Labor Department may revoke Arizona's oversight over its work safety program

Arizona could lose oversight of its work safety program because of what the Labor Department calls failures to adopt and enforce adequate standards and enforcement policies.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration said April 20 that it filed a proposal to reconsider and revoke the final approval of the state's OSHA plan and could ultimately revoke final approval if the state plan is not at least as effective as workplace plans set by OSHA.

"OSHA has grown increasingly concerned that actions by the Arizona State OSHA Plan suggest the state is either unable or unwilling to maintain its commitment to provide a program for worker safety and health protection as the [Occupational Safety and Health Act] requires," the labor department said in an April 20 news release. "Arizona has, for example, failed to adopt adequate maximum penalty levels, occupational safety and health standards, National Emphasis Programs and — most recently — the COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard [that included safety measures related to the pandemic]."

Arizona is among the states that individually operate OSHA-approved job safety and health programs. The federal government may revoke final approval of a state plan and reinstate federal concurrent authority under certain conditions.

The Labor Department said a proposal to reconsider and revoke the final approval of Arizona's State OSHA plan will be published in the Federal Register on April 21. A 35-day public comment period will end on May 26.

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