Some of the most important workplace safety regulations come from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, states like Missouri are free to implement workplace safety rules that provide even better protections for workers within their borders. These are called State Plans, and can have a significant effect on workers’ compensation systems.
Missouri, however, has refused to enact a State Plan, leaving workers more vulnerable than they could be.
OSHA Regulations are the Ground Floor
OSHA is the federal agency that enacts the rules and regulations that promote safe workplaces across the country. The agency also enforces those rules by investigating reports of unsafe working conditions and workplace injuries, as well as by conducting occasional inspections.
However, Section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 lets states enact their own workplace safety rules. Those rules, however, have to be “at least as effective in providing safe and healthful employment and places of employment as the standards” set out in the federal OSHA rules.
About Half of the States in the U.S. Have a State Plan
Just about half of the states in the U.S. have taken the initiative under §18 and enacted their own State Plan for workplace safety. 22 of them created State Plans that provided extra protections for workers in both state and local governments, as well as for those in the private sector. Another 6 states created a State Plan that only extended additional protection to public workers in state and local government.
Nearly all of those states, however, are on the East or the West Coasts. Missouri, along with the vast majority of the other states in the Midwest, does not have a State Plan. Instead, Missouri only affords its workers the protections that are required by federal law.
Missouri’s Lack of a State Plan Puts Workers at Risk
Because any State Plan that gets created has to exceed the protections afforded by OSHA’s federal regulations, any State Plan approved by OSHA is better for workers than what exists under federal law. They have to provide better protections, in order to get approved by OSHA.
Without a State Plan, then Missouri workers are entirely reliant on the federal regulations. Given the amount of lobbying by business interests at the federal level, those regulations leave a lot to be desired for Missouri workers.
The lack of a State Plan is just one of the reasons why Missouri has a track record of workplace accidents and risks.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Smith Law Office Serve St. Joseph
The workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office strive to legally represent victims of workplace accidents. These people deserve compensation and the legal protections necessary to keep them safe and unharmed.
Call the Smith Law Office at (816) 875-9373 or contact them online for help.