OSHA Standard Update: Walking and Working Surfaces
In an effort to reduce the high number of fall injuries and fatalities sustained each year in general industry, OSHA is updating it’s walking and working surfaces standard to better clarify safety requirements in both training and inspection.
“The rule incorporates advances in technology, industry best practices, and national consensus standards to provide effective and cost-efficient worker protection. Specifically, it updates general industry standards addressing slip, trip, and fall hazards (subpart D), and adds requirements for personal fall protection systems (subpart I).” (OSHA)
OSHA outlines the timeline for the updated standard below:
- Ensuring exposed workers are trained on fall hazards (6 months),
- Ensuring workers who use equipment covered by the final rule are trained (6 months),
- Inspecting and certifying permanent anchorages for rope descent systems (1 year),
- 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 (2 years),
- 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 (2 years), and
- Replacing cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet (20 years)(OSHA.gov).
“OSHA estimates that these changes will prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries every year” (OSHA.gov).