OSHA Walking-Working Surfaces Answers
What is the OSHA walking-working surfaces rule?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), general industry workers are exposed to walking and work surface hazards that can result in slips, trips, falls, and other injuries or fatalities.
The new requirements under Subpart D, "Walking-Working Surfaces," provide employers with the flexibility to decide which fall protection method or system works best for the work operation. OSHA says that these multiple options, along with required inspections and training, will help employers prevent and eliminate walking-working surface hazards.
What is encompassed in the rule?
OSHA's revisions to Subpart D, "Walking-Working Surfaces," include a reorganization of the existing rule to make it clearer, necessitating a reformat of the entire subpart (29 CFR 1910.21 - .30). However, the most significant changes cover NEW requirements for a variety of walking-working surfaces throughout Subpart D, as well as introducing additional new requirements under other general industry standards, including Subpart I, "Personal Protective Equipment."
To learn what the entire ruling encompasses in detail, download the free Walking-Working Surfaces: OSHA Takes Major Steps to Overhaul Slips, Trips, and Falls Standard whitepaper.
Who needs to comply?
All general industry workplaces. This is approximately 6.7 million establishments employing more than 100 million workers, including:
• Oil & gas extraction
Why is compliance critical?
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of workplace fatalities and injuries in general industry. OSHA says the new requirements will prevent nearly 30 workplace fatalities and 6,000 lost-workday injuries annually. This equates to an estimated cost savings of more than $300 million each year for employers affected by the new requirements.
What are the requirements for the employer?
In summary, the Agency kept many of the requirements under the old standard.
However, OSHA also introduced key NEW provisions which require employers now to:
• Identify and evaluate slip hazards, trip hazards, and fall hazards in the workplace. This assessment must be done in accordance with 1910.132(d)(2) which requires the employer verify that this was performed through a written certification which identifies:
> The workplace evaluated;
> The person certifying that the evaluation was performed; and
> The date(s) of the hazard assessment.
• Provide appropriate personal protective equipment or fall protection systems (i.e., personal fall arrest system, travel restraint system, or a positioning device) to address the slip, trip, and fall hazards identified during the above required hazard assessment.
• Conduct regular inspections and maintenance of all walking-working surfaces in the workplace.
• Provide training that enables employees to recognize the hazards of falling and the procedures to be followed to minimize these hazards, including the use of personal fall protection, proper ladder climbing techniques, etc.
Are there program requirements to satisfy the regulations?
OSHA does NOT specify "program" requirements. Best practice, however, would include a safety and health management system that includes written plans which address the new requirements under Subpart D, including (but not limited to):
• Fall Protection (General),
• Inspections (including, but not limited to, those for walking and work surfaces – an opportunity to help an employer address other required inspection in their workplace),
• Equipment (e.g., Scaffolds, Ladders, Personal Fall Protection, Designated Areas, etc.), and
What must employees be trained on?
Employers must train—and retrain when necessary—employees on the fall protection systems and equipment they use, including:
• Personal fall protection
• Ladder safety systems
• Designated areas
• Safety nets
• Rope descent systems
• Portable guardrails
Training must be done by a qualified person.
To learn more about who is considered a qualified trainer and how to comply with the OSHA Walking-Working Surfaces regulations, check out the Walking Working Surfaces: What You Need to Know for Supervisors and Employees training program.
What specific training is required for high hazard and employees requiring fall protection?
Required training is task- and equipment-specific for any employee who uses fall protection or equipment specified under Subpart D. For example, a worker who uses a fixed ladder must be trained on how to use the personal fall protection system required when climbing the ladder, as well as safe climbing techniques.
When must employers comply?
The majority of the new requirements under Subpart D are effective January 17, 2017; however, OSHA has extended the compliance dates for a few requirements as specified in the following table:
Subpart D Section
• 1910.30(a) and (b) – Deadline by which employers must train employees on fall and equipment hazards
Compliance Date: May 17, 2017
• 1910.27(b)(1) – Certification of anchorages
Compliance Date: November 20, 2017
• 1910.28(b)(9)(i)(A) – Deadline by which employers must equip existing fixed ladders with a cage, well, ladder safety system, or personal fall arrest system
Compliance Date: November 19, 2018
• 1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B) – Deadline by which employers must begin equipping new fixed ladders with a ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system
Compliance Date: November 19, 2018
• 1910.28(b)(9)(i)(D) – Deadline by which all fixed ladders must be equipped with a ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system
Compliance Date: November 18, 2036
Elevated Walking and Working Surfaces Course
Elevated Walking and Working Surfaces: (In Transition) OSHA proposes to revise the walking-working surfaces standards and the personal protective equipment standards in our regulations. The proposal is estimated to reduce the number of fall-related employee deaths and injuries by updating the rule to include new technology (including personal fall protection systems) and industry methods
Walking Working Surface V2.6 Course
Walking Working Surfaces: Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. The OSHA standards for walking/working surfaces apply to all permanent places of employment, except where only domestic, mining, or agricultural work is performed.
Fall Prevention Safety V2.16 Course
Fall Protection: In 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that fatal work injuries involving falls decreased 20 percent in 2008 after a sharp increase in 2007. The 847 fatal falls in 2007 was the series high. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how best to protect workers is the first step in reducing or eliminating fall hazards. Occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem. The US Department of Labor (DOL) lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for eight percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma. Any time a worker is at a height of four feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction. However, regardless of the fall distance, fall protection must be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery.
Slips Trips Falls V2.6 Course
Slips Trips Falls: Although some workplace slips, trips and falls are not serious accidents, statistics show that nonfatal slips, trips and falls account for approximately 20% of all injuries involving lost workdays. In fact, According to the National Safety Council’s Accident Facts (1995 edition is the most recent for which data is conclusive) slips, trips and falls rank as the fourth leading cause of fatal injuries to American Workers!
Safety Housekeeping V2.16 Course
OSHA housekeeping rules (29 CFR 1910.22) state that "all places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms should be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition." The regulation makes specific mention of keeping floors clean and dry: "To facilitate cleaning, every floor, working place, and passageway shall be kept free from protruding nails, splinters, holes, or loose boards." The regulation also says that "aisles and passageways shall be kept clear and in good repair."
Scaffolding Safety V2.6 Course
Scaffolds: The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 54 fatalities occurred in the year 2009 from scaffolds, staging. In a Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) study, 72% of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident either to the planking or support giving way, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object. All of these can be controlled by compliance with OSHA standards.
Stairs and Ladders V2.6 Course
Stairs & Ladders 1926.851(a) Only those stairways, passageways, and ladders, designated as means of access to the structure of a building, shall be used. Other access ways shall be entirely closed at all times. 1926.851(b) All stairs, passageways, ladders and incidental equipment thereto, which are covered by this section, shall be periodically inspected and maintained in a clean safe condition.
Warehouse Safety V2.6 Course
The safety program at many companies focuses on the manufacturing or production areas because of the heavy use of machinery, equipment, chemical use, etc., and the hazards of the warehouse area may seem to be less important. However, that should not be the case. The warehouse has many of the same hazards and potential for injury as production areas. In fact, the warehouse has some hazards that do not exist in production areas, such as loading docks. In this training session we will focus on the hazards of material handling as well as other warehouse specific hazards. Once we understand these hazards, we can work to prevent injuries.