Still a State Plan: Arizona, OSHA end conflict over fall protection standard in construction
Washington — Arizona’s dispute with OSHA – which at one point appeared to threaten its status as an approved State Plan – has officially ended, OSHA announced in a notice published in the July 26 Federal Register.
The disagreement began in 2012 shortly after Arizona passed a law (S.B. 1441) that required fall protection for residential construction employees working at heights of 15 feet or higher – which conflicts with federal OSHA regulations. Almost two years earlier, OSHA began requiring fall protection in construction at 6 feet or higher.
Thus, Arizona’s fall protection rules, OSHA claimed, were not “at least as effective as” federal regulations – a requirement of all State Plans. In August 2014, the agency proposed rescinding the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s “final approval” status in the construction industry. This would have allowed OSHA to enforce federal construction safety standards in the state.
In response, ADOSH pointed to a law (S.B. 1307) signed April 22, 2014, that revised its fall protection statute. OSHA, however, announced in a notice published in the Federal Register in February 2015 that it had rejected the state’s new fall protection statute. As a result, a “conditional repeal provision” in the law kicked in, meaning ADOSH had to revert to enforcing OSHA’s regulation (29 CFR 1926, subpart M).
“Federal OSHA has monitored this issue closely and finds that Arizona has also successfully implemented this standard,” the latest Federal Register notice states. “Accordingly, OSHA is withdrawing its proposal to reconsider the Arizona State Plan’s final approval status.”