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How New Fall Protection Regulations Will Affect Your Business in 2017

January 25, 2017

If safety and risk management are a vital component of your company culture, it’s imperative that you shift your focus to fall protection in 2017.

Here are just five reasons why:

  • OSHA released new fall protection regulations that went into effect January 17, 2017
  • ANSI Z359 recently published a landmark revision to the Z359.1 standard
  • Fall protection has been the #1 OSHA violation for 6 years in a row
  • Fall fatalities have not decreased
  • The National Safety Council estimates that a single fatality costs a company $43 million

The fall protection industry is undergoing significant changes in 2017. Even with the availability of new technology and sophisticated equipment, statistics show that the number of fall fatalities has not decreased.

 

Fall protection has been the number one violation on OSHA’s top 10 most-cited violations, a position it has now held for 6 consecutive years. Despite increased efforts to educate organizations and workers on fall protection and safety, most of these violations are related to lack of training or equipment availability.

If you are looking to mitigate your risk and ensure the safety of your workers, new resources are available to provide guidance.

 

New fall protection regulations for general industry have been published by OSHA for the first time since 1970. The new regulations provide significantly more information about personal fall protection systems, and they include additional requirements for hazard assessment and worker training.

 

As stated in 1910.30 (a)(1), “…employers must ensure employees are trained in the requirements of this paragraph on or before May 17, 2017.” The countdown is on to ensure your employees are properly trained and the training is properly documented.

 

Fixed ladders are also affected by the new regulations. All existing fixed ladders taller than 24’ (those installed now, or until the cut-off) MUST have a cage, well, ladder safety system, or personal fall arrest system in place by November 19, 2018.

 

Rope descent system regulations have also been updated. Instead of relying on consensus standards for anchor inspection and certification as in the past, OSHA now requires that before use, “…the building owner must inform the employer, in writing, that the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage so it is capable of supporting 5,000 pounds in any direction…” By OSHA’s own estimates, somewhere around “… 487,500 buildings will require annual inspections and decennial (every 10 years) certifications.” Of that total, OSHA estimates a tenth (48,750) of the buildings’ anchorages will need to be qualified, and 1,734 anchorages will need to be replaced.

 

These are just a few of the updates made to the 1910 regulations. We hope this provides a little insight and urges you to work toward improving your fall protection program in 2017. If you are unsure that your fall protection systems are in compliance with OSHA’s new regulations, StructureTec can conduct a detailed assessment utilizing drone technology to collect the information you need quickly & safely. Please contact StructureTec to learn more about fall protection systems and ensure compliance with OSHA’s new regulations.

 

 

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