The OSHA Underground posted a short article on a Chemical Safety Board (CSB) recommendation that OSHA cover all public employees, not just federal employees. While I agree with this in principle, I'm willing to bet dollars-to-donuts that it will never happen.
The first obstacle to local government coverage by OSHA is the lack of political will to make it happen. No state, county, or municipal government is going to willingly let the federal government tell it what to do with its own people. Keep in mind the members of Congress are part of their state's political machinery and they listen to the local politicians.
Second, what is the enforcement going to look like? Is it going to be like federal agency enforcement, where there are only theoretical penalties and the only time anything changes is when there's a press release and the Secretary of the department gets called before Congress, or on military bases the commanding officer gets reprimanded or removed? Even that doesn't always work, just ask the fire fighters who work for the US Forest Service. Or do we change the system and actually make the agencies pay the penalty?
The third problem is where do we stop? Are we going to tackle violence to police officers? Are we going to cover the local judiciary or legislature when we don't even cover our own?
The fourth problem is that these agencies have the same issues we have, we don't set our own budgets and have no way of increasing revenue to compensate for the financial loss. Do we risk layoffs or depriving employees safety and health training because we've just ruined the budget? Certainly large metro areas won't have trouble with penalties, but don't forget that there are a lot more small towns out there than there are big cities.
The fifth problem is that we would have to have a dispute resolution system in place, which could mean simply rolling it into our current ALJ system, or it could mean something totally different.
And those are just the problems I've been able to identify, what about those I haven't foreseen?
As much as local government employees need protection, I just don't see it in my working life time.