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OSHA withdraws opposition to Arizona workplace safety plan


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has withdrawn its proposal to revoke final approval of Arizona’s state-level occupational safety and health plan, a move that will now leave the state’s plan in place.

OSHA on Tuesday said it would no longer move to reconsider Arizona’s plan, which it previously opposed because of what the federal agency had called a decade-long pattern of failures to adopt adequate maximum penalty levels, workplace safety and health standards, National Emphasis Programs and the COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard.

OSHA issued a notice in April 2022 that proposed reconsideration and revocation of the state plan, and it took public comments on the notice through early July 2022.

At the end of the comment period, Arizona advised OSHA that the state plan would contain actions to address the agency’s concerns.

Those actions include adopting certain federal standards and directives, enacting state laws to ensure maximum and minimum penalty levels align with OSHA federal levels and authorizing the adoption of an emergency temporary standard that comports with OSHA and the Industrial Commission of Arizona in cases involving “grave dangers,” according to OSHA.

OSHA noted its opposition withdrawal comes despite recent reports of a downward trend in Arizona workplace inspections under the state plan’s enforcement program, since the reports were released after the April 2022 Federal Register notice.