Meeting the New ADOSH Director

photo-149Last week I attended the OSHA presentation at Snell given by Bill Warren, the new Director of the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health.  The presentation was aptly titled “Meet the New Director,” and it provided just that – the perfect opportunity for industry leaders to hear from Bill first-hand.

For those following facts and figures – in FY2013, there were 1,164 inspections, an increase from the previous year, and 655 of them were in the construction industry.  Also, there are currently 35 employers in the ADOSH Volunteer Protection Program which provides consultation for employers.  Quite frankly, I am surprised there aren’t more companies signed up for the VPP.  For those who don’t know what it is, the VPP is a voluntary (hence the “V” in VPP) program that companies may apply to participate in.  Participating companies then receive consultation services, such as: on-site safety and health surveys and the development and review of safety and health programs, among other benefits.  Citations and penalties are not assessed during this audit process.  Bill also confirmed that the consultant does not notify the compliance section of ADOSH – thus, the consultants are truly there to assist the company with improving workplace safety.  ADOSH further explains requirements for the applicants as follows:

In Arizona, an applicant must have an average injury incidence rate and lost workday rate for a three-year period that is at or below the national average for the employer’s industry and a comprehensive safety and health program that is and has been in effect for at least one year. A worksite must ensure management commitment to worker safety and health protection, a written safety and health program, worksite analysis of existing or potential hazards, hazard prevention and control, safety and health training, employee involvement in safety and health activities and annual program evaluations. In addition, there must be formal signed statements from any collective bargaining agents indicating their support of the VPP application.

VPP participants are exempt from programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status.  Being part of the VPP sure seems like a win-win to me.

Bill also talked about the whistleblower protections – ADOSH conducted 66 discrimination investigations in FY 2013, and he also touched on some of the significant investigations.

The hour was time well-spent.

About Ashley Kasarjian

Attorney at Snell and Wilmer in Phoenix, Arizona, and publisher of the blog, Employment and the Law.
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