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Legislative Updates for April 2024

The bad news for the state budget continues. The size of the projected deficit has ballooned to $1.7 billion, which is even more dramatic when one considers that the state had a $1 billion surplus just last year. Nevertheless, the difficult negotiations between the Governor and the Republican controlled legislature are just beginning.

 

Legislatively, HB 2209 has popped up in the middle of session as an important bill for our industry. 

 

As you may know, OSHA rules are regulated in Arizona by ADOSH (The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health) -- which is part of the industrial commission. This delegation of federal authority is similar to the role that ADEQ plays in administering EPA rules. The benefit or this arrangement is the flexibility to amend rules to suit local concerns as well as access to regulators to discuss how those rules are implemented. Under our agreement with the federal government, Arizona can adopt different rules but they must be at least as effective as the federal rules they replace. Also, the state is permitted to make clarifications to federal law.

 

OSHA has proposed changes to its inspection procedures (under 29 CFR 1903.8) that could have many negative consequences for employers. Under current law- when a worksite inspection is required by ADOSH, the Walk Around Representative accompanying ADOSH must either be an employee of the company; or if the employees are unionized, by a union representative. 

 

Proposed new OSHA rules would allow the Walk Around Representative to be someone who is neither an employee of the company nor a representative of the workers. It would also allow additional persons who claim to represent workers to be present for the inspection as well.

 

This raises the following questions:

  •  Who is liable if one of these outsiders is injured on a jobsite; How would the worker compensation system work in this scenario.

  • How many outsiders can join an ADOSH inspection.

  • How can a company ensure that proprietary information is protected in the same manner as currently provided in Arizona law if third parties are permitted under the new proposed rules.

  • How can a company ensure that everyone participating in inspection is trained in proper safety practices and use the appropriate personal protective equipment.

  • Who pays if one of these outsiders is injured during the inspection?


HB2209 addresses all these problems. Click Here to view a summary of the bill

 

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