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Sun Nov 18, 2018, 05:05 PM

Are Kentucky -- And Other OSHA State Plans -- Failing Their Workers?

Are Kentucky — And Other OSHA State Plans — Failing Their Workers?

November 13, 2018

OSHA State Plans: love ’em or hate ’em, but we have to live with them.

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, Ohio Valley ReSource and the Center for Public Integrity have just put out a devastating series of articles and audio reports about serious flaws in Kentucky’s state run OSHA program, and raised serious questions about the ability of many of OSHA’s other twenty-seven state plans to protect workers effectively.

Basing its report on OSHA’s annual audit of Kentucky’s programs, other OSHA special investigations of the program, as well as the journalists’ own investigations, the reports find that:

• Kentucky OSHA failed to properly investigate nearly every single worksite death in two years. The flaws included failing to identify the cause of the accident, not conducting or documenting interviews and overlooking obvious violations.
• Inspector interviews with witnesses were “inadequate” or not adequately documented;
• Causes of incidents and obvious violations ere overlooked, and obvious hazards, including those related to a worker’s death, were not addressed;
• The sloppy investigations left workers “continuously exposed to serious hazards that remain unabated.”
• Kentucky OSHA only investigated complaints that come from employees of a company, ignoring 70 percent of the complaints that came from non-employees.
• Kentucky is inspecting fewer workplaces than it ever has; the 787 inspections it conducted in fiscal year 2017 was the lowest number in at least a decade.


State Plans

State Plans are OSHA-approved workplace safety and health programs operated by individual states or U.S. territories. There are currently 22 State Plans covering both private sector and state and local government workers, and there are six State Plans covering only state and local government workers. State Plans are monitored by OSHA and must be at least as effective as OSHA in protecting workers and in preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths.

Learn more.

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