>  New Fall Protection Requirements for Arizona's Construction Industry
How will OSHA's rejection impact the industry?

​How will OSHA's rejection impact the industry?

Effective on Saturday, February 7, 2015, Arizona's statute governing fall protection standards has been repealed; employers will revert to following OSHA's rule on fall protection (29 CFR part 1926, subpart M).  A decision by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to reject Arizona's state-specific residential fall protection standards was based largely on Arizona's standards not being "at least as effective as the standards promulgated by OSHA relating to the same issues."

What was the difference between the two standards?

The recently published Federal Register provides a comparison of standards.

"The OSH Act requires that State Plans develop and enforce standards that are at least as effective as OSHA's standards (29 U.S.C. 667(c)(2)). OSHA's standard for fall protection in residential construction (subpart M, 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13)) generally requires conventional fall protection (fall arrest systems, safety nets, or guardrails) any time employees are working at heights of six feet or greater. In contrast, Arizona's state statute generally requires very limited, if any, fall protection for employees working between six and 15 feet. The 2014 revision of the Arizona statute includes a mandate for fall protection for heights above six feet, but in most situations, allows for that fall protection to be in the form of a fall protection plan only. As discussed below in response to the comments, OSHA has found that conventional fall protection is a more effective means of protecting workers than implementation of a written plan. Arizona and OSHA's requirements for a fall protection plan differ significantly."
Arizona's statute also provides several exceptions to OSHA's rule, subpart M.

How will OSHA's rejection impact the industry?

After review of 10 comments provided by national safety organizations and local business and safety entities, OSHA ruled to reject the state's statue. This triggered a conditional repeal provision in Arizona's law that states if OSHA does reject the state statute, and publishes that decision in the Federal Register, then Arizona's statute is repealed by operation of law.

Until Arizona proposes a new statute, Arizona employers will revert to following  OSHA's rule on fall protection (29 CFR part 1926, subpart M). The Federal Register states, "OSHA will continue to monitor the State Plan, specifically enforcement activities in residential construction, to confirm that ADOSH is implementing and enforcing subpart M, or an at least as effective alternative, in an at least as effective manner."

Read the Federal Register for more information.

Understanding fall protection safety

When lives are at risk it is important to fully understand the risks involved with working at height. This includes knowing how to work through the hierarchy of fall protection and how to develop a well thought-out fall protection plan that is documented and reviewed by all employees. Check out the following resources for taking necessary steps to a safe working environment.


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