On April 20, the Department of Labor announced a proposal to reconsider and revoke the final approval of Arizona’s state plan in response to nearly a decade-long pattern of failures to adopt and enforce standards and enforcement policies at least as effective as those used by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according to osha.gov.
State plans are OSHA-approved job safety and health programs operated by individual states rather than federal OSHA. The OSH Act encourages states to develop and operate their programs. OSHA approves and monitors all state plans and provides up to 50% of each program’s funding.
OSHA has grown increasingly concerned that actions by Arizona’s state OSHA plan suggest the state is unable or unwilling to maintain its commitment to provide a program for worker safety and health protection as the OSH Act requires. For example, Arizona reportedly has failed to adopt adequate maximum penalty levels, occupational safety and health standards, National Emphasis Programs and the COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard.
If OSHA determines a state plan is failing to comply with its obligation to remain at least as effective as OSHA, the agency may initiate proceedings to revoke final approval and reinstate federal concurrent authority over occupational safety and health issues covered by the state plan.
The proposal is available for public inspection at the Federal Register and was published April 21. With its publication, OSHA marks the start of the revocation process. The notice does not make any substantive changes to the Arizona state plan or give federal OSHA the authority to enforce occupational safety and health standards in Arizona.
Comments on the proposal must be submitted by May 26. If necessary, OSHA will hold an online hearing Aug. 16 at 10 a.m. EDT. Those interested in testifying or questioning witnesses must submit a notice of their intention by May 11.
Once OSHA has considered comments during the 35-day comment period and reviewed testimony and evidence collected in the event of a hearing, it will publish a second Federal Register notice announcing its decision regarding revocation of final approval.