Safety and Health Standards

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss state workplace safety and health standards

State plans are OSHA-approved workplace safety and health programs operated by individual states or U.S. territories. These plans are regulated by OSHA and must be at least as effective as OSHA in protecting workers and in preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. When there is an OSHA-approved state plan in operation, employers can post the state version of the OSHA poster instead of the federal version. In states where there is an OSHA-approved State plans vary in their applicability, with twenty-one plans covering both private sector and state and local government employees and five states covering only state and local government workers.

States with plans covering private sector and state and local government employees:

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Wyoming
  • Minnisota
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Vermont
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii

States with plans covering only state and local government workers:

  • Illinois
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • Maine

Check out the coverage for your state below:

The California State Plan

For example, the California State Plan covers state and local government employers and a majority of private sector workplaces.[1] The plan does not apply to federal government employers or private sector employers operating within federal properties such as military installations, national parks and United States Postal Service mail operations or to maritime employers or aircrafts. California’s plan also does not apply to employers operating within the borders of Native American reservation and trust lands recognized by the federal government.

In addition to OSHA standards, Cal/OSHA has adopted state-specific standards addressing the following:

  • Toxic Chemical Handling and Exposure
  • Agriculture
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries
  • Child Labor
  • Heat Exposure
  • Noise Exposure
  • Injury and Illness Prevention Program
  • Aerosol Transmissible Diseases
  • Petroleum Drilling and Production
  • Petroleum Refining, Transport, and Handling
  • Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care

The state of California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) administers the California State Plan through Cal/OSHA and investigates private and state and local government workplace claims of retaliation; federal OSHA is responsible for enforcement of anti-retaliation protections. OSHA retains the right to exercise concurrent federal authority for safety and health-related actions broadly, including the right to inspect any establishment and take appropriate enforcement action when Cal/OSHA (or any State Plan) is unable to fully or effectively exercise its enforcement authority due to employer non-compliance, reduction of resources or staff, limitations on enforcement authority, disasters or emergencies or other factors.

Practice Question


  1. "California State Plan." Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor. Accessed August 20, 2019.