OSHA’s New Rule on Walking-Working Surfaces

Slip, trip and fall hazards are the leading cause of worker deaths and lost-workday injuries. However, the existing OSHA standards had not been updated since 1971. OSHA now has a final rule for walking-working surfaces to improve worker safety and bring the standard up to date with the latest technological advancements.

New requirements for personal fall protection systems have also been added. French Gerleman offers a variety of products from Guardian Fall Protection that are compliant with the new OSHA standards.

According to OSHA, the final rule is estimated to result in:
  • 29 fewer worker deaths a year
  • 5,842 fewer lost-workday injuries each year
  • $309.5 million in net benefits

A male worker wearing work boots in a warehouse walking into a liquid spill on the floor.

What is the Final Rule?

The final rule is fully outlined in the OSHA 1910, and provides employers instructions to identify and evaluate hazards for slips, trips, and falls in the workplace, and verify this was completed with a written certification.

Employers must also provide appropriate equipment to address hazards identified in the evaluation, and regularly inspect and maintain all walking-working surfaces. Employees should be trained to minimize hazards and use preventative equipment appropriately.

This includes training on:

  • Personal fall protection
  • Ladder safety systems
  • Designated areas
  • Dockboards
  • Safety nets
  • Rope descent systems
  • Portable guardrails
  • Ladders

Training must be conducted by a qualified person.

How are Workers Protected?

The final rule improves worker safety by:

  • Phasing out the use of qualified climbers in outdoor advertising
  • Requiring ladders taller than 24 feet be equipped with ladder safety or personal fall protection systems
  • Implementing criteria for personal fall protection equipment
  • Requiring body harnesses and prohibiting body belts to spread out weight distribution in falls
  • Requiring workers who use personal fall protection to be trained

How are Employers Benefitted?

While the benefits for employees are obvious, employers also gain more flexibility with more fall protection options to choose from, and greater consistency between OSHA’s general industry and construction standards if they are involved with both.

The final rule incorporates technological advancements so employers can now choose more effective, cost-efficient choices, and removes outdated specifications so the rule is easier to understand and follow.

What is Covered?

The final rule applies to any walking-working surfaces, whether horizontal or vertical. These include:

  • Floors
  • Stairs
  • Roofs
  • Ladders
  • Ramps
  • Scaffolds
  • Step bolts
  • Aisles
  • Dock Boards
  • Elevated walkways

Injured construction worker who just fell from a ladder on a construction job.

If you would like more information about the update, contact us or your French Gerleman Account Manager. You can read the full OSHA update here.

Visit our website to purchase or check current stock and pricing on Guardian Fall Protection products.

Fall Protection Guardian Fall Protection OSHA personal safety