Do you work in an industry subject to falls from heights or slips and trips on non-raised surfaces? If so, you could be heavily impacted by the recent updates made to an OSHA rule regarding Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems or Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Standards.
It’s estimated that this rule will impact 112 million workers at 7 million workplaces across the United States. However, the PPE standards won’t take effect until January 2017 – so you still have time to take the necessary steps to avoid noncompliance issues. How can you begin implementing OSHA’s final rule on Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Standards? Let’s first look at what’s new with the final rule, who will be affected and then how you can remain compliant.
What’s new with the rule?
The updates made to OSHA’s rule on walking working surfaces includes a new section regarding PPE standards that establishes employer requirements for using personal fall protection systems. The employer must develop and implement a fall protection plan that contains the following requirements:
- Be prepared by a “qualified” person
- Be developed for the site where the work will be performed
- Stay up-to-date and remain at the job site
- Be implemented under the supervision of a “competent person”
- Identify each location where fall protection systems cannot be used
- Document the reasons why fall protection systems are infeasible or would create a greater hazard
- Discuss other measures that the employer will take to eliminate or reduce the fall hazard for workers
- Provide implementation of control measures to reduce or eliminate hazards or implement a safety monitoring system that complies with the construction standard (29 CFR 1926.502)
- Identify each worker in a location where a fall protection plan is implemented
- Provide for investigation under any circumstance of a fall or other serious incident that occurs whether the employer needs to change the fall protection plan
The final rule also allows employers to select the fall protection system that works best for them. Employers can choose from a wide range of accepted options, including rope descent systems up to 300 feet above a lower level.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role ensures these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards.
Who does it affect?
General industry workers will experience the biggest impact of this rule. This refers to all industries not included in agriculture, construction or maritime. However, this rule still affects workers across all industries – from painters to warehouse workers, to workers in construction and in agriculture.
The rule incorporates advances in technology that address problems arising across the industries to establish industry best practices and national consensus standards to provide effective and cost-efficient worker protection.
How can you stay compliant?
Tracking and maintaining updated PPE standards without external help will require many workplaces to put in extra time. But you can remain compliant, audit with ease and maintain worker safety without worry. Gensuite offers a variety of proven Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) software applications to help your workplace follow OSHA’s PPE standards.
Audit & Inspection Tool
Gensuite Audit Management Software allows users to validate compliance by conducting audits using internally authored protocols through Gensuite partners and global content providers (Enhesa, STP, RegScan).
- Create custom inspection checklists to verify compliance
- Export findings into the Gensuite Action Tracking System for ease of use and functionality
- Enhance overall value by adding on specialized Gensuite applications, as seen below
Gensuite Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Matrix
- Indicate different PPE used at the site
- Categorize PPE by different types, e.g. cut-resistant gloves, neoprene
- Indicate the proper PPE in each activity within a Job Safety Analysis/Safety assessment
Safety Procedures/Safe Work Permits
- Digitally create permits for working at heights, etc.
- Create inventories/plans that can be indicated on the permit
- List types of hazards & control measures associated with the work
- Reference PPE that should use when working in certain space or at certain height associated with permit
- Create an inventory of fall protection equipment
- Assign/track inspections to ensure that equipment is in working order
An additional benefit of Gensuite’s EHS software applications is that they are integrated within each EHS software system, working together to enhance your workplace operations.
Stay on track when this rule takes effect in mid-January. With Gensuite by your side you’ll remain compliant not only with this updated OSHA action, but with other regulatory directives on the horizon.