OSHA finalizes slip, trip, and fall rule after 26 years of proposals
By: Jennifer Stroschein
Publication: Employee Safety Management Today
Date Posted: 02/16/2017
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) efforts to address slip, trip, and fall hazards began in 1971 when it created Subpart D, “Walking-Working Surfaces.” Since that time, efforts to revise these requirements have been ongoing, including proposed rules issued in 1973, 1990, and 2010. The most recent proposed rule has been finalized impacting all general industry employers and affecting more than 100 million employees.
OSHA believes that the new requirements give employers the necessary flexibility to decide which fall protection method or system works best for the work operation. General industry employers can now utilize guardrails and handrails, covers, personal fall protection, designated areas, and safety net systems. OSHA says that these multiple options will help ensure employees receive a level of fall protection that is both effective and necessary.
The new rule also requires general industry employers to:
- Identify and evaluate slip, trip, and fall hazards and provide appropriate personal protective equipment (i.e., personal fall protection) under new requirements in Subpart I, “Personal Protective Equipment.”
- Conduct regular and periodic inspections and maintenance of all walking-working surfaces in their workplace.
- Provide training that enables employees to recognize the hazards of falling and the procedures to be followed to minimize these hazards, including the use of personal fall protection, proper ladder climbing techniques, etc.
Additionally, the rule increases consistency between construction and general industry standards by incorporating 1926 requirements for safety net systems and scaffolds into the newly revised 1910 standard.
The majority of the new requirements are effective January 17, 2017; however, OSHA has extended compliance dates for a few requirements.
This article was featured in the Employee Safety Management Today newsletter.
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