Fall Protection: OSHA Rejects Arizona Standards
Arizona contractors engaged in
residential construction must comply with stricter federal fall
On February 6, 2015, the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA) rejected Arizona’s residential fall
protection standards that were enacted in 2012.
As a result of OSHA’s actions, all of the
Arizona state-specific residential fall protection standards in
A.R.S. §§ 23-492 through -492.09 are automatically repealed.
Effective February 7, 2015, Arizona employers in Arizona must comply
with the federal residential fall protection standards in 29 CFR
1926.501 et seq., known as Subpart M.
To help contractors comply with Subpart M,
the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) is
offering free classes on the first and third Thursday of each month,
from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Industrial Commission of Arizona
Auditorium, 800 West Washington Street, Phoenix, Arizona, and
through webinars scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month
from 10:00 am to noon.
Additional training options can be arranged
through ADOSH’s consultation program. For more information, visit the
Industrial Commission of Arizona website or by call 602-542-1769
(Phoenix) or 520-628-5478 (Tucson).
Central to OSHA’s problems with the State was dissatisfaction with enforcing the use of conventional fall protection in most
circumstances where employees are working six to 15 feet above a surface. OSHA
requires construction employers to provide fall protection at elevations of six
feet and above.
The result for many construction employers
heightened regulatory activity and tighter enforcement. In representing
contractors that have received a safety-related citation, we have seen
situations in which (a) an employee unilaterally disregarded a safety protocol
and (b) regulators “imputed” knowledge of the violation to the employer. This
allows regulators to cite the employer for rogue employee misconduct, even
though the employer had no actual knowledge.
As a consequence, otherwise compliant contractors were
being tagged with the stigma of violations, thus threatening their business
relationships with project owners and general contractors that require a clean
In this time of increased enforcement activity, it is
more important than ever that roofing contractors and other employers in
fall-sensitive construction situations exercise vigilance in complying with OSHA
requirements and, in particular, supervising and reprimanding workers who
disregard fall protection and other safety standards.
Evidence of an employer being “fully compliant”
generally includes company-wide safety policies and procedures, regular employee
training, disciplinary action for workers’ non-compliant behavior, providing all
necessary safety equipment on the job site, and hiring safety consultants to
conduct additional training and unannounced job site inspections.
OSHA Requirements and Resources.
Falls are among
the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths, particularly
in construction. To prevent employees from being injured from falls, OSHA
requires employers to, in general:
use safe work procedures;
train workers in the proper selection, use, and maintenance of all protection systems;
use proper construction and installation of safety systems;
select fall protection systems appropriate for
given situations; and
supervise employees properly.
help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and to work with
OSHA on correcting any identified hazards, employers can contact OSHA's free and
consultation service or
call 800-321-OSHA (6742) and, under call-in options in effect at the time of
this article, press number 4. OSHA claims that on-site
consultations services are separate from enforcement activities and do not
result in penalties or citations.
Other on-line OSHA resources
Industry Safety and Health Outreach Program
in Residential Construction
Standards and Resources