Beneath the Surface | Final Rule on Walking-Working Surfaces

OSHA has issued a final rule that updates and revises outdated slip, trip and fall hazard standards for general industry. The final rule also aligns general industry fall protection requirements as much as possible with construction requirements. With the changes, workers will be better protected through updated and clarified standards, as well as new training and inspection requirements. The rule is expected to prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries each year. The final rule applies to all general industry workplaces and covers all walking-working surfaces, such as stairs, roofs, ladders, scaffolds, and more.

Some changes implemented by the Final Rule are situation-specific requirements for fall protection as well as new requirements for the use, maintenance, performance, and inspection of personal fall protection systems. Requirements for Rope Descent Systems and Ladder Safety were also added. Employers also now have greater flexibility to choose from the below fall protection options:

  • Guardrail System
  • Safety Net System
  • Personal Fall Arrest System
  • Positioning System
  • Travel Restraint System
  • Ladder Safety System

With the Final Rule, employers have an additional requirement to provide training to workers who use personal fall protection and who work in specific high hazard situations. These workers must be able to:

  • Identify and minimize fall hazards;
  • Use personal fall protection systems and rope descent systems; and
  • Maintain, inspect, and store equipment or systems used for fall protection.

Employers are also required to provide retraining as needed, including when there’s a change in workplace operations or equipment, or when the worker would benefit from retraining due to lack knowledge or skill.

Most of the provisions of the rule took effect in January 2017, but some provisions have delayed effective dates. For more information, please see OSHA’s page regarding the Final Rule.

Date Posted: 04-22-2017
Tags: fall protection training, osha fall protection, osha safety topics, osha walking working surfaces, osha workplace safety, personal protection equipment, workplace hazards,
Categories: OSHA Safety,