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Cal/OSHA to Resume Safety Role on May 1

Times Labor Writer

State officials will resume enforcement of job safety and health laws at California’s private sector workplaces on May 1, California and federal authorities jointly announced today in San Francisco.

The announcement was the product of lengthy negotiations and an outgrowth of the victory last November of an initiative--Proposition 97--to restore the state program.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration assumed responsibility for protecting California’s 10.5 million private-sector workers on July 1, 1987. Federal officials stepped in after Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed funding to continue the state program, which had been in existence for more than 70 years.

Organized labor, public health groups and some business interests opposed the governor’s decision. Signatures were gathered and a campaign waged to persuade voters that workers would be better protected by the California program than the federal one. Deukmejian asserted the federal program was just as good and that the state would save $8.5 million by not having the state program. Voters spurned his argument 54% to 46%.

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