The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced proposed revisions to the rule governing fall protection standards in the Federal Register on May 24, 2010. OSHA intends the revised rule to reduce the number of fall-related employee deaths and injuries by updating the rule to include new technology, such as personal fall protection systems. According to OSHA, the revised rule “reorganizes the rule in a clearer, more logical, manner and provides greater compliance flexibility.” OSHA also drafted the rule in simpler language in order to make it easier to understand.

The proposed rule would revise the walking-working surfaces standard (Subpart D) to reflect current industry practices and national consensus standards, harmonize the standard with construction and maritime standards, and use performance-oriented language rather than specification-oriented language.

The new rule would also revise the personal protective equipment (PPE) standard (Subpart I) to include new requirements for fall protection equipment. Currently, this standard contains general requirements for all types of PPE, but does not specifically contain criteria for fall protection PPE. The new rule would add this specific criteria, which would be codified as 29 C.F.R. §1910.140. OSHA proposes to amend a number of general industry standards that already set a duty to use fall protection PPE by requiring that the PPE meet the new requirements in §1910.140. Finally, OSHA proposed adding two appendices to Subpart I to provide examples of test methods and procedures that will assist employers and PPE manufactures in complying with the criteria in the standard.

For more information, view the entire proposed rule at