WASHINGTON – The Biden administration is moving to strip Arizona of it’s authority To regulate workplace safety in response to what the Labor Department called Arizona’s “decade-long pattern of failures” to be at least as effective as the federal government’s rules and enforcement.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday it’s grown increasingly concerned that Arizona “is either unable or unwilling to maintain its commitment to provide a program for worker safety and health protection” as federal law requires.
As an example, the agency said Arizona has not adopted adequate maximum penalty levels, occupational safety and health standards or adequate COVID-19 standards for health care workers.
Arizona is one of 21 states which sets its own workplace policies and handles enforcement. That’s allowed under federal law, as long as a state’s rules are “at least as effective” as OSHA’s.
If not their, the federal government can revoke a state’s plan.
In October, OSHA warned Arizona, South Carolina and Utah that they were in danger of having their plan’s revoked.
In response, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called the threat a “political stunt and desperate power grab.”
The public will have until May 26 to comment on OSHA’s proposal to take over workplace safety in Arizona. The agency may also hold an online hearing on Aug. 16, 2022.
There is no deadline for OSHA to announce its decision.