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Arizona responds to OSHA threat of State Plan revocation

Phoenix – As it faces losing its State Plan status, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health is standing by its assertion that the state’s fall protection standard is “as effective as” federal OSHA’s requirement.

Four years ago, OSHA began requiring the use of conventional fall protection in the residential construction industry when workers are at heights of 6 feet or more. In 2012, Arizona passed a law that required such conventional fall protection in residential construction when workers were at heights of 15 feet or more.

Following some back-and-forth between the two agencies, OSHA in August proposed rescinding ADOSH’s “final approval” status in the construction industry. This would allow OSHA to enforce federal construction safety standards in the state. OSHA made the move after concluding ADOSH’s new standard issued in light of the law was not “as effective as” federal requirements.

In a Sept. 25 letter to OSHA, the state’s Industrial Commission – which oversees ADOSH – disagreed with that assertion, arguing that OSHA has not fully explained how Arizona’s approach to fall protection is not as effective.

Should OSHA decide to withdraw Arizona’s final approval status, the commission said it would request a hearing on the matter.