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Administrative Agencies

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  1. Administrative Agencies Chapter 4

  2. Objectives • Identify executive-branch agencies. • Explain that administrative agencies exist at the federal, state, and local levels. • Explain how agencies are created and the purpose of enabling acts.

  3. Objectives • Describe separation of powers concerns and methods created by administrative agencies. • Explain the jurisdiction of OSHA and OSHA’s three primary activities.

  4. Objectives • Define approved plan state and non-approved plan state. • Explain why the term “OSHA state” is ambiguous. • Explain the function of OSHRC. • Explain application of OSHA to volunteer and part-time firefighters.

  5. Administrative Agencies • Exist within the executive branch • Fill a vital role in our government • Create laws, called regulations • Investigate and enforce the law • Act as tribunals to hear cases

  6. Administrative Agencies • Exist at the federal, state, and local levels • Created by legislative branch through an enabling act • Specifies purpose and authority of agency • May include a grant or delegation of powers

  7. Role of Administrative Agencies • Developing regulations • Rulemaking • Investigations • Enforcement of regulations • Hearings and adjudication

  8. Administrative Lawmaking • Agency must have authority from the legislature to create regulations • Regulations must be consistent with statutes and enabling act

  9. Developing Regulations • Regulations must be constitutional • Regulations must be issued in accordance with the agency’s rules • Must allow public comment on regulations • Proposed federal regulations are published in Federal Register

  10. Investigations • Combined with authority to cite and enforce (OSHA) • May be purely to investigate (NIOSH) • Agency may be granted power to • Subpoena • Obtain administrative search warrants

  11. Enforcement • Power to start an administrative action • Commenced by filing a complaint by or with the agency itself

  12. Hearings • Some agencies conduct trial-like tribunals • Presided over by an administrative law judge or hearing officer • Agency enforcing the laws (OSHA) cannot conduct the hearing • OSHRC conducts hearings for OSHA issues

  13. Control of Administrative Agencies • Potential for abuse is present • Agencies exercise powers of all three branches • Risks violating separation of powers

  14. Control of Administrative Agencies • Limits must be placed on agency power • Controls • Political process • Judicial review • Public accountability laws

  15. Control via Political Process • President (executive) controls agencies • Appoints the agency’s director • Congress control • Legislation to curb agency power • Cut agency funding

  16. Control via Judicial Review • Available for most agency actions • Scope of review may vary • Constitutional requirement • Federal courts have right to interpret and determine validity of acts of Congress

  17. Judicial Review • Standing • Party seeking to challenge an agency action is somehow adversely affected or aggrieved by that action • Exhaustion of remedies • Available to seek relief through the administrative remedy first

  18. Public Accountability Laws • Mandate public access to government records and decisions • Provide controls over agencies • Similar laws on state and federal level • Open records laws/freedom of information • Open meetings/sunshine laws

  19. OSHA • Occupational Safety and Health Administration • Agency within Department of Labor • Protects worker health and safety • Enabling legislation • OSH Act of 1970

  20. OSHA Compliance • Two basic duties for employers • Comply with all applicable OSHA regulations • Maintain a workplace that is free from recognized hazards

  21. General Duty Clause • Requires an employer to: • Take affirmative steps to prevent injuries and illnesses to workers in the absence of a specific OSHA regulation • Take extra steps to recognize hazards

  22. General Duty Clause • Wide safety standards for industry • Show a hazard has been recognized in a particular industry • Employers who fail to follow industrywide safety standards risk violating the general duty clause

  23. OSHA Inspections • OSHA may inspect any place of employment at any reasonable time • Inspection may be initiated by • A complaint • An accident • As part of safety program

  24. OSHA and the NFPA Standards • NFPA standards are recognized as industrywide health and safety standards • Failure to comply with an NFPA standard can be the basis for a general duty clause violation

  25. OSHA Violations and Sanctions • Failure to comply with OSHA or general duty clause can result in citation • Fines and penalties • If deemed to be willful can be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office as criminal offenses

  26. OSHRC • Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission • Administrative tribunal • Separate from OSHA • Hears only OSHA citations

  27. Jurisdiction and the Term “OSHA State” • “OSHA state” refers to OSH Act • Encourages states to take over regulations • Better terms • Approved plan OSHA state • Non-approved plan OSHA state

  28. OSHA and Firefighters • OSHA works through states to try to impact public employees • Financial assistance for OSHA enforcement • Many states have adopted OSHA standards for public sector employers

  29. Hazardous Materials • Governed by federal and state laws • Involve different federal and state agencies • OSHA standards • HAZCOMM • HAZWOPER

  30. Summary • Administrative agencies • Enabling acts • Authority • Controls over agencies • OSHA