On January 17, the Final Rule to update OSHA’s Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Standards took effect. Walking-Working Surfaces (falls on a working surface) and falls from heights regularly lead to many serious work related injuries. This rule updates and clarifies these standards, while increasing training and inspection requirements. It is expected that these updates will prevent numerous fatalities and other work related injuries.
This rule has increased benefits to both employees and employers. Employees will have increased precautions in their workplace that will prevent serious work related injuries. This rule has also been expanded to cover all general industry workplaces thus positively affecting more industrial employees. Employers are now able to choose from a wider range of fall protection systems and determine which is most effective for their workplace instead of being required to use guardrails. OSHA has chosen to use this approach that has been used in the construction industry for over 20 years to better accommodate employers who have activities within both the industrial and construction fields.