On November 18, 2016, OSHA published the revised standard on walking and working surfaces. The new standard incorporates several changes including, among others, melding the personal fall protection requirements currently found in the construction standards (29CFR 1926) with fall protection requirements in general industry and personal protective equipment for fall protection.\

Much of the language in the new standard will be performance-based and employers will be allowed to choose fall protection for workers from several systems, including:

  • Guardrail Systems;
  • Safety Net Systems;
  • Personal Fall Arrest Systems;
  • Positioning Systems;
  • Travel Restraint Systems; or
  • Ladder Safety Systems for fixed ladders

There will be additional information on fixed and portable ladders as well as mobile ladder stands and platforms. Cages on fixed ladders will, eventually, go the way of the VHS recorder and land-line telephone, to be replaced by ladder safety systems.

And if you have workers hanging from the side of the building washing windows or performing other building exterior maintenance activities, the new standard will limit the use of rope descent systems (bosun’s chairs) to a height of 300 feet.

As you would expect, there will be new requirements for inspections and training in the use of fall protection equipment.

A lot is coming in the way of fall protection so stay tuned to this blog for a soon-to-come multi-part post on the new standard.