New rules are out on fall protection and slips, trips and falls. Employers have just two months to come into compliance. OSHA has been working on an update to the regulations governing walking/working surfaces, fall protection for General Industry and today the agency published a 500+ page final rule that lays out the changes. It goes into effect on January 17, 2017. You can access the full rule here.
There are some things in the rule that industry should like. For one thing it makes the rules on fall protection and slips and falls for General Industry more consistent with the Construction standard, which should eliminate confusion. It also reflects improvements that many companies have already put in place and gives more flexibility in the ways that companies protect their workers. However, as with every regulation, the devil is in the details and companies need to read the new rules carefully.
OSHA highlighted the following changes as areas that underwent significant changes:
- Require companies to train personal who use fall protection systems and other equipment designed for falls;
- Use rope descent systems up to 300 feet above a lower level; and
- Prohibit the use of body belts as part of a personal fall arrest system
OSHA leaders say the changes will prevent 5,842 lost-workday injuries and 29 fatalities a year. The current leadership at OSHA had promised to release the new rule before the changeover in administrations.
Watch this site for a more detailed analysis of the rule.