OSHA Unveils Latest Update to “Walking-Working Surfaces”


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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its latest update to Subpart D “Walking-Working Surfaces” after 26 years of proposals calling for change. OSHA estimates the final standard will prevent 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries annually. The rule becomes effective on Jan. 17, 2017, and will affect approximately 112 million workers at seven million work-sites.

The most pertinent updates include:

  • Employers can select the fall protection system that works best for them, choosing from a range of accepted options including personal fall protection systems.
  • Employers can use rope descent systems up to 300 feet above a lower level
  • Prohibiting the use of body belts as part of a personal fall arrest system
  • Requiring worker training on personal fall protection systems and fall equipment

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