OSHA Safety Tips: What You Need to Know About the Updated OSHA Rules for Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards

Has your company adopted the new OSHA rules for slip, trip, and fall hazards? In January 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced a new set of guidelines for employers to follow in regards to identifying slip, trip, and fall hazards around the workplace.

Slips, trips, and falls are known to be the most common accident within the workplace, and OSHA hopes to prevent more than 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost workday injuries annually with these new changes.

OSHA Rules: What’s New?

Under the new OSHA rules for slip, trip, and fall hazards, employers are to conduct regular inspections of all surfaces within the workplace where employees walk or work, including stairs, floors, and ladders. The mission for this new regulation is to help identify key areas where employees are more likely to fall, trip, or slip. These guidelines are similar to those already in place within the construction industry.

A positive note for employers is the new guidelines offer a lot of flexibility as to what types of fall protection they may use. For example, employers are no longer required to use guardrails as their primary fall protection method. They now have the freedom to choose from several accepted fall protections systems in order to find a solution that best fits their workspace. These options include:

  • Guardrail System
  • Safety Net System
  • Personal Fall Arrest System
  • Positioning System
  • Travel Restraint System
  • Ladder Safety System

Download OSHA’s Fact Sheet on the new Walking Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Standards.

Further, under the new rules, employers are required to provide training for employees on fall and equipment hazards, including fall protection systems.

Who Is Affected by the New OSHA Rules?

The new OSHA rules for slip, trip, and fall hazards are targeted to most businesses, from manufacturing to retail to office spaces. These businesses are included in what is known as the ‘general industry.’

Before now, there was very limited guidance on fall-related hazards for non-construction industry businesses. One of the few regulations employers needed to follow was to provide guardrails.

Compliance Deadline

The deadline for employers to train their employees who use certain fall protection systems and equipment under the new OSHA rules for slip, trip, and fall hazards was May 17, 2017. However, according to a recent article by Newsday, there is a high number of employers who still don’t understand what is expected of them under the new regulations.

It is important for all business owners and managers to follow these deadlines. If you do not take charge in implementing new safety guidelines, your employees can in the form of OSHA complaints of an unsafe workplace.

Does your company need help staying up-to-date on OSHA regulations? Let our risk management team help! By partnering with a PEO, you will have access to our team of workplace safety experts to help you identify possible hazards within your workplace, and, in turn, help lower your company’s workers’ compensation risk.