Falls are among the leading causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. OSHA has issued a final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems to better protect workers in general industry from these hazards by updating and clarifying standards and adding training and inspection requirements.
The rule incorporates advances in technology, industry best practices and national consensus standards to provide effective and cost-efficient worker protection by updating general industry standards addressing slip, trip, and fall hazards and adding requirements for personal fall protection systems.
The rule provides greater flexibility to employers in choosing a fall protection system. It eliminates the existing mandate to use guardrails as a primary fall protection method and allows employers to choose from accepted fall protection systems they believe will work best in a particular situation – an approach that has been successful in the construction industry since 1994. Employers will also be able to use non-conventional fall protection in certain situations, such as designated areas on low-slope roofs.
OSHA has aligned fall protection requirements for general industry with those for construction as much as possible, easing compliance for employers who perform both types of activities.
OSHA estimates that these changes will prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries every year.