Becoming a State Plan

Although federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates workplace safety and health standards throughout the United States, Indiana is one of 22* states and jurisdictions that have organized their own occupational safety and health programs for both public and private sectors within state borders.

As an OSHA-approved state plan, working Hoosiers and business owners have more direct access and effect on the labor laws that control their well-being and prosperity. Indiana, like other state plans, has region-specific needs and a variety of occupations unique to its citizens. Functioning as a state plan means the IOSHA program can more readily serve farmers, transportation companies, manufacturing, and other Hoosier specialties without the concern of out-of-state matters.

Hoosier government employees (state, local, city, county, and municipality) are covered by the same safety and health standards as private industry workers. Federal OSHA manages approval, monitoring, and up to 50 percent of the funding for a state plan, which must be at least as effective as federal OSHA regulation.

For 30 years, IOSHA has been a key component of the Indiana Department of Labor’s mission to advance the safety, health, and prosperity of Hoosiers in the workplace.

*There are currently 27 state occupational safety and health programs; however five have state plans only for the public sector.

September 26, 1986

The journey for Indiana to become a state plan began with an initial approval signed by federal OSHA and Indiana Governor Otis “Doc” Bowen in 1974. The intent to operate independent of federal OSHA started years prior.

Following initial approval, a “trial” period begins. For all state plans, this process can take several years, depending on the needs and types of circumstances for the particular state or providence. During Indiana’s trial period, federal OSHA and the Indiana OSHA programs maintained joint jurisdiction over Hoosier occupational safety and health enforcement until September 26, 1986, when Indiana’s state plan received final approval to act independently.

“During the trial period, the federal government followed up with the development of what is now IOSHA,” explains Commissioner Rick J. Ruble. “A state plan must be at least as effective as federal OSHA regulation, and for more than 10 years, the federal government worked to make sure Indiana workers are in good hands.”

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