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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

OSHA Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Systems Rule Released

December 12, 2016

The final rule to update the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) "Industry Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Standards" was published on November 18. Most of the rule becomes effective January 17, 2017; however, there are some staggered dates for enforcement of training and inspection. 

The rule will benefit employers, including colleges and universities, by providing greater flexibility in choosing protection systems for workers from fall hazards that are at least four feet above a lower platform. For example, it eliminates the existing mandate to use guardrails as a primary fall protection method, along with allowing employers to choose from accepted fall protection systems that work best for their particular situations. 

Highlights of the rule are available on the OSHA Fact Sheet, as well as answers to frequently asked questions. This covers general questions along with items that impact campus workers regarding roof descent, outdoor advertising (e.g., workers in stadiums, gyms, and other signage areas), residential roofs, and agricultural operations. Additional information is also available in the Campus Environmental Resource Center.


Sally Grans Korsh
Director, Facilities Management and Environmental Policy