The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) applauds the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publication of updated regulations to prevent injuries from falls in general industry.

The rule, which updates OSHA regulations for Walking-Working Surfaces in 29 CFR 1910 Subpart D, and adds fall protection requirements to the Personal Protective Equipment standards in 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I, was released on November 17, 2016.

The OSHA rule has been in development for a number of years.  It was first proposed in 1990, and a revised proposal was issued in 2010.   ISEA provided comments on the proposal, and testified at a 2011 public hearing in Washington.  Since that time, the association has been urging OSHA to complete the rule, recognizing that falls continue to be among the top causes of fatalities in the workplace.

As the association for personal protective equipment, ISEA’s membership includes the leading manufacturers of fall protection equipment and systems.  The association and its members are active participants in national and international committees developing standards for fall protection equipment and practices.

According to OSHA, the final rule gives employers the flexibility to select the fall protection system that works best for them, choosing from a range of options including active fall protection, positioning and restraint, and personal fall arrest systems.  It harmonizes the general industry rules with other OSHA standards including construction fall protection, and updates the standards to reflect current technology and best practices.

OSHA believes that the proper use of personal fall protection systems can protect employees from injury and death due to falls from height. OSHA estimates that compliance with the new rules will reduce fall deaths and injuries substantially.

“ISEA’s fall protection members routinely create new fall protection solutions, including custom configurations, using modern technology for a wide array of workplace fall hazards,” stated Marc Harkins, Product Group Manager for MSA Safety, and Chair of ISEA’s Fall Protection Group. “We recognize the importance of comprehensive, relevant and practical OSHA regulations that will result in meaningful protection of the nation’s workforce from fall hazards.”

With the final rule published, employers may need to update their fall protection program. To contact an ISEA fall protection manufacturer for information on modern fall protection technologies, equipment, systems and training, visit: https://safetyequipment.org/resources/buyers-guide/fall-protection/

For more information on the new rule visit: https://www.osha.gov/walking-working-surfaces/index.html or read OSHA’s Fact Sheet at: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3903.pdf.