Proposed OSHA Fall Protection Regulations: And Then We Wait…

Nearly two years ago, I provided a webinar on the proposed changes to the OSHA 1910 general industry fall protection regulations.  Although our participants had a lot of questions, the most common one was, “When do you think the new regulations will be passed into law?”

My answer today is the same as it was two years ago:  “I don’t know.”  I wish I had a better answer, but this is the reality of OSHA.  In fact, I recently read an article in EHS Today entitled GAO Chief: We Don’t Know Why OSHA Standards Take So Long.

The current OSHA 1910 Subparts D&I fall protection regulation is more than 40 years old and is so outdated that it does not even mention personal fall arrest systems.  Unfortunately, as critical as new regulations are to the industry, seeing this one passed into law soon looks unlikely.  According to the EHS Today article, it has taken new OSHA regulations between 15 months and 19 years to be passed into law—with an average standard-setting time of eight years.  Think about how much technology and best practices change in eight years—let alone 40 years.

While OSHA is the law, it is critical for organizations to refer to more current information to protect their employees. I encourage you to get updated guidance from ANSI Z359 fall protection standards and comprehensive fall protection training to frame your fall protection program.

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