Congress allows states to administer their own “state OSHA plan” if they want. States wanting to do this must apply to and receive approval from federal OSHA. About half of the states have done this–a full list of those states are below.
State OSHA plans must have regulations and enforcement at least as effective as federal OSHA. In fact, some states, like Washington and California, often have stronger regulations.
Public Sector Workers
In state OSHA plans, state and local government workers must be protected just like private sector workers. However, in most states covered by federal OSHA, public employees are not covered by OSHA. Connecticut and New York have OSHA-approved state plans for public employee only. Other states may have their own (non-OSHA approved) health and safety program for public employees. Federal workers are covered under a program run by their agencies with some oversight by federal OSHA.
SEIU and other unions continue to lobby hard to have Congress cover all public employees under OSHA, but have not yet been successful.