OSHA has certified New Jersey's State Plan for protecting the safety and health of state and local government workers. The New Jersey Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health State Plan covers more than 530,000 state and local government workers. The New Jersey State Plan was initially approved in January of 2001 and certification became effective on Jan. 22, 2016. This certification was published in the Federal Register and can be viewed at the following link:http://federalregister.gov/a/2016-01286.

Certification documents the satisfactory completion of all structural and developmental aspects of New Jersey's approved State Plan. This certification attests to the fact that New Jersey now has in place all those structural components necessary for a State Plan covering state and local government workers.

A "major milestone"

"This is a major milestone for New Jersey public employees, as well as the development of the state's occupational safety and health program," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "We applaud them for their ongoing commitment to protecting the safety and health of government workers who support the vital services that make New Jersey a viable place to live and work."

New Jersey--along with Maine, Illinois, Connecticut, New York, and the Virgin Islands--is one of six states and territories that administer safety and health programs for state and local government workers only, and are committed to maintaining programs that are at least as effective as federal OSHA. There are also 22 State Plans that cover private sector, as well as state and local government workers. Twenty-four states still do not provide any federally-approved workplace safety and health protections for its public workers.

Who's in charge

The plan is administered by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and continues to provide coverage to all state and local government workplaces, including state, county, and local government agencies, state and local government authorities, fire departments, and school districts under the authority of the New Jersey PEOSH Act. Certain responsibilities are delegated to the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) in the implementation of the PEOSH Act. Private sector and federal government workers in New Jersey remain under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act of 1970) and 29 CFR Part 1956 allow states and territories to establish plans that cover only state and local government workers - those workers who are excluded from federal coverage. Once a State Plan is approved, OSHA funds up to 50 percent of the program's costs.