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Workplace Safety Battle Brewing At Arizona Capitol

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 3:02pm

A fight over workplace safety precautions is at the heart of the latest battle between Arizona and the U.S. government. The state House has given preliminary approval to a measure that would revoke legislation approved in 2012.

Senate Bill 1307 is an attempt by lawmakers to avoid a federal takeover of the state's construction safety standards division.

Arizona has its own Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is required to comply with minimum federal requirements. And, it did, until last year. A 2012 measure changed Arizona's safety standards so certain 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. Arizona has until next Friday to respond to the federal agency's notice of action.

U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake have asked officials from the federal agency to delay any proceedings against Arizona.