In May, OSHA released proposed changes to the 29 CFR 1910 general industry regulation, which would revise the existing walking-working surfaces and personal protective equipment standards. The proposed rules more directly recognize that personal fall protection systems can provide an effective means of employee protection. The proposal also adds new specific performance and use requirements for PPE.
I am thrilled to see these potential changes, which are long overdue to accurately reflect the state of today’s fall protection industry. However, OSHA’s stated goal with the proposed regulations is to prevent 20 workplace fatalities per year. When you look at the data on fall fatalities, this represents less than 10% of the total per year.
I would like to see this number increased significantly, based on the content of the proposed regulations. I believe that enforcing compliance with the updated standards can have a much larger impact on worker safety. OSHA needs to explain in more detail why this standard addresses such a small percentage of total fatalities.
To read the entire OSHA proposed regulation, please click this link to the file on the OSHA website. (Please note: this is a large file and may take a few moments to open.)