Heads up – a final rule from OSHA on updating general industry walking-working surfaces and protection standards has been in effect since Mid-January, though the effective dates for several provisions are being spread out over a period that extends all the way to November 2036.

The final rule includes revised and new provisions addressing, for example, fixed ladders; rope descent systems; fall protection systems and criteria, including personal fall protection systems; and training on fall hazards and fall protection systems. In addition, the final rule adds requirements on the design, performance, and use of personal fall protection systems.

Most of the rule became effective January 17, 2017, 60 days after it was published in the Federal Register, but some provisions delayed effective dates, including:
-Ensuring exposed workers are trained on fall hazards (May 17, 2017),
-Ensuring workers who use equipment covered by the final rule are trained (May 17, 2017),
-Inspecting and certifying permanent anchorages for rope descent systems (November 20, 2017),
According to OSHA’s website, the final two protection factors that must be completed by November 2018 are to:
-Install personal fall arrest or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders over 24 feet and on replacement ladders/ladder sections, including fixed ladders on outdoor advertising structures (by Nov. 19, 2018).
-Ensure existing fixed ladders over 24 feet, including those on outdoor advertising structures, are fitted with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system (by Nov. 19, 2018).

Nearly a full 18 years later (November 18, 2036, to be exact), cages and wells (used as fall protection) must be replaced with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet.

Even if your workplace doesn’t take personnel to such heights, there’s plenty of reason to pay attention to potential slip and fall hazards.

OSHA lists falling as one of the most common causes of workplace fatalities. The risks are even greater when a fall occurs to a lower level, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified as the most deadly type of fall on the job.

Workplace Safety & Health Co. stands ready to help workplaces be safe places to tread. We offer courses in Fall Protection and a wide range of other training topics, from OSHA Recordkeeping and Lockout/Tagout, to First Aid /CPR and Excavation Safety (and quite a few in between). Contact us for more information on how we can help your organization stay on a good footing.