Under the updated rules, employers have more flexibility in selecting fall-protection systems they feel are best for their employees. The new rules, which became effective in January, will prevent an estimated 29 deaths and more than 5,800 injuries each year.

Some highlights offered by Andrew J. Miller, president of Dakota Safety, included these:

  • If workers are within 6 feet of a roof edge, conventional fall protection is required. For distances from 6 feet to 15 feet, a warning line and a designated area for temporary work are required.
  • Personal fall-arrest systems or ladder safety systems are mandatory for fixed ladders more than 24 feet in height.
  • Employers may no longer use chains to close access openings.
  • Employers must conduct fall-hazard assessments before workers begin their jobs.
  • All employees who use personal fall protection and perform high-hazard work must get training about the dangers of falls and how to use safety equipment. The deadline for implementing this rule was May 17.

For more, take a look at this OSHA webpage, which provides general information about fall protection. OSHA also publishes a separate guide specifically aimed at the roofing industry.

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