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Kansas weighs adopting state-run OSHA plan

Posted On: Mar. 17, 2017 12:17 PM CST


A bill under consideration in the Kansas legislature would bring workplace safety enforcement under the purview of the state rather than the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Senate Bill 212, introduced last month by Sen. Julia Lynn, R-Olathe, on behalf of senate leadership, directs the state to submit a plan to the U.S. secretary of labor that allows it to take responsibility for developing and enforcing occupational safety and health standards. The Kansas Senate Commerce Committee considered the bill during hearings on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the legislature’s website.

The bill calls for the Kansas Department of Labor to submit a state plan to the federal government by Sept. 1 and report back to the president of the Kansas senate and the speaker of the state house of representatives by Jan. 8, 2018. The state’s labor department estimated it would cost $250,000 to begin implementing the provisions of the bill and escalate to about $2.75 million by 2019 to fund salaries for 26 new positions along with rent, travel and overhead expenses.

The state general fund would be required to fund the state plan for the first three years, after which it would be funded half by the federal government and half by fees assessed for violations, according to a fiscal note submitted by the state’s budget director.

About half of U.S. states oversee their own workplace safety enforcement in line with federal standards, while the other half submit to enforcement by the federal agency, according to OSHA.