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September 19, 2017

How to Comply with OSHA's Updated Walking-Working Surfaces Rule

Next Deadline is Near: November 17
Fall Protection Required


Late last year, OSHA published new standards for walking-working surfaces and fall protection in general industry workplaces. Much of the rule took effect on January 17, 2017, but OSHA gave employers additional time to comply with many of the provisions. For example:
  • Inspections and certifications of permanent anchorages used in rope descent systems must be completed by November 17, 2017.
  • New fall arrest or safety systems on fixed ladders longer than 24 feet aren't required until November 17, 2018.

The new rules address both horizontal and vertical surfaces, including roofs, floors, ramps, elevated walkways, stairs, ladders and scaffolding. The updated standards actually give employers greater flexibility in the means they use to protect workers and reflect current technology and best practices. They also create consistency with existing workplace-safety rules governing construction sites, simplifying training and supervision for contractors working in both environments.
OSHA estimates the final standard will prevent 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries annually. Approximately 112 million workers at seven million worksites are impacted by the new rules, providing net benefits of more than $309 million.
The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have written an article that digs into the new standard and provides details on requirements for portable ladders, ropes and anchorage, scaffolding and required training. Check the full post here.

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