12 Jun

OSHA Compliance Update: Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Rule

By Alyse Ridpath

Two of the leading causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths in the United States are falls from heights and slips, trips, or falls on the same level (or working surfaces).  As a result, OSHA has issued the final rule updates to Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems.

The final rule updates and clarifies the existing general industry standards that have not been updated since their inception in 1971.  By adding training and inspection requirements, the rule incorporates advances in technology and industry best practices to provide effective worker protection.

The rule affects a wide range of general industry workers while addressing the issues of slips, trips, and fall hazards and adding requirements for personal fall protection systems.

Since the final rule became effective, OSHA also provided delayed or phased-in compliance dates for several requirements in the final rule.  These include:

  • Ensuring exposed workers are trained on fall hazards — May 17, 2017
  • Ensuring workers who use equipment covered by the final rule are trained — May 17, 2017
  • Inspecting and certifying permanent anchorages for rope descent systems — November 20, 2017
  • Installing personal fall arrest or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders over 24 feet and on replacement ladders/ladder sections, including fixed ladders on outdoor advertising structures — November 19, 2018
  • Ensuring existing fixed ladders over 24 feet, including those on outdoor advertising structures, are equipped with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system — November 19, 2018
  • Replacing cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet — November 18, 2036

If you are concerned you may have missed the dates on any of these deadlines, don’t worry!

Contact Robert Ridpath CSP, CFEI at rmr@wandling.com