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OCT 19 2016

MEMORANDUM FOR:       REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS

FROM:                                DOROTHY DOUGHERTY, Deputy Assistant Secretary

SUBJECT:                          Interpretation of 1904.35(b)(1)(i) and (iv)

On May 12, 2016, OSHA published a final rule that, among other things, amended 29 C.F.R. 1904.35 to add two new provisions: section 1904.35(b)(1)(i) makes explicit the longstanding requirement for employers to have a reasonable procedure for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses, and (b)(1)(iv) incorporates explicitly into Part 1904 the existing prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses under section 11(c) of the OSH Act, 29 U.S.C. § 660(c). This memorandum explains these provisions in more detail.

With OSHA's new Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems) standard comes some new requirements for protecting workers in "hoist areas".  Paragraph (b)(2) establishes fall protection requirements for workers who work in "hoist areas" that are four (4) feet or more above a lower level. The final rule defines a “hoist area” as an elevated access opening to a walking-working surface through which equipment or materials are loaded or received (final § 1910.21(b)). Paragraph (b)(2)(i) requires employers to protect workers in hoist areas from falls by:

With OSHA's new Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems) standard comes some clarification as to when "stairs" must be provided vs. using a ladder.  In the new standard, paragraphs (b)(7) through (9) specify when and where employers MUST provide standard stairs, and under what conditions employers may use spiral, ship, or alternating tread-type stairs.  OSHA has simplified and reorganized the existing rule (§ 1910.24(b)) to make the requirements clearer and easier to understand.  The old standard, 1910.24(b), was pretty clear, yet often over looked; this new standard states:

Related imageOSHA's new Fall Protection standard for General Industry has a lot of MAJOR changes (for the better!) that we will be dealing with over the next several years (up to 20 years for some).  One that caught my eye was the new requirements for our maintenance personnel who may be doing work on low-sloped roofs (defined as a roof having a slope less than or equal to 4 in 12 (vertical to horizontal).  Final paragraph (b)(13) is a new provision that establishes fall protection requirements when employees perform work on low-slope roofs. OSHA is adding this provision to make the general industry standard more consistent with the construction fall protection standard, which includes a provision addressing roofing work performed on low-slope roofs (§1926.501(b)(10)).  Under paragraph (b)(13), the type of fall protection measures employers MUST use on low-slope roofs depends upon the distance they work from the roof edge. The final rule divides work on low-slope roofs into three (3) zones:

Screen Shot 2016 11 17 at 1.03.47 PMTomorrow OSHA will publish their new standard Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems) in the Federal Register.  This means that 60 days later (January 17, 2017), the standard will be EFFECTIVE, with some provisions having delayed enforcement dates.  This rule, in the making since the 1990's, will essentially change the way FALL PROTECTION in general industry workplaces will be managed and the BIGGEST change will come to FIXED LADDERS over the next 2 years and 20 years. The new rule will FINALLY CLARIFY (beyond question) that workers must be protected from fall hazards along unprotected sides or edges that are at least 4 feet above a lower level (NOT 6' like in the construction industry!).  The final rule revises and updates the requirements in the general industry WalkingWorking Surfaces standards (29 CFR part 1910, subpart D), including requirements for ladders, stairs, dockboards, and fall and falling object protection; and it adds new requirements on the design, performance, and use of personal fall protection systems (29 CFR part 1910, subpart I). The final rule also makes conforming changes to other standards in part 1910 that reference requirements in subparts D and I.  Under the final rule, employers may choose from the following fall protection options:

Incidence rates can be used to show the relative level of injuries and illnesses among different industries, firms, or operations within a single firm. Because a common base and a specific period of time are involved, these rates can help determine both problem areas and progress in preventing work-related injuries and illnesses. An incidence rate of injuries and illnesses may be computed from the following formula: (Number of injuries and illnesses X 200,000) / Employee hours worked = Incidence rate. The 200,000 figure in the formula represents the number of hours 100 employees working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year would work, and provides the standard base for calculating incidence rate for an entire year.

 
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Intro to Process Safety Management

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