This past Friday OSHA issued a final rule affecting their update to general industry walking-working surfaces and fall protection standards. Falls from heights or a same-level working surface is one of OSHA’s “fatal four” and a strong focus of theirs in recent years. Agriculture and construction are not included in this update. However, the rule will impact a broad variety of industries including painters and warehouse workers. According to OSHA’s estimate, this change will prevent 29 fall-related fatalities each year.
The new rule impacts several key areas that include major updates to fall protection requirements while granting employers more flexibility with how those protections are provided. It also formalizes requirements for providing employees with the proper fall protection systems when working in particular situations such as runways, hoist areas, and spaces above hazardous equipment. Requirements associated with the use of rope descent systems and requirements for workers who perform tasks using ladders have both been updated.
The majority of the updated rule will go into effect 60 days from its publication date of 11/18/16. Certain parts of the new rule will experience a delayed implementation to allow for training of employees to take place. OSHA has published a helpful fact sheet that covers some of the key provisions of the new rule and timelines on the implementation of key provisions.
If you’re looking for additional resources or have questions about training your employees to the new standards, feel free to give us a call at 864.905.7835.