amends the OSHA Act to include coverage of public sector employees in States where Federal OSHA currently provides private sector enforcement, I agree with the comment above that we shall see many new applications for 23(g) public sector only State Plans. HOWEVER, the 50% Federal share money would have to be appropriated to the State Plans line item to fund them. It all depends on how Congress words the legislation. It will be fascinating to watch if/how it all evolves."

The first commenter was correct, I didn't make the argument as clear as I should have, I am not (and I believe this to be true for the second commenter as well) disparaging the Illinois program in any way, I simply don't know enough about it. My concern is getting consistency across the country, and the only way I see that happening is by OSHA oversight of the state run public sector S&H programs. The second commenter gives us a path to that, amend the OSH Act, have OSHA fund 50% of the state's program, give us oversight of the program. But I'll say it again, while I think covering public sector employees is important, I just don't see it happening. I hope I'm wrong.

1 comment:

  1. A number of the 25 or so states that do not have federally "approved" coverage of public employees have some kind of plan, some fairly good ones for many years. But none are required to be "at least as effective as" federal OSHA (whatever that means anymore) and are subject to the whims of the budget cycle. Some do not adopt all OSHA standards, some are grossly underfunded, existing on paper only. Some cover some parts of the state government, but not others. Some cover state employees but not local. And then there are states with virtually nothing. It's a mess, especially if you happend to be a public employee.