April 20, 2022

Federal government could take over job safety enforcement from Arizona

OSHA is starting the process of revoking Arizona's state plan this week.

360 pcc aviation plane worker
Martín Rubio/AZPM Staff

The U.S. Department of Labor is threatening to revoke Arizona’s state OSHA plan in reaction to what it calls nearly a decade-long pattern of failures to adopt and enforce safety standards.

Most recently, the state government skirted federal COVID-19 safety measures for workplaces.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, sets workplace standards and requires that states create plans that are at least as effective as those.

Assistant Secretary of OSHA Doug Parker said Arizona failed to adopt multiple federal programs and safety and health standards.

"This is not something we do lightly, but certainly something that we’re determined to do to make sure that we don’t have a patchwork of different levels of protection for workers in this country, depending on what state you’re in," Parker said.

OSHA sent a letter to the state government last fall as a warning, which Governor Doug Ducey wrote off as a “political stunt and desperate power grab.”

Now, OSHA is reconsidering Arizona’s plans and could revoke them if it doesn’t make any changes.

The proposal will be published Thursday, April 21st, and OSHA will take public comments into May.

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