OSHA Update: New Fall Protective Requirements
Final Rule to Update General Industry Walking-Working Surfaces
Fall protection standards will prevent thousands of fatalities every year.
For the sixth straight year, fall protection (1926.501) has continued to be the most cited violation on OSHA’s Top 10 list . To prevent falls from heights and on the same level (a working surface), OSHA issued a final rule to update its general industry walking-working surfaces standards.
With new fall protection standards in place, employers will benefit by having greater flexibility in choosing a system that works best in a particular situation. The need to use guardrails as the primary fall protection method has been eliminated and employers are able to use a non-conventional fall protection for certain situations.
The final rule increases the consistency between the general industry and construction standards, which will make compliance easier for employers who conduct operations in both industry sectors. For example, the final rule replaces the outdated general scaffold standards with a requirement that employers comply with OSHA’s construction scaffold standards.
With the change to fall protection requirements, OSHA estimates that these changes will prevent 29 fatalities and nearly 5,842 lost-workday injuries every year.
The final rule affects a wide range of workers, from painters to warehouse workers. The rule does not modify the standards for the construction or agricultural industries, as they have separate fall standards in place.
The update on fall protection specifically updates the general industry standards addressing slip, trip, and fall hazards (subpart D) and adds requirements for personal fall protection systems (subpart I).
General industry walking-working surfaces include but are not limited to, workers on floors, ladders, stairways, runways, dock boards, roofs, scaffolds, and elevated work surfaces and walkways.
Most of the rule will become effective January 17, 2017, 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, but some provisions have delayed effective dates, including:
Protect your workers from serious injuries and communicate potential hazards with Fall Protection Signs and Labels .
Skid-Gard™ Floor Tapes create a high-traction surface to prevent slips, trips, and falls on walkways, ramps, loading docks, steps, and stairways to help maintain a safe-stepping workplace on wet or greasy floors.
Identify temporary hazards in pathways by warning others with Fold-Ups®. With free-standing, Fold-Ups®, you can quickly inform workers of potential slip and trip hazards in and around your workplace.
Lockout tagout is a safety procedure that ensures machines and equipment are properly shut off during maintenance or repair work.