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Feds give back factory workplace safety oversight to state

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 9:30 a.m. HST, Sep 13, 2013

The federal government will allow the state to take back oversight of workplace safety for manufacturing industries as a result of progress made by the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division in improving its compliance with federal regulations.

Citing shortcomings in regulation at the local level the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration last year took over workplace safety oversight for all Hawaii job categories except for construction, warehousing, transportation and state and local government. The two sides signed a three-year agreement that would incrementally restore state oversight if certain performance targets were met.

The first job category to be returned to state oversight is manufacturing. Gov. Neil Abercrombie is scheduled to announce the development at a news conference later today.

"By continuing to work together closely with OSHA, and in partnership with employers, we are on track in rebuilding the HIOSH program," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said remarks prepared for delivery at the news conference.

"A strong HIOSH not only lowers injury and illness rates, but also improves the overall work environment and accountability. This Administration is committed to restoring the state's ability to assure workplace safety and health," he said.

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