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Latest Developments on OSHA-Arizona Residential Fall Protection Faceoff

Posted in on Fri, May 23, 2014

Thanks to ASSE’s Arizona Chapter and member Jeremy Bethancourt for contributing to this update –

The ongoing drama between federal OSHA and the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) over enforcement of OSHA’s 6-foot residential fall protection standard continues.   The latest development comes following a March 19 letter from Assistant Secretary David Michaels to ADOSH stating that the state law setting residential fall protection was not as effective as federal OSHA’s protections and that proceedings that could lead to withdrawal of approval of the Arizona state plan unless the state is able to show cause why a proceeding should not go ahead..

On May 1, ADOSH, by the law firm Jackson Lewis, responded to OSHA in a letter stating a new plan will be submitted to OSHA based on legislation signed into law (SB 1307) by the Arizona Governor on April 22 that essentially says Arizona will follow OSHA’s 6-foot protections if OSHA formally rejects the current Arizona requirements:

“Title 23, chapter 2, article 13, Arizona Revised Statutes, is repealed if the federal occupational safety and health administration publishes in the federal register pursuant to 29 Code of Federal Regulations section 1902.23 a final decision rendered under 29 Code of Federal Regulations section 1902.22 and pursuant to 29 Code of Federal Regulations section 1953 to reject the changes to this state’s occupational safety and health plan prescribed in section 23‑492.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, and that results in the exclusion of the changes from this state’s federally approved occupational safety and health plan.”

However, OSHA already mentioned the legislative effort in its March 19 letter.

In June 2012, at the request of its Arizona members, ASSE encouraged OSHA to ensure federal-level protections from falls for residential construction workers in Arizona.  A December 2013 a letter from OSHA’s Phoenix Area Office outlined OSHA’s Complaint about State Program Administration (CASPA) investigation.

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