WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration will withdraw its proposal to reconsider and revoke final approval of Arizona’s State Plan for occupational safety and health, and by doing so, will leave the state’s plan in place.
The announcement follows OSHA’s publication of Federal Register notice on April 21, 2022, that proposed reconsideration and revocation because of by the Arizona State Plan’s nearly decade-long pattern of failures to adopt adequate maximum penalty levels, occupational safety and health standards, National Emphasis Programs and the COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard.
OSHA accepted public comments on the revocation proposal through July 5, 2022. On that day, Arizona submitted a public comment advising OSHA that the state’s plan had completed significant actions to address the concerns OSHA identified in the original Federal Register notice. The actions made by the Arizona State Plan included adopting outstanding federal standards and directives, enacting state laws to ensure that Arizona’s future maximum and minimum penalty levels track with OSHA federal levels, and authorizing adoption of an emergency temporary standard when either OSHA or the Industrial Commission of Arizona determines that grave danger criteria are met.
In light of Arizona’s efforts, OSHA postponed a scheduled public hearing and reopened the comment period until Oct. 14, 2022, to allow stakeholders another opportunity to comment on the proposed revocation.
With today’s announcement, OSHA will withdraw its proposal to reconsider the final approval status of the Arizona State Plan, despite recent public reports of a downward trend in inspections in the plan’s enforcement program, as these were not part of OSHA’s April 2022 Federal Register notice. OSHA takes these reports seriously, and the agency is actively working with the Arizona State Plan to address these issues.
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