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Aug 2017
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August 30, 2017

MiOSHA to Adopt OSHA Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Revised Rules

Michigan will soon adopt revised OSHA general industry requirements for walking-working surfaces and fall protection. Walking-working surfaces include floors, aisles, stairways, runways, ladders, ramps, elevated platforms, roofs and scaffolds. The intended purposes for the revisions are twofold: to reduce the number of work-related injuries and fatalities due to slips, trips and falls; and to incorporate advances in technology, national consensus standards and industry best practices since the rules were last revised more than 25 years ago.

The revised Michigan rules will significantly change many existing MiOSHA requirements, including providing new options to employers for fall protection methods; replacing the existing general industry scaffold standards with OSHA’s construction scaffold standards; and eliminating many MiOSHA-specific rules that are now either obsolete or in conflict with current OSHA rules.  

The revised rules will also add new requirements for previous surfaces unregulated by MiOSHA. Employers will soon be prohibited from using rope descent systems at heights greater than 300 feet unless they can demonstrate other means are not feasible or pose a greater hazard. The rules will also phase in a requirement over the next 20 years to equip fixed ladders with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems. With respect to personal fall protection systems, the revised rules will add requirements for their performance, inspection, use and maintenance. Employers will also be required to train employees on the use of such systems and the fall hazards inherent in using them. The training must take place within four months of the rules' effective date.

These revisions, among many others, are expected to go into effect later this year and most will have an immediate effective date. Because walking-working surfaces are found in every workplace, the revised Michigan Standard will affect all places of employment in general industry.

If you would like assistance with this issue, please contact Karen VanderWerff, DeAndre’ Harris or any member of the Warner Norcross & Judd Labor and Employment Practice Group.

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