Environmental & Safety Blog


On November 17, 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a final rule for updating walking-working surfaces standards and establishing personal fall protection systems requirements. This update is for general industry walking-working surfaces standards and is specific to slip, trip and fall hazards. This rule also includes a new section under the general industry personal protective equipment standards that establishes employer requirements for using personal protection systems.


The final rule’s most significant update is allowing employers to choose the best fall protection system for their environment. Employers can choose from options including personal fall arrest, ladder safety systems, safety netting, travel restraint, and work position systems. These are great options to have instead of requiring guardrails which the current ruling mandates.

OSHA anticipates that the changes provided in the final rule will prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries annually.


The final rule became effective on January 17, 2017. Some requirements in the new rule have compliance dates after the effective date including:


  • Ensuring exposed workers are trained on fall hazards and the use of fall protection equipment (6 months)
  • Inspecting and certifying permanent anchorages for rope descent systems (1 year)
  • Installing 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 (2 years)
  • Ensuring 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 (2 years)
  • Replacing cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet (20 years)


This ruling will affect approximately 112 million workers at 7 million worksites.


If you need training regarding this new ruling give us a call – 270-753-6529 – STEP up to Compliance!

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