What do you need to know?
It is no doubt that employees are exposed to slips, trips, and falls as a result of walking and work surfaces that can create injuries, or even worse, fatalities in the workplace. In the last couple of years OSHA has identified and updated the standards for walking working surfaces to help reduce the risk of injury by putting safety measures in place for employees and their employers.
According to the bureau of Labor Statistics data, slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of workplace fatalities and injuries in general industry. OSHA claims that the new requirements will prevent at least 30 fatalities in the workplace and save 6,000 lost-workday injuries each year.
- 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 written certification identifying:
- The workplace evaluated
- The person certifying that the evaluation was preformed; and
- The date(s) of the hazard assessment.
- Provide appropriate personal protective equipment or fall protection system (i.e. personal fall arrest system, or positioning device) to address the slip, trips, and falls hazards identified in the assessment.
- Conduct regular inspections and maintenance of all working surfaces in the workplace.
- Provide training for all systems and fall hazards identified.
When must employers comply?
- 1910.30(a) and (b) – Deadline by which employers must train employees on fall and equipment hazards – May 17, 2017
- 1910.27(b)(1) – Certification of anchorages – 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 – November 19, 2018
- 1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B) – Date after which new fixed ladders must be equipped with a ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system – 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 – November 18, 2036
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 decent systems
- Portable guardrails
In order to reduce the risk of injury or fatality on walking working surfaces, it is vital to follow OSHA guidelines and provide routine inspection, maintenance, and training for any identified slips, trips, and falls work surface. Never hesitate to seek employee involvement during assessments of the walking working surfaces to help create a program and safety measures that will send any and all employees home safe to their family at the end of the workday.