With just a few more weeks remaining in 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA®) released yet another major rule change that will take place in 2017. The final rule, which will update General Industry Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Standards, will affect over 110 million employees.

The Final Rule

In an effort to reduce the amount of serious work-related injuries and deaths, OSHA® wishes to better protect employees within the general industry from on-the-job falls – both from positions of height and working surface levels. To achieve this goal, OSHA® has done the following:

  • Incorporated advances in technology, best practices and national consensus standards to provide workers cost-effective protection
  • Added additional requirements for personal fall protection systems
  • Updated general industry standards for addressing slip, trip and fall hazards

The administration projects that this will prevent 29 fatalities and nearly 6,000 injuries annually. According to Bloomberg, implementing this updated rule will come at a cost of $305 million a year for employers. It’s a good deal for the economy though, as it is expected to save nearly $615 million yearly.

What to Expect Moving Forward

The rule officially takes effect on January 17, 2017, however, a great number of provisions have delayed effective dates. In fact, some aren’t even required to be made in the next decade. Here is a brief summary of the extended timeline: 

  • Training exposed workers on fall hazards – 6 months after implementation
  • Training workers who use equipment covered by the final rule – 6 months after implementation
  • Inspecting and certifying permanent anchorages for rope descent systems – 1 year after implementation
  • Installing personal fall arrest or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders over 24 feet and on replacement ladders – 2 years after implementation
  • Ensuring existing fixed ladders over 24 feet are equipped with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system – 2 years after implementation
  • Replacing cages and wells with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet – 20 years after implementation

What Steps Can We Take Now?

One of the most important steps your company can take is to adopt a quality OSHA® compliant safety incentive program from a partner that actively monitors changes to OSHA®’s guidelines and works to ensure that you are in total compliance with the administration. While this is not a one-size-fits-all solution, there are a number of things that you need to look for before enacting a safety incentive program. One of the most important is an emphasis on leading – NOT lagging – indicators. This allows you to identify potential threats to safety before an injury occurs. Of course, this is only one piece of the puzzle.

For more information on what your company can do to prevent hazards and increase your bottom line, feel free to contact C.A. Short Company today.

OSHA Compliant Safety Incentive Programs Webinar

C.A. Short Company partners with companies to manage, drive and facilitate increased employee engagement to increase financial performance, productivity, quality, and core performance outcomes. Our process and research-based platform enables executives and managers to engage their teams to increase the bottom line, motivate staff, and incentivize positive behavior. To request a Complimentary Consultation, please click here. 


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