Bill could stop US takeover of Arizona division

Arizona House lawmakers hoping to avert a federal takeover of the state’s construction safety standards division gave initial approval Thursday to a bill that would revoke, on condition, 2012 legislation that is at the heart of the latest battle between Arizona and the U.S. government.

Arizona has its own Occupational Safety and Health Administration that must comply with minimum federal requirements. Until last year, it did.

Legislation in 2012 changed Arizona’s safety standards so that conventional precautions would have to be taken if someone was working 15 feet above ground or higher. Federal standards say the precautions are required at 6 feet above ground.

The federal agency has initiated proceedings against the state and has threatened to take over inspections unless the state makes a change.

Federal DOSHA spokeswoman Lauren North confirmed that the federal agency would likely assume jurisdiction over residential and construction projects in Arizona. She has said the agency would rather work with the state to correct the issue than to take over state operations.