Washington State Revises Fall Protection Regulations

Written July 30, 2020

Categories: First to Know

Due to changes in Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations covering walking and working surfaces, ladders, and fall protection requirements, the Washington Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) revised their rules to meet the federal requirements. The action by DOSH addressed changes to the fall protection regulations that become effective October 1, 2020.

The specific regulations for fall protection revised by DOSH are found in Chapter 296-880 WAC, General safety and health standard. The new chapter has not yet been incorporated into the online version of the regulations. The new chapter consolidated all the existing fall protection rules and incorporated the new federal provisions.

The new chapter is consistent with federal OSHA’s rule in that fall protection in printing operations is required when an employee is working at a height of more than 4 feet above an adjacent work surface. This includes loading docks, platforms, elevated storage areas, ramps, runways, and inclined walkways. Fall protection is required for any employee that will be working within 6 feet of a flat roof edge. One significant difference in this revised rule is that a written fall protection plan is required for any employee that will be working at a height of 10 feet or more relative to the ground or an adjacent work surface.

The plan needs to identify all instances where work will be performed at this height or higher and describe the method or methods of fall protection that will be used to protect employees. It needs to include the procedures governing the installation, use, inspection, and removal of the fall protection method or methods.

Under the employee training requirements, a competent person is required to train employees in fall protection equipment and methods, inspect fall protection equipment and serve as either a safety monitor or safety watch on projects involving roof work.

A competent person is defined in the regulations as an individual knowledgeable about fall protection equipment, including the manufacturer's recommendations and instructions for the proper use, inspection, and maintenance; and who is capable of identifying existing and potential fall hazards; and who has the authority to take prompt corrective action to eliminate those hazards; and is knowledgeable of the requirements contained in this chapter regarding the installation, use, inspection, and maintenance of fall protection equipment and systems.

For more information on compliance programs for walking, working surfaces and ladder safety, visit PRINTING United Alliance’s Walking and Working Surfaces Safety Package.