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Gov. DeSantis signs bill beginning the process of Florida's exit from OSHA

The whole process of creating a plan, acquiring funding and receiving federal approval could take anywhere from two to five years.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida has officially taken its first step to leave OSHA and create its own vision for a state program to take its place.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 5B on Thursday but it could be years before the Sunshine State sees any real changes.

Under the new law, Florida can now create its own plan for occupational safety for all employees. Part of that process includes giving the governor's office $1 million to propose its own version of OSHA. However, the state would not be fully free from OSHA's oversight.

And while DeSantis signed the bill into law, Florida's new rules still need to be approved and meet the standard OSHA guidelines. From there, lawmakers say Florida can be more stringent in its guidance. But, that doesn't necessarily mean Florida will be exempt from federal vaccine mandates. 

The whole process of creating a plan, acquiring funding and receiving federal approval could take anywhere from two to five years.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the move is an appropriate response to how "heavy-handed" OSHA has been with its federal vaccine mandate.

"These agencies, when they're doing things, you expect this is being done in some factual basis," DeSantis said. "But, if you read that OSHA rule, it's ignorance running amuck."

The governor added that other states have gone through the process of creating their own workplace safety agency. According to OSHA, 28 states have their own OSHA-approved plans — 22 of which cover both private sector and state and local government workers. The last time OSHA certified a state's new rules was in Connecticut in 1986.