PA Completes First Step into Feasibility of Extending OSHA Safety Standards to Public Sector Workers, Commonwealth Employees

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry announced the completion of a two-phase feasibility study that examined the possibility of extending protections of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) workplace standards to thousands of public-sector workers, as well as to commonwealth employees under the governor’s jurisdiction. Right now, OSHA protections only apply to the private sector.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) collaborated with L&I and other state agencies to complete the study as directed by Governor Wolf’s Worker Protection Executive Order signed in October 2021, which directed commonwealth agencies to take actions that advance worker protections in Pennsylvania.

The feasibility study examined a five-year period from FY 16/17 to FY 20/21 and estimated the costs of adopting OSHA standards for commonwealth employees under the governor’s jurisdiction to be $54.8 million at baseline and $14.4 million for year one.

Currently, commonwealth employees are covered under Accident and Illness Prevention Programs (AIPP) with individual agencies permitted to select what components to implement.