The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is seeking to revoke the final approval of Arizona’s state OSHA plan, citing the state’s failure to adopt and enforce effective standards.
This is in response to Arizona’s “decade-long pattern of failure” to use standards and enforcement policies at least as effective as federal OSHA’s.
State plans are OSHA-approved programs operated by an individual state rather than federal OSHA, something the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act encourages.
Federal OSHA approves and monitors all state plans, providing up to 50% of each program’s funding.
Failed to maintain OSH Act obligations
Actions by the Arizona state plan “suggest the state is either unable or unwilling to maintain its commitment to provide a program for worker safety and health protection” under the OSH Act.
The DOL says Arizona has failed to adopt:
- adequate maximum penalty levels
- adequate occupational safety and health standards
- National Emphasis Programs, and
- the COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard.
When state plans fail to comply with the requirement to remain at least as effective as federal OSHA, DOL can initiate proceedings to revoke final approval and reinstate federal authority.
Final decision coming later in 2022
The proposal to revoke the state’s final approval will be published in the Federal Register April 21, which marks the beginning of the revocation process.
Comments on the proposal must be submitted by May 26, 2022, and federal OSHA will hold an online hearing Aug. 16, 2022, if necessary.
After OSHA has reviewed and considered the comments, testimony and evidence collected, the agency will publish a second Federal Register notice announcing its decision on revocation of Arizona’s final approval.