OSHA's Final Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Standards Rule

This Month's Safety Partners

Elevating safety to new heights.

With its history of innovation and excellence, 3M Personal Safety Division (formerly Capital Safety) offers its customers the quality products, expertise, and service of the trusted 3M™ DBI-SALA® and 3M™ Protecta® Fall Protection brands. With 3M Fall Protection equipment, you can help elevate your employees’ safety and comfort to new heights.

Visit 3M's Fall Protection page to learn more about their products, solutions, training, and support.

 

 Your wiki for safety people by safety people.

Safety standards, best practices, innovation, and legislation are constantly changing. There are thousands of formal and informal safety committees, dozens of safety certifications and thousands of courses. How do EHS professionals get the information they need quickly and easily? How can they spend less time behind the desk and more time in the field keeping people safe? We aim to be the simple resource safety professionals turn to for all things safety.

Join the movement or provide your feedback @ https://www.safeopedia.com.

Key Facts

What?

OSHA 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 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 use of fall protection systems.

Benefits to Employers

The rule benefits employers by providing greater flexibility in choosing a fall protection system. For example, 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. In addition, employers will be able to use non-conventional fall protection in certain situations, such as designated areas on low-slope roofs.

As much as possible, OSHA aligned fall protection requirements for general industry with those for construction, easing compliance for employers who perform both types of activities. For example, the final rule replaces the outdated general industry scaffold standards with a requirement that employers comply with OSHA's construction scaffold standards.

Who?

The 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 use of fall protection systems.

The final rule covers a wide variety of general industry firms including building management services, utilities, warehousing, retail, window cleaning, chimney sweeping, and outdoor advertising.

It does not change construction or agricultural standards.

Why?

Falls from heights and on the same level (a working surface) 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 Fall Protection category appeared in 4 of the top 10 OSHA violation in fiscal year 2018. This is the first time Fall Protection-Training Requirements appeared in the top 10.

Category

Number of Violations

#1: Fall Protection – General Requirements: 1926.501

7,720

#3: Scaffolds – General Requirements: 1926.451

3,336

#6: Ladders: 1926.1053

2,812

#8: Fall Protection – Training Requirements 1926.503

1,982

The new walking-working surfaces rule incorporates advances in technology, industry best practices, and national consensus standards to provide effective and cost-efficient worker protection. Specifically, it updates general industry standards addressing slip, trip, and fall hazards (subpart D), and adds requirements for personal fall protection systems (subpart I).

OSHA estimates that these changes will prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries every year.

How?

By restructuring 1910 Subpart D

Final 1910 Subpart D Old 1910 Subpart D
1910.21: Scope and definitions

1910.22: General requirements

1910.23: Ladders

1910.24: Step bolts and manhole steps

1910.25: Stairways

1910.26: Dockboards

1910.27: Scaffold and rope descent systems

1910.28: Duty to have fall protection and falling object protection

1910.29: Fall protection systems and falling object protection – criteria and practices

1910.30: Training Requirements

1910.140: Personal fall protection systems

1910.21: Definitions

1910.22: General requirements

1910.23: Guarding floor and wall openings and holes

1910.24: Fixed industrial stairs

1910.25: Portable wood ladders

1910.26: Portable metal ladders

1910.27: Fixed ladders

1910.28: Safety requirements for scaffolding

1910.29: Manually propelled mobile ladder stands and scaffolds (towers)

1910.30: Other working surfaces

 

Amendments to Additional Subparts to Reflect Changes made in Subpart D
Subpart F

1910.66 — Powered Platforms for Building Maintenance

Mandatory Appendix D of 1910.66 — Existing Installations

1910.67 — Vehicle-Mounted Elevating and Rotating Work Platforms

1910.68 — Manlifts

Subpart I

1910.132 — Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) General Requirements

1910.140 (New) — Personal Fall Protection Systems — See details below

Subpart N

1910.178 — Powered Industrial Trucks

1910.179 — Overhead and Gantry Cranes

Subpart R

1910.261 — Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills

1910.262 — Textiles

1910.265 — Sawmills

1910.268 — Telecommunications

1910.269 — Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution

When?

Here are the deadlines:

Most of the rule became effective January 17, 2017, 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, but some provisions have delayed effective dates. Note: all but the last deadline have passed. 

  • 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)
  • Installing 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 (November 19, 2018)
  • Ensuring existing fixed ladders over 24 feet, including those on outdoor advertising structures, are equipped with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system (November 19, 2018)
  • Replacing cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet (November 18, 2036)

Downloads & Links from OSHA

OSHA's Fact Sheet on Walking-Working Surfaces

Full Text from the Final Standard

FAQ on WWS Final Rule

Videos and Infographics For Your Team

OSHA Walking Working Surfaces Industry Standards Video

On November 17, 2016, OSHA published its final rule on Walking and Working Surfaces. The final rule covers a wide variety of general industry entities, including building management services, utilities, warehousing, retail, window cleaning, chimney sweeping and outdoor advertising. It does not change construction or agricultural standards. View this 3M video for details.

The New ANSI Z359.16 Standards: Complementing the OSHA Standards on Ladders

In February of 2017, ANSI introduced the new Z359.16 standard for Climbing Ladder Fall Arrest Systems, which sets out requirements that equipment must meet to be compliant, complementing the OSHA standards. View this video by 3M for details.

OSHA Ruling Affects Fixed Ladders, Cages and Wells

In November of 2016, OSHA published its final rule on Walking and Working Surfaces, updating the existing standard. 3M provides tips for complying with final OSHA rules.

Leading and Sharp Edges Infographic

Download These 3M Tools for Your Workers

Additional 3M Resources

Understanding Leading and Sharp Edges

What is considered a leading or sharp edge? What are the 4 unique risks for working around these edges? Download a PDF with all the info.

 

 

Five Things to Consider When Implementing Your Ladder Safety Efforts

The OSHA regulations and ANSI standards impacting ladder safety are changing. If you use a climbing ladder system, these changes likely apply to you.

 

Choosing the Right Netting System for Your Application

Safety netting offers strength, impact resistance, and durability to increase worker confidence. Construction safety netting systems catch personnel, debris or both, and are strong and durable for indoor or outdoor use. Industrial safety nets are typically lighter but just as strong and ideal for many material handling applications.

Learn more

Choosing the Right Guardrail System

Permanent and portable guardrail systems help keep workers a safe distance from fall hazards. Temporary guardrails can be set up quickly, and both portable and permanent guardrail systems are easily configured to accommodate your site and unique application, providing an additional layer of safety.

Learn more

Articles From Our Safety Partner Safeopedia.com