Are we going to lose ADOSH?
By: Henry Staggs
ADOSH, the Arizona Department of Safety and Health. Oversees our OSHA state program. And has an interesting history. One that includes being at odds with OSHA a few times over the years.
IF YOU ARE A ROOFER
If you’re a roofer. You will find this article interesting. It may answer a few questions.
WE BEGIN AT THE BEGINING
In case you don’t know what a “state plan” is. It’s when a state, such as Arizona. Prefers to run their own safety and health program. Rather than OSHA directly over seeing our state’s safety and health.
When a state chooses to become a “state plan” state. They are obligated to be as effective or more effective than OSHA.
If a state plan doesn't meet OSHA standards, that state could lose its independence. And OSHA may take over the oversight of the state program.
ARIZONA’S STATE PLAN.
Arizona's state program approved by OSHA on June 20, 1986. And is overseen by ADOSH. Arizona Department of Safety and Health. A division of the Arizona Industrial Commission.
Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA)
800 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
James Ashley, Director, and State Plan Designee
Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH)
800 W. Washington Street, 2nd floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Jessie Atencio, Director
FIRST SIGNS OF TROUBLE
According to OSHA Arizona has had “A History of Shortcomings.” And a fall protection standard Arizona tried to change in 2012. The OSHA fall protection standard for roofers is six feet.
On March 27, 2012, a new bill, SB 1441 is signed into legislation. Requiring conventional fall protection in residential construction. When an employee is working at a height of 15 feet or more. Or whenever a roof's slope is steeper than 7:12 - Federal Register. Arizona State Plan for Occupational Safety and Health
Arizona passed a law Arizona Revised Statute, Title 23, Ch. 2, Art 13 (A.R.S. 23-492) in 2012 changing the fall protection standard from six feet to fifteen feet. Having their own state obligates the State to follow the OSHA standards or better. To be as effective or more effective.
23-492.02. Residential construction fall protection
A. EACH EMPLOYEE WHO IS ENGAGED IN RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES FIFTEEN FEET OR MORE ABOVE LOWER LEVELS SHALL BE PROTECTED BY PERSONAL FALL PROTECTION SYSTEMS, UNLESS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THIS ARTICLE. IF THE EMPLOYER DEMONSTRATES THAT IT IS INFEASIBLE OR CREATES A GREATER HAZARD TO USE THESE SYSTEMS, THE EMPLOYER SHALL DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A FALL PROTECTION PLAN THAT MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 23 492.07.
Raising the height from six feet to fifteen feet. Seems to increase the hazard to the workers on the roof. After several discussions and other official activities. OSHA came to that same conclusion.
OSHA has concluded that the Arizona statute is not at least as effective as OSHA's standard Federal Register :: Arizona State Plan for Occupational Safety and Health
It was all put to rest in 2015. After OSHA started the process to revoke our state plan and take over, in 2014. Our State leaders took action and amended the law to leave a back door of sorts. As I understand it (I am not a lawyer), the law stands but if the OSHA standard is six feet. The OSHA standard takes precedence. Unless the contractor can prove doing so would make the hazard worse not better. And forget even trying to do that.
On April 22, 2014, a new law, SB 1307, which makes certain revisions to A.R.S. 23-492, was signed into law. This revised version of the state statute makes some relatively minor changes to its fall protection requirements, does not alter the 15-foot height for conventional fall protection, and contains a conditional repeal provision.
Here comes COVID and the hard impact it had on everything we do. Arizona failed to adopt OSHA’s Healthcare ETS, which OSHA issued on June 21, 2021. According to OSHA’s report.
Once again ADOSH and OSHA entered discussions. OSHA came out of those discussions unsatisfied. And once again we are facing a revocation of our state program.
OSHA’s decision to move forward with reconsideration and proposed revocation at this time is based on its continuing evaluation of Arizona’s State Plan, the history of shortcomings described above, and the numerous areas where the State Plan continues to be less effective than OSHA (including on penalty levels and important emphasis programs). 2022-08424.pdf (federalregister.gov)
WILL WE LOOSE ADOSH
Who knows how this will all work out. One thing is certain! However, this all ends up. It will have a direct and profound impact on our industry. One way or the other. Roofing contractors should begin to plan for enhanced fall protection enforcement. One way is willingly. And the other is get cited and fined until you are willing.
PLAN FOR THE WORST AND HOPE FOR THE BEST
Our industry has its challenges when it comes to fall protection. Especially in the residential market. This fifteen-foot law does not help clear things up either. This explains why so many roofers think fall protection only applies to commercial work. Ultimately, the authorities. Will have to step in and that will not be a good day for a lot of contractors.
If OSHA does take over the oversight of Arizona’s safety and health. You better believe there will be sudden and harsh changes. Expect stricter enforcement and higher penalties. Don’t be shocked if they decide to make an example of a few of the first bad players they zero in on.
Let me be clear. I don’t have a problem with OSHA. I understand why they do what they do. I know they will do their job. So be careful, be safe and you will be OK
Henry Staggs, NCCER Master Trainer
(C) The Arizona Roofer, LLC 2021