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What Is the Latest Rule from OSHA on Fall Protection?

With reach across many industries and professions, OSHA plays a key role in the safety of workers. They use a number of methods to achieve this, including on-site inspections, training programs and by establishing guidelines and regulations.

Despite their importance, the sheer number of rules and standards makes them difficult to remember and follow. If that wasn’t enough, frequent modifications to existing regulations and the introduction of brand new guidelines complicate the matter even further.

The Latest Rule Change

One of OSHA’s latest rule changes comes in the form of stronger fall protection standards, especially when it applies to walking-working surfaces around the job site. To enforce these regulations, OSHA hopes to clarify any confusion surrounding new or existing standards while defining requirements in training and inspection.

According to OSHA’s estimates, the new rules will prevent dozens of fatalities and recoup thousands of lost workdays on an annual basis. Some industries will see a greater effect than others, but the manufacturing sector stands to benefit immensely from new, tougher rules.

For the Employer

Although many owners have a love-hate relationship with OSHA officials, the new rules are extremely beneficial to employers. By eliminating the need for guardrails as a form of primary fall protection, and by handing the choice over to individual employers, we’re likely to see increased productivity as a result.

In fact, OSHA’s new standards are similar to the regulations that have been used in the construction industry for years. The modification also allows for the use of alternative or non-conventional forms of fall protection as the situation dictates.

Staggering the Benefits

OSHA’s new rules generally go into effect 60 days after it’s been published in the Federal Register. However, this particular revision includes several benefits that are delivered via a staggered timeline. Fall hazard and equipment training, for example, will be provided to workers after six months. Rope descent systems will be inspected and certified after a period of one year, and personal fall arrest or comparable safety systems will be installed on ladders over 24 feet after a period of two years.

In addition, any fixed ladders over 24 feet will be equipped with a cage and a personal fall arrest system at that time. After a period 20 years, the cages and wells will be replaced on all fixed ladders over 24 feet in height.

As you can see, the new rule changes target the most important areas first. By training employees on relevant hazards and proper equipment usage, employers will be able to minimize any other risks from that point forward.

Keeping Up With OSHA

Between managing a business, directing your workforce and marketing to new clients, it can be difficult to keep up with the evolving standards of OSHA. On the other hand, those who hope to achieve a stellar safety record will find no better source of information than the regulatory agency who is overseeing their operations in the first place.

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