Florida lawmakers set to remove state from OSHA oversight

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  • The Florida Capitol in Tallahassee

After rejecting a series of Democratic amendments, Florida House on Tuesday prepared to pass a bill that could be a first step towards the state regulating worker safety and moving away from Administration oversight. Federal Department of Occupational Safety and Health.

The Republican-controlled House is expected to pass the measure (HB 5B) on Wednesday, the third day of a special legislative session called by Governor Ron DeSantis to target vaccination and mask warrants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill would direct DeSantis to develop a plan for the state to take control of worker health and safety concerns. The governor would be required to report to the Legislature by January 17. Ultimately, the federal government would have to approve a state plan.

Ardian Zika sponsor R-Land O ‘Lakes said the state faces a “federal overshoot” during the pandemic and it is in Florida’s best interest to consider moving to a plan. safety of state workers. The proposed Democratic amendments addressed issues such as the requirement that no state plan conflict with Temporary Emergency Standards or other worker safety standards issued by OSHA.

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“It makes sense. If we want to do it, do it right, ”said representative Joe Geller, D-Aventura.

The amendments were rejected in voice votes. The bill came after OSHA issued a rule this month that would require tens of millions of workers nationwide to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be regularly tested and wear masks. Florida is challenging the rule in federal court.

A House analysis indicated that 21 states and Puerto Rico have plans covering private and government employees. According to the analysis, five other states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have plans covering government employees. But Zika said it could take two to three years for the federal government to approve a plan for Florida. The Senate is considering an identical bill (SB 6-B).

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