OSHA is moving to strip Arizona officials of their ability to regulate worker safety

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

In a letter Tuesday, James Frederick, OSHA’s acting assistant secretary, said the agency is taking the first steps to rescind its 1985 decision to let the Industrial Commission of Arizona oversee ensuring that safety rules are being enforced. 

“Arizona’s ongoing failure to adopt the Healthc-are Emergency Temporary Standard is continuously placing healthcare workers at risk as they are deprived of ‘at least as effective’ protections against the grave danger from the hazards of workplace exposures to SARS-CoV-2,” Frederick said, citing the standards that state regulations have to meet to enforce federal safety laws. 

The move to strip the Industrial Commission of its enforcement authority would put the federal agency in charge of enforcing not just the new rules that deal with everything from mask requirements to time off, but every other regulation in the state that governs worker safety, ranging from construction sites to office buildings. 

Gov. Doug Ducey said the OSHA action is “nothing short of a political stunt and desperate power grab.”

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