The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the federal agency that is entrusted with the establishment and enforcement of safety rules and regulations for workplaces in New Jersey and around the country. On Nov. 17, 2016, it released its final update on its existing rules governing walking and working surfaces on most job sites. The rules also establishes specific requirements with regard to personal fall protection systems.
The new rule is not meant to apply to construction or agricultural work sites which have their own sets of standards. However, it apply to most other jobs where trips, slips or falls could result in injury or death, such as window washers and warehouse workers.
OSHA believes that the new rule will give employers a greater degree of latitude when it comes to selecting a fall protection system. Instead of mandating guardrails, which the older rule did, companies can now choose from a variety of approved systems that they believe will work best for their needs. The agency has estimated that the final rule could prevent nearly 30 fatalities a year as well as many more injuries that would have resulted in the loss of at least one workday.
Unfortunately, despite all safety precautions having been taken, workplace accidents remain a hazard on job sites, regardless of the nature of the industry or occupation. Most employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees who are injured on the job or contract an occupational disease. An attorney can describe the nature and scope of benefits that may be available while assisting a worker in the preparation and filing of a claim.
Source: Safety BLR, “OSHA publishes final walking/working surfaces rule”, Nov. 17, 2016