To address the importance of this component of PPE, OSHA has issued a final rule updating its general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards specific to slip, trip and fall hazards. The final rule will increase consistency between the general industry and construction standards. The updated requirements reflect advances in technology. The rule also includes a new section establishing the employer’s requirements for using personal fall protection systems.
The final rule’s update allows employers to choose the fall protection system that works best for them. Another change allows employers to use rope descent systems up to 300 feet above a lower level. The rule prohibits the use of body belts as part of a personal fall arrest system. Worker training on personal fall systems and equipment is required.
Some provisions have delayed effective dates: (For further information on those compliance dates, see Section XI of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section in the Federal Register.)
Utilizing fall protection is an important part of the job for an electrician who works in elevated work spaces. Just recently, we published a short article on a Jacksonville worker who fell from 12 feet after receiving an electrical shock. Many other stories are out there that describe the trauma of falling from heights because of lack of restraining equipment.