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Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
For Immediate Release
May 12, 2005
Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Public Information Officer, 503-947-7428

U.S. Department of Labor recognizes Oregon for workplace safety and health

Oregon became the 17th state in the nation to gain final approval for meeting the requirements of the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act during a ceremony today in Portland.

Acting Assistant U.S. Secretary of Labor Jonathan Snare presented the signed approval of ‘Final State Plan’ authority to Governor Ted Kulongoski. The approval means that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has formally relinquished federal enforcement authority in areas currently under Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) jurisdiction. Federal OSHA will continue to monitor Oregon OSHA’s annual performance and provide funding for a portion of Oregon OSHA’s budget.

“This is the latest development in a very long-term commitment by this state,” Governor Kulongoski said. “Oregon OSHA is an outstanding example of government at its best in Oregon – innovative, collaborative, and committed to long-term, sustained progress to address difficult challenges in a manner that benefits all concerned.”

“We applaud the state of Oregon for their ongoing commitment to the safety and health of their workers,” said Jonathan L. Snare, Acting Assistant U.S. Secretary of Labor for OSHA. “We welcome Oregon as the latest state to be granted final approval.”

“The granting of final approval is a big step for Oregon,” said Peter De Luca, administrator of Oregon OSHA. “Many of the states that have received similar recognition have rules and statutes identical to federal requirements. Oregon has tailored its safety standards to consider local working conditions, and to gain approval for a plan that is different from the federal program on many regulatory issues is a significant achievement. It underscores my belief that Oregon’s occupational safety and health program is a leader across the United States.”

Oregon has served as a workplace safety-and-health innovator for decades. The State established the Accident Prevention Division (the forerunner of Oregon OSHA) in 1943, and Oregon in 1971 became the second U.S. state to request occupational safety and health authority after the passage of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. The OSH Act (also known as the Williams-Steiger Act) created the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The OSH Act permits states and territories to establish their own workplace safety and health programs subject to federal approval and monitoring. Twenty-six (26) U.S. states and territories operate OSHA-approved State plans. The state of Oregon has operated a state plan under provisional approval since 1972.

Since passage of the Oregon Safe Employment Act in 1973, workplace fatalities in Oregon have been reduced 62 percent while injuries for private-sector employers have been reduced 55 percent.

Oregon OSHA is a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and administers Oregon’s plan to cover all Oregon employers except those on Tribal lands, federal agencies, the U.S. Postal Service, contractors on military reservations, and most maritime and interstate commerce employers. These employers remain under federal jurisdiction.

Oregon OSHA is committed to partnering with employers and workers to keep Oregon’s injury rates low and workers’ compensation costs under control. One of the best actions an employer can take to prevent injuries is to train employees properly. Oregon OSHA offers free training, free safety and health consultations, and education and training materials from the Oregon OSHA Resource Center. The division urges employers to keep their workers and workplaces safe through a commitment to training, education and elimination of hazards.

As Oregon's economy improves, safe jobs are smart business. More information and resources are available on Oregon OSHA's Web site, www.orosha.org