Published in the April 2018 MiMfg Magazine, the membership magazine of the Michigan Manufacturers Association. Reprinted here with permission.
Falls by workers, whether from elevated heights or from the same level, are among the leading causes of work-related injuries and deaths in U.S. workplaces. For this reason, coupled with advances in technology and decades of experience, OSHA issued a Final Rule in 2017 on walking and working surfaces and fall protection, which included several significant changes.
The Final Rule applies to all general industry workplaces and covers all walking-working surfaces, which include horizontal and vertical surfaces, such as floors, stairs, roofs, ladders, ramps, scaffolds, elevated walkways and fall protection systems. Specifically, the Final Rule updates general industry standards at 29 C.F.R. § 1910.121, et seq., and adds requirements for personal fall protection systems at 29 C.F.R. § 1910.140. It covers many different types of workers as well, including building management services, utilities, warehousing, window cleaning and outdoor advertising.
Michigan is one of about 25 states that have their own OSHA-approved plans, commonly referred to as MiOSHA. Although state plans may adopt standards that are more stringent than federal requirements, one of the key actions by MiOSHA was to eliminate most “Michiganspecific” requirements and conform to federal OSHA – and with most other states. This allows consistency for multistate employers.
Among the key goals of the Final Rule are:
Much of the Final Rule became effective in Michigan on 2/2/18. Other provisions will take effect as follows: Worker training (four months after the effective date or approximately 6/2/18); testing and certifying of permanent anchorages (10 months after or approximately 12/2/18); installation of personal fall arrest systems, ladder safety systems, cages or wells on existing fixed ladders (one year and 10 months after or approximately 12/2/19); installation of personal fall arrest systems or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders (11/19/18); and installation of personal fall arrest systems or ladder safety systems on all fixed ladders (11/19/36).