OSHA Issues Final Rule on Walking-Working Surfaces

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule updating its general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards specific to slip, trip and fall hazards. The rule, which goes into effect on Jan. 17, 2017, also includes a new section under the general industry Personal Protective Equipment regulations that establishes employer requirements for using personal fall protection systems.

OSHA estimates that these changes will affect 112 million workers at seven million work sites, preventing 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries annually.

The final OSHA Walking-Working Surfaces rule:

  • Increases the options for fall protection that employers may use
  • Provides more consistency between OSHA's general industry and construction standards
  • Incorporates advances in technology, industry best practices and national consensus standards, which provide employers with improved methods for protecting workers
  • Replaces outdated specification requirements with performance-based language and criteria

OSHA's action should serve as a reminder to all employers of the importance of preventing employee slip, trip and fall accidents in the workplace.

Slips, trips and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents, accounting for 15 percent of all accidental deaths on the job.