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OSHA may rescind Arizona’s ‘final approval’ status within construction industry

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Washington – OSHA is reconsidering Arizona’s State Plan status in light of a state statute that changed residential construction fall protection requirements to a level the federal agency claims is not “at least as effective” as federal requirements.

The dispute began when Arizona passed a law in 2012 requiring conventional fall protection in residential construction for workers at 15 feet or higher. Federal OSHA requires such protection to begin at 6 feet.

In response to OSHA objections, the state legislature earlier this year passed a bill revising the previous law. However, federal OSHA considers the changes to be minor and limited, noting that the state did not alter the 15-foot trigger height for conventional fall protection.

OSHA is now considering rejecting Arizona’s changes to its program, as well as rescinding the State Plan’s “final approval” status in the construction industry. This move would allow OSHA to enforce federal construction standards in Arizona until the state enacts a fall protection standard “at least as effective” as OSHA requirements.

Comments on federal OSHA’s potential actions are due Sept. 25.