The Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSHA’s) final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection, updated in November 2016, updates general industry standards under the outdated rule, untouched since 1971. The rule went into effect in January 2017 and requires employers to meet new training by May 17, 2017 on slips, trips, and falls as well as safety requirements to personal fall protections systems. Employers should review the updated rules and implement appropriate training on the topic of slips, trips, and falls in the workplace specific to their industry.

OSHA estimates that the updates will prevent 29 work-related deaths and 5,842 lost workdays due to injuries each year.

The updates mean that employers must do the following to remain in compliance:

  • Ensure exposed workers are trained on fall hazards by May 17, 2017.
  • Ensure workers who use equipment covered by the final rule are trained by May 17, 2017.
  • Inspect and certify permanent anchorages for rope descent systems one year after the updated rule’s effective date.
  • 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 two years after the updated rule’s effective date.
  • Ensure 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 two years after the updated rule’s effective date.
  • Replace cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet within 20 years of the updated rule’s effective date.

ThinkHR offers online learning through ThinkHR Learn that supports the new training requirement under the Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection rule. Recommended Learn courses include:

  • Fall Protection
  • Ladder Safety
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls

Find more information on Learn and other ThinkHR resources here.

ThinkHR will monitor updates to this and other workplace safety regulations and offer solutions to support employers’ compliance with new and updated rules.