Cite Safety Blog

Reposted from Guardian Fall Protection Blog

As promised, this week we return to the OSHA 1910 General Industry update. Last week we covered some of the major issues, and if you missed it, go back and have a read – there are some things you need to know. And now, without further delay, let’s continue to wade through the 1910 tome.


Rope descent systems, anchorages in particular, are also now addressed by the 1910 regulations. 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. That’s a lot of work, and this on anchorages that are already installed and presumed to be in use. If you are on either side of a rope descent system, make SURE your anchorages have been inspected and certified by a Qualified Person – no excuses.


Speaking of Qualified Persons, OSHA changed the definition of “qualified” to be more in line with 1926.32(m), but fell short (despite several commenter’s wishes) to require a Qualified Person to be an engineer. OSHA pushed back on this suggestion by saying that because the rule required the “demonstrated ability to solve or resolve problems,” it would be more effective than an otherwise unproven degree. Basically, they are saying that actions speak louder than words; if you can prove through your past work and also certification testing that you are capable of “performing the required functions,” it shows that you possess the requisite knowledge of a Qualified Person. Furthermore, because 1910.27 requires anchorages for rope descent systems be inspected and certified before use and periodically thereafter, OSHA, “…believes that building owners will likely consult and work with engineers to ensure that all building anchorages…meet the requirements in 1910.27.”  This is sort of a “trust but verify” approach to the Qualified Person. OSHA is fine with non-engineers being qualified persons because their work will then be certified though testing that it meets OSHA’s strength requirements.

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Additionally, OSHA updated the definition of Competent Person to, as you might expect, align with the 1926 Construction standards. Whereas the existing definition stated a Competent Person, “…is capable of identifying hazardous or dangerous conditions…and of training employees to identify such conditions,” the new definition includes “existing and predictable hazards in any personal fall protection system…component…[and] application,” and very importantly, “…the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate the identified hazards.” This latter addition now confers much responsibility and authority to the Competent Person in the general industry setting. This change was partly in response to many commenters who expressed concern that having limited authority means that a Competent Person could identify a hazard, but could not do anything about it. Now, they can. Well, after they get the proper training of course. Just because OSHA has added a level of responsibility the Competent Person, doesn’t mean that an existing Competent Person (as defined by 1910 in General Industry) is fully prepared to make decisions regarding the new fall protection options. Remember: new rules, new training.  Now that the Competent Person will also assess fall protection solutions within the General Industry, they need to know what to look for – proper training is the answer.


We hope our exploring the new 1910 regulations has helped you understand a bit more of how these changes will affect you and your operations in the years to come. Remember, the new regulations go into effect January 17, 2017, so by the time you read this, you are probably already under their authority. With that in mind, there’s a lot of work to do – so get going, and be safe up there.

Reposted from Guardian Fall Protection Blog

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, OSHA has updated its 1910 General Industry regulations regarding walking-working surfaces and personal protective equipment, which will go into effect January 17, 2017. Since its release, we’ve been sifting through, picking out what we feel are the most impactful updates and what they mean to you. There are quite a few changes in the 513 (yes, I said 513!) page update that strike a chord,** most of which were much-needed, and will hopefully make choosing the right fall protection easier and ultimately, make working at height safer.


Before I get into specifics, I’ll go out on a limb (with proper fall protection, of course), and say that in general, I note a sense of convergence in the new regulations. If there is an over-arching trend, it is that General Industry standards for walking-working surfaces and personal protective equipment are starting to look a lot like the 1926 Subpart M standards for Construction. That’s a good thing. Based on what we hear from customers, there is already enough confusion regarding OSHA regulations and which one(s) should be engaged with for a certain activity. When two workers can do the same job and be held to different safety standards, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation.


Perhaps the most wide-ranging change is the addition of personal fall protection systems and safety nets as a stated option for protecting workers from falls. The existing standard specifies only a “standard railing (or the equivalent…)” is suitable in such situations, which left many workers and supervisors at a loss to comply. In situations where workers chose a personal fall protection system over a guardrail, they could actually be levied a de minimis violation – under certain circumstances. By expanding the standards to allow more options to protect the worker, OSHA will allow employers/workers to use the system they feel protects them the best, and is most suitable for the specific situation. These include, but are not limited to: personal fall arrests systems, fall restraint, and work positioning systems. Surely many workers at one time or another have crossed the OSHA 1910 and 1926 standards line and been frustrated at having to change their preferred method of protection. This will no longer be the case.

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Hand-in-hand with expanding the options for fall protection is the requirement for training. After all, if a worker does not know how to identify fall hazards, or to properly wear and use personal fall protection, what good is it? The good news is that workers will be even more knowledgeable about fall protection hazard identification and mitigation. The bad news is that you’ve already lost a month of time (of the 6 months OSHA has allowed) to be compliant with the new training standard. 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.”  Even though the new regulations were released just ahead of the busy holiday season, the clock is ticking to get trained and to also document that the training has occurred. After all, if you can’t prove to OSHA you’ve been trained, how will they know you have?


Fixed ladders are also severely affected by the update. To understand these changes, you will need to know two dates: November 19, 2018, and November 18, 2036. 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. This delay gives employers two years in which to get compliant with the current 1910.27 standard if they are not already. After November 19, 2018, all new or repaired fixed ladder installations over 24’ will no longer be allowed to have cages or wells as the sole means of fall protection, but must have a ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system. Employers will then have 20 years, until November 18, 2036, to replace all cages and wells on existing ladders and install a ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system. In a nutshell, after November 18, 2036, OSHA will no longer allow cages or wells on fixed ladder installations, period. For employers faced with the task of getting current with the existing standard, while technically you are allowed to install a cage and then replace it sometime over the next couple decades, why not just be ahead of the game and install the safest system now and save yourself the trouble of having to address the ladder again in the future??


Is your head swimming yet?  Mine too…  As you can gather, the 1910 update includes some pretty comprehensive changes. But we’re not finished yet! For the sake of our collective sanities, I’m going to stop here and leave the rest of the changes for a second installment. Considering the updates already discussed, you’ve probably got enough work to do to get up to speed anyway. To read the 1910 update yourself, grab a cup (or gallon) of coffee, and follow this link. Until next time, Be Safe Up There!

**If you got this reference you must be a musician. If you didn’t, here’s the skinny: Everyone knows that there are scales in music; you’ve heard variations of these in every song you’ve ever heard, especially classical (look up Paganini for good examples). Combinations of the notes within a scale make a chord. These are what modern angst-filled troubadours strum in dimly-lit, woody coffee houses filled with sweater-wearing friends all across the nation. But what makes a chord? For a major chord, which could be considered the basic chord of any scale, it is the first, third, and fifth note of the scale. So, for a G major scale (G A B C D E F# G), a G major chord is G, B, and D, or 1, 3, 5. You can arrange these in any order you want (thus the 513 reference), but as long as you are playing the first, third, and fifth notes of the scale, you’ve got a major chord! Your third-grade teacher was right – math (and music) is everywhere! OK, lesson over, back to work!

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a final rule updating its general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards specific to slip, trip, and fall hazards. The rule also includes a new section under the general industry Personal Protective Equipment standards that establishes employer requirements for using personal fall protection systems.

"The final rule will increase workplace protection from those hazards, especially fall hazards, which are a leading cause of worker deaths and injuries," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "OSHA believes advances in technology and greater flexibility will reduce worker deaths and injuries from falls." The final rule also increases consistency between general and construction industries, which will help employers and workers that work in both industries.

OSHA estimates the final standard will prevent 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries annually. The rule becomes effective on Jan. 17, 2017, and will affect approximately 112 million workers at seven million worksites.

The final rule's most significant update is allowing employers to select the fall protection system that works best for them, choosing from a range of accepted options including personal fall protection systems. OSHA has permitted the use of personal fall protection systems in construction since 1994 and the final rule adopts similar requirements for general industry. Other changes include allowing employers to use rope descent systems up to 300 feet above a lower level; prohibiting the use of body belts as part of a personal fall arrest system; and requiring worker training on personal fall protection systems and fall equipment.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit

Atlanta – OSHA’s Fall Protection Standard (1926.501) is once again the agency’s most frequently cited standard.

This is the fifth year in a row that the Fall Protection Standard tops the annual list, which was presented Sept. 29 during the NSC Congress & Expo by Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, and Safety+Health’s Senior Associate Editor Kyle W. Morrison.

“Fall protection systems are out there,” Kapust said during the presentation. "They're moderately priced. There's no reason your employees shouldn't be in them."

The preliminary list, which covers fiscal year 2015, is:

  1. Fall Protection (1926.501)
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451)
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
  7. Ladders (1926.1053)
  8. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305)
  9. Machine Guarding (1910.212)
  10. Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303)

Finalized data, along with additional Top 10 details and exclusive content, will be published in the December issue of S+H.

Thursday, 18 February 2016 00:00

Fall Protection Tools

Looking for all protection resources.  This link takes you direct to OSHA Fall Protection page and lists great tools and material to keep your employees safe.

Fall Protection Tools And Resources From OSHA

Link to:

I just found this great blog about Fall protection and costs.  Thought I’d share here for your review. 

Here’s a snippet.

When comparing the general costs of a fall protection system to the expenses associated with a workplace fall, it’s clear that the fall protection system is the cheaper option. Yes, there are initial costs. But no, it is not as expensive as having a worker fall.

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