Comparison: State vs. Federal
• Rules. Massachusetts is not a “state plan” state; that is, it does not have a federally approved occupational safety and health regulatory program. Thus, the federal Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act governs private sector workplaces. The state may investigate county and municipal government workplaces to ensure compliance with its policy that such employers must follow federal workplace safety and health rules.
Massachusetts has its own hazard communication, or worker right-to-know, law that applies to all public sector workplaces, including state, county, and municipal offices and operations. See the state section HAZARD COMMUNICATION STANDARD for more information about worker right-to-know rules.
• Administration and enforcement. OSHA implements and enforces all job safety and health regulations for the private sector workplaces in Massachusetts. DLS investigates all public sector workplaces for compliance with the state’s hazard communication requirements, and county and municipal workplaces for compliance with the federal safety and health rules.
PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYERS
MGL, Chapter 111F, Section 1 and MGL, Chapter 149, Section 6
All public sector employers in the state are covered by the Massachusetts Hazardous Substance Disclosure by Employers Act. The definition includes state, county, and municipal government operations and offices. Under the Act, “public sector employer” means “any person, firm, corporation, partnership, association or other entity engaged in a business or in providing services, including the commonwealth and any of its political subdivisions, that manufactures, processes, uses or stores toxic or hazardous substances.”