Federal workplace safety standards will apply to all public sector workers in Massachusetts under a law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker on March 9.
The new state law, which takes effect on Feb. 1, 2019, applies standards set in the Occupational Safety and Health Act to all state and local government workers. The law expands the reach of a 2014 law that applied the OSHA rules to certain state employees.
The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards will enforce the law, not OSHA.
The law requires the governor to appoint representatives from local governments and groups, including a representative from the MMA, to a 21-member occupational health and safety advisory board. The board will consult with the DLS to amend current regulations in order to include municipal employees.
The advisory board will also evaluate data on injury and illness, recommend training and implementation of safety and health measures, monitor the effectiveness of safety and health programs, and determine where additional resources are needed.
The MMA had worked with legislators to ensure that municipal management would be included on the board.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act, passed by Congress in 1970, created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and established standards to ensure safe and healthful working conditions by providing enforcement, outreach, training and compliance assistance.
Massachusetts joins 26 states that have statutorily extended OSHA standards to public employees.
Download OSHA Safety for Public Sector – Highlights of Updated Law (286K PDF)

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