Oregon OSHA – Proposed Changes to Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems) in General Industry
On November 18, 2016, federal OSHA published in the Federal Register their final rule titled: “Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems)”. This general industry final rule revised the previous walking-working surfaces standards within 29 CFR part 1910, subpart D and created a new standard and two new non-mandatory appendixes for fall protection systems within 29 CFR part 1910, subpart I. In addition to the significant changes made to Subparts D and I, federal OSHA also amended standards in 29 CFR part 1910, subparts F, N, and R to create uniformity across all of the affected subparts where walking-working surfaces and personal fall protection systems are addressed. The final rule increases consistency between federal OSHA’s general industry and construction standards, which will make compliance easier for employers who conduct operations in both industry sectors. Federal OSHA has also reorganized the requirements and incorporated plain language in order to make the final rule easier to understand and follow. The final rule uses performance-based language whenever possible to give employers greater compliance flexibility. The revised standards on walking-working surfaces are intended to prevent and reduce workplace slips, trips, and falls, as well as other injuries and fatalities associated with walking-working surface hazards. The final federal OSHA rule adds requirements on the design, performance, and use of personal fall protection systems. It also revises and creates new provisions addressing, for example, fixed ladders; rope descent systems; fall protection systems and criteria, including personal fall protection systems; and training on fall hazards and fall protection systems.
Oregon OSHA is proposing to adopt the federal OSHA final rules as published in the Federal Register with a few exceptions. These exceptions are addressed through new Oregon initiated rules which are at least equally as effective as the original federal language. Furthermore, several existing Oregon initiated rules were either removed or modified to remove any duplication with the new federal regulations.
In order to harmonize Oregon OSHA’s existing Division 2 regulations with the new federal rule, Oregon OSHA made significant revisions to subdivision 2/D (Walking-Working Surfaces) and Subdivision 2/I (Personal Protective Equipment) of Chapter 437, Division 2. Subsequently, since many existing Oregon OSHA regulations are based on those within 2/D and 2/I, the following Division 2 subdivisions also must be amended: 2/A, 2/F, 2/L, 2/N, 2/R, and 2/RR.
Adoption tentatively will be in May 2017. Comment period closes April 20, 2017. Public Hearings are in multiple parts of Oregon. For the hearing schedule and more info click here