The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has given its okay to the proposed Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems) final rule for general industry. The rule, first proposed in 1990 and then updated in 2010, is commonly referred to as “slips, trips and falls.”

It is now expected that the author of the proposal, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), will quickly publish the final version in the Federal Register, upgrading what is now a standard into a full regulation. OSHA predicts the final rule will prevent 20 deaths and 3,000 injuries a year when it is fully implemented.

The proposed rule states:

The existing OSHA general industry standards recognize the use of guardrails and physical barriers as the primary methods for employee protection against falls. However, those standards do not directly recognize that personal fall protection systems can also provide effective means for employee protection. OSHA believes that the proposed rules will give employers the necessary flexibility to decide which fall protection method or system works best for the work operation being performed, while ensuring employees receive a level of protection that is effective and necessary. OSHA believes many of these slips, trips, and falls can be prevented and has devoted many years to assembling and analyzing information aimed at the elimination and prevention of hazards that cause these incidents.