New OSHA Rule Changes for 2017
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
On November 17, 2016, OSHA issued a new final rule that updates and revises the outdated general industry Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems) standards on slip, trip, and fall hazards, which are a leading cause of worker deaths and lost-workday injuries (29 CFR part 1910, subparts D and I). The rule was published in the Federal Register on Friday, November 18.
The final rule applies to all general industry workplaces and covers all walking-working surfaces, which include horizontal and vertical surfaces such as floors, stairs, roofs, ladders, ramps, scaffolds, elevated walkways, and fall protection systems.
It impacts a variety of general industry firms including building management services, utilities, warehousing, retail, window cleaning, chimney sweeping, and outdoor advertising.
The rule provides greater consistency between OSHA’s general industry and construction standards, which makes compliance easier for employers who perform both general industry and construction activities. It incorporates advances in technology, industry best practices, and national consensus standards. OSHA estimates the final rule will prevent 29 worker deaths and 5,842 lost-workday injuries each year.
Major changes and new requirements to the rule include: ·
- Fall protection flexibility
- Updated scaffold requirements to match OSHA’s construction scaffold standards
- Within 20 years, all fixed ladders extending more than 24 feet must have a ladder safety or personal fall arrest system
- Phase-out of the “qualified climber” exception in outdoor advertising
- Rope descent systems (RDS) and certification of anchorages
- Personal fall protection system performance and use requirements
- Inspection of walking-working surfaces
- Training and retraining as necessary in a manner the worker understands
Of particular interest to our membership is the change in training requirements and inspections.
The final rule becomes effective on January 17th, 2017. Other key compliance timeframes are on the OSHA webpage, along with the full text of the rule, frequently asked questions, and Fact Sheet.
Fact Sheet www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3903.pdf
Frequently Asked Questions www.osha.gov/walking-working-surfaces/faq.html
News Release: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=33438
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