New standards that apply federal workplace safety regulations to all public sector workers in Massachusetts take effect on Feb. 1, in accordance with amendments to the workplace safety law (Ch. 149, Sec. 6½) that were enacted last spring.

The 19-member Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Board drafted regulations and voted on Nov. 26 to move them to the regulatory process. The proposed regulations are expected to be available for public comment shortly, and the Department of Labor Standards will hold public hearings to gather testimony on the regulations. The dates and times of the public hearings will be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition to promulgating regulations, the advisory board is charged with evaluating data on injury and illness, recommending training and implementation of safety and health measures, monitoring the effectiveness of safety and health programs, and determining where additional resources are needed.

There are six municipal seats on the advisory board, held by the MMA, the Massachusetts Highway Association, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, the Massachusetts Water Works Association, and the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association.

The MMA designee is Westford Highway Department Superintendent Richard “Chip” Barrett, and the Management Association designee is Needham Assistant Town Manager Christopher Coleman.

The workplace safety law was amended to clarify that public sector employers are required to provide methods to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses that meet the minimum requirements provided under federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.

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