OSHA Enforcement of the “As Effective As” Standard for State Plans: Serving Process or People?

Courtney M. Malveaux *

Since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (“OSH Act”) in 1971, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has perplexed many states tasked with its enforcement. Congress passed the OSH Act to nationalize workplace safety and health standards. It empowered OSHA to enforce these standards, either on its own or through an approved workplace safety and health plan operated by a state (“State Plan”). The OSH Act provides matching funds and oversight for states choosing to operate their own programs on the condition that participating states operate a regime that is “at least as effective as” that of federal OSHA.

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* Commissioner, Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, Richmond, Virginia; J.D., 2002, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William & Mary; M.A., 1998, George Washington University; B.A., 1993, Pennsylvania State University. Amanda Blair, W. Glenn Cox, Kathleen Greene, Elizabeth Southall, and Jay Withrow provided research.