Friday, February 17, 2017

OSHA Issues Fall Protection Updates, Walking-Working Surface Updates

OSHA's final ruling on Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Systems
updates ladder safety, Competent and Qualified Persons responsibilities,
and more.

Last November, OSHA issued a final ruling on Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Systems. The new regulations zero in on the Fall Protection Program and include updates to the responsibilities of Qualified and Competent persons. Here is a list of some of the regulations most pertinent to workers:

  • Workers exposed to fall hazards or who use fall protection equipment must receive Fall Protection training by May 2017. 
  • Permanent building anchorages must be inspected and certified by the end of this year. 
  • Existing fixed ladders over 24 feet must have fall protection installed by the end of next year. 
Roof Work Fall Protection Updates:
  • All job sites with construction work above 6 feet require fall protection. 
  • All work at less than 6 feet from the edge of an unprotected roof regardless of height requirements a conventional means of protection. 
  • A warning line is required at 6 feet from an unprotected edge to warn workers.
Ladders, Stairs and Guardrail Updates: 
  • Fall protection on existing fixed ladders greater than 24 feet will be required by 2018. 
  • Ladder safety systems or personal fall arrest systems are required on new fixed ladders greater than 24 feet. 
  • All fixed ladders greater than 24 feet must have ladder safety systems by 2036. 
  • Guardrails for both general industry and construction work require a height of 42 inches and openings cannot be greater than 19 inches. 
  • Chains are no longer allowed to close access openings.
Competent and Qualified Persons Updates: 
  • Repairs to structural integrity of walking-working surfaces must be done by Qualified Persons 
  • Training of workers must be done by Qualified Persons- previously, Competent Persons were permitted to train workers 
  • Knot inspections on lifelines must be done by Qualified Persons

View Online Training for Fall Protection - Competent Person

Job site Assessment Updates:
Assessment of fall hazards on job sites is now a requirement. Employers must:
  • Determine whether hazards are present 
  • Communicate to employees if hazards are present and select appropriate personal protective equipment for employees to ensure proper fit 
  • Coordinate with entities to assess hazards for multi-employer sites 
  • Document the completion of assessments
As always, OSHA reiterates that workers must receive safety training before they begin hazardous tasks and before they use fall-protection. Understanding these regulations are critical in remaining compliant- and protecting the safety workers.

To learn more about fall protection program and other OSHA training courses, visit Zack Academy's website. To read the ruling in full, visit OSHA's publication.

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