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OSHA Compliance Update: Walking and Working Surfaces OSHA New Rule

OSHA Walking Working Surfaces Compliance


What have you been working on since 1990? The year the Simpsons aired for the first time, the Hubble telescope was placed into orbit, and the first navigation system was installed in a car. While all of that was happening, OSHA published the proposed rule addressing slips trips and falls in the workplace. Since then the issue of falls in the workplace has remained one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities. Noticing the need for an update OSHA reopened the rule for comments in 2003 which lead to a second proposed rule being published in 2010. After more than 2 decades in the making OSHA’s final rule on walking and working surfaces is set to be finalized, currently under final review by the white house.

View rule process here.

The New Rule

The new rule will specifically address floor and wall openings, stairs, ladders, scaffold, and elevated platforms. It will specifically impact the current regulation 29CFR 1910 Subpart D. The hope is that when this final rule is published it will provide more clarity, understanding and compliance flexibility in addition to consistency between construction, maritime, and general industry standards.


Some of the new expected changes will include the ability for businesses to choose from options when providing fall protection, clearly outlined methods of use for the different types of fall protection, and detailed expectations for training of workers around identifying fall hazards, addressing fall hazards, and properly protecting against fall hazards including the limitations of the provided methods of protections.

Check back with Emedco when they make it official for more information.

To view the proposed standard in its entirety click here

Respiratory protection continues to gain attention and concern in the court of public opinion as issues like permissible exposure limits, silica, andberyllium  come to the forefront of OSHA rule proposals for updates or new regulations. While these changes from an enforceable standpoint may not take effect for quite some time, the accountability still falls to safety managers, to make sure their workers are being properly protected, regardless of what outdated regulations imply. Workers continue to come forward who are now suffering the serious effects of not being properly protected while working in the presence of harmful chemicals or debris.

In doing your part to protect your workers from devastating respiratory diseases later on in life, learn from these common missteps when selecting the right respirator for the job.

One Size Fits All. Not true, and in fact one size does not fit most either. All employees need to be fitted specifically for their face. Those who have beards, wear glasses, or need to wear other pieces of PPE, all of these factors must be considered to make sure they are being properly protected. Fit tests should be performed on a yearly basis to make sure there has been no changes, or need for adjustment.

As long as you have one on you’re fine! The respirator you choose can’t just be any old respirator laying around. It has to be suitable for the contaminant you are trying to protect against. Not all respirators are created equally. If protecting against a known contaminant refer to the SDS sheet that should come with all chemicals. If protecting against an airborne contaminant, test your environment to determine the severity and the correct type of respirator that is necessary. Once your contaminants have been identified then proceed to select the correct filter, cartridges and canisters.

They last forever! Think again. The use, storage, inspection, cleaning, disinfection, and repair of respirators all are determining factors in how long a respirator will remain acceptable for use. The more contaminant and time that a respirator is used the quicker it will deteriorate.  Some respirators have replaceable filters while others are disposal meant for single use. Know the type of respirator you are using and be sure the properly inspect it before each use. If soiled or damaged play it safe and get a new one.

Put it on your face and go forth and conquer! Not everyone can wear respirators. Breathing through a respirator is often times more difficult. People with existing breathing conditions such as asthma or emphysema may find themselves unable to catch their breath. In addition those with claustrophobia may have difficulty.

For more information on understanding respirators and how to select the right one click here.



Workplace Safety News Roundup

Workplace Safety News

Keeping track of new OSHA regulations and taking advantage of supplemental safety training and reading materials makes a big difference in the success of the programs you implement in your workplace. Seeing what others are doing both for the better and worse help mold an all encompassing safety initiative. Here is a sampling of some of the news buzzing around workplace safety this month.

ASSE Foundation Awards $300,000 Grant to Study Workplace Fatigue

The American Society of Safety Engineers Foundation awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant to a University of Buffalo researcher who proposes the development of a sensor-based, real-time assessment system that will enable safety practitioners to better monitor workplace fatigue. Studies have shown that fatigue is about four times more likely to contribute to workplace impairment than drugs or alcohol.

Would you find this type of system beneficial in your workplace? Read more here.

OSHA Issues Temporary Enforcement Policy for Confined Spaces in Construction

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced a 60-day temporary enforcement policy of its Confined Spaces in Construction standard, which becomes effective Aug. 3, 2015. The agency is postponing full enforcement of the new standard to Oct. 2, 2015, in response to requests for additional time to train and acquire the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard.

Are you breathing a sign of relief at your facility? Find out more here.

Safety Innovations of 2015 so far

The safety world is always changing, evolving, finding new ways to protect. Check out these new products, published in the July 2015 issue of EHS Today, that are designed to keep you even safer than before.

Lifting Equipment Safety Tips

Unless you’re superman, you’re not going to be lifting heavy pallets anytime soon. Enter the forklift. Forklifts are great tools for businesses that need them. But, they can also be very dangerous. Safety is the primary concern around these heavy machines, so understand when they need to be inspected and fixed.

Do you use forklifts at your facility? Read more for helpful safety tips.

Another Visit from OSHA after 4 are now dead

In November 2014, a worker was overcome at a chemical manufacturing facility when a supply line unexpectedly released more than 20,000 lbs. of methyl mercaptan when she opened a drain on a methyl mercaptan vent line. Two co-workers who came to her aid also were overcome. None of the three wore protective respirators. A fourth co-worker – the brother of one of the fallen men – attempted a rescue, but was unsuccessful. All four people died in the building.

Read more about this safety incident.