Federal Registers - Table of Contents Federal Registers - Table of Contents
• Publication Date: 05/24/2010
• Publication Type: Proposed Rules
• Fed Register #: 75:28862-29153
• Standard Number: 1910; 1915; 1926
• Title: Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems); Proposed Rule.

[Federal Register: May 24, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 99)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 28862-29153]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr24my10-15]                         
 


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Part II





Department of Labor





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Occupational Safety and Health Administration



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29 CFR Part 1910



Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall 
Protection Systems); Proposed Rule




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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1910

[Docket No. OSHA-2007-0072]
RIN 1218-AB80

 
Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall 
Protection Systems)

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 
Department of Labor.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: OSHA proposes to revise the walking-working surfaces standards 
and the personal protective equipment standards in our regulations. The 
proposal is estimated to reduce the number of fall-related employee 
deaths and injuries by updating the rule to include new technology 
(including personal fall protection systems) and industry methods. OSHA 
believes that the proper use of personal fall protection systems can 
protect employees from injury and death due to falls to different 
elevations. The proposal reorganizes the rule in a clearer, more 
logical manner and provides greater compliance flexibility. The 
proposed rule is written in plain-language to make it easier to 
understand, thereby facilitating compliance. Additionally, the proposal 
increases consistency between construction, maritime, and general 
industry standards, and eliminates duplication.

DATES: Submit comments (including comments on the information-
collection (paperwork) determination described under the section titled 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION of this document), hearing requests, and 
other information by August 23, 2010. All submissions must bear a 
postmark or provide other evidence of the submission date. (See the 
following section titled ADDRESSES for methods you can use in making 
submissions.)

ADDRESSES: Comments and hearing requests may be submitted as follows:
    Electronic: Comments may be submitted electronically to http://www.regulations.gov, 
which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions online for 
submitting comments.
    Facsimile: OSHA allows facsimile transmission of comments and 
hearing requests that are 10 pages or fewer in length (including 
attachments). Send these documents to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 
693-1648; hard copies of these documents are not required. Instead of 
transmitting facsimile copies of attachments that supplement these 
documents (e.g., studies, journal articles), commenters may submit 
these attachments, in triplicate hard copy, to the OSHA Docket Office, 
Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210. These attachments must 
clearly identify the sender's name, date, subject, and Docket ID (i.e., 
OSHA-2007-0072) so that the Agency can attach them to the appropriate 
document.
    Regular mail, express delivery, hand (courier) delivery, and 
messenger service: Submit three copies of comments and any additional 
material (e.g., studies, journal articles) to the OSHA Docket Office, 
Docket ID OSHA-2007-0072 or RIN No. 1218-AB80, Technical Data Center, 
Room N-2625, OSHA, Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW., 
Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2350. (OSHA's TTY number is 
(877) 889-5627.) Please contact the OSHA Docket Office for information 
about security procedures concerning delivery of materials by express 
delivery, hand delivery, and messenger service. The hours of operation 
for the OSHA Docket Office are 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., e.t.
    Instructions. All submissions must include the Agency name and the 
OSHA Docket ID (i.e., OSHA-2007-0072). Comments and other material, 
including any personal information, are placed in the public docket 
without revision, and will be available online at http://www.regulations.gov. 
Therefore, the Agency cautions commenters about submitting statements 
they do not want made available to the public, or submitting comments 
that contain personal information (either about themselves or others)
 such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, and medical data.
    Docket. To read or download comments or other material in the 
docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or to the OSHA Docket Office 
at the address above. Documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index; 
however, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) 
is not publicly available to read or download through this 
Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, are 
available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. Contact 
the OSHA Docket Office for assistance in locating docket submissions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: General information and press 
inquiries. Contact Ms. Jennifer Ashley, Director, Office of 
Communications, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3647, 200 
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-
1999 or fax (202) 693-1634.
    Technical inquiries. Contact Ms. Virginia Fitzner, Directorate of 
Standards and Guidance, Room N-3609, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 
200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 
693-2052 or fax (202) 693-1663.
    Copies of this Federal Register notice. Available from the OSHA 
Office of Publications, Room N-3101, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-
1888.
    Electronic copies of this notice. Go to OSHA's Web site (http://www.osha.gov), 
and select "Federal Register," "Date of Publication," and then "2010."
    Additional information for submitting documents. See section XI 
("Public Participation") of this notice.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Replacement of previously proposed rule. This proposed revision of 
subparts D and I replaces the proposed rules originally published in 
the Federal Register (55 FR 47660) on April 10, 1990, and republished 
in the Federal Register on May 2, 2003 (69 FR 23528).
    References and exhibits. In this Federal Register notice, OSHA 
references a number of supporting materials. References to these 
materials are given as "Ex." followed by the number of the document 
(e.g., Ex. 23). The referenced materials are posted in Docket Nos. 
OSHA-2007-0072, OSHA-S041-2006-0666 (formerly Docket No. S-041), OSHA-
S029-2006-0662 (formerly Docket No. S-029), and OSHA-S057-2006-0680 
(formerly Docket No. S-057) all of which are available at http://www.regulations.gov. 
The documents are also available at the OSHA Docket Office
(see ADDRESSES section). For further information about 
accessing exhibits referenced in this Federal Register notice, see the 
"Public Participation" section of this document.

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Analysis of Risk
III. Issues
IV. Summary and Explanation of the Proposed Rule
V. Preliminary Economic and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Screening 
Analysis
VI. Applicability of Existing National Consensus Standards
VII. OMB Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
VIII. Federalism
IX. State Plan States
X. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
XI. Public Participation
XII. Authority and Signature
XIII. Proposed Regulatory Text

I. Background

    The majority of employees in general industry workplaces walk or 
work on level surfaces, such as floors, where slips, trips, and falls 
are common occurrences. These occurrences, however, are not likely to 
result in major injuries or fatalities. On the other hand, there are 
many employees who work on ladders, scaffolds, towers, outdoor 
advertising signs, and similar surfaces where slips, trips, or falls 
are likely to result in serious injury or death.
    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. The Agency used that 
information to form the basis for this proposed rule.
    History of the earlier rulemaking effort. OSHA's efforts to address 
slips, trips, and falls began with its initial standards. Those 
standards, which address a variety of walking-working surface hazards, 
were part of the initial package of standards promulgated by OSHA in 
1971 under section 6(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 
1970 (the Act) (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.). Since that time, a number of 
interested parties suggested changes to the standard. In particular, 
the suggested changes addressed updating the existing standard to 
reflect the current national consensus standards.
    Subpart D. Efforts to revise the initial standards in subpart D 
have been ongoing for many years. In September 1973, OSHA published a 
proposed revision of subpart D in the Federal Register (38 FR 24300).
    In April 1976, OSHA withdrew the 1973 proposal (41 FR 17227) 
because it was outdated. In the same year, to obtain public input on 
revising subpart D, OSHA conducted several informal public meetings 
around the country. After reviewing the information gathered from the 
public, OSHA determined that a more thorough, scientific and technical 
research effort was needed to develop objective information upon which 
an effective revision to the subpart D standard could be based.
    From 1976 through the 1980s, OSHA accumulated a wide variety of 
technical information. This included recommendations for fall 
prevention, ladders, scaffolds, slip-resistance, and handrails from the 
University of Michigan; studies concerning guardrails, slip-resistance, 
scaffolds, and fall prevention from the National Bureau of Standards 
(now the National Institute of Standards and Technology); analysis of 
various walking-working surfaces from Texas Tech University; accident 
and injury data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and various 
national consensus standards from the American National Standards 
Institute, American Society of Testing and Materials, and the American 
Society of Mechanical Engineers. This technical information provided 
the basis for a new proposal that was published in 1990; that proposal 
was not finalized due to other regulatory activities that took 
precedent.
    Subpart I. Many of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 
standards in subpart I, like subpart D, were also adopted by OSHA under 
section 6(a) of the Act. Existing subpart I contains general 
requirements for personal protective equipment, as well as specific 
performance and use requirements for certain types of personal 
protective equipment, including eye and face protection, respiratory 
protection, head protection, foot protection, protective clothing, hand 
protection, and electrical protective devices. Existing subpart I does 
not, however, contain any specific requirements addressing the 
performance or use of PPE used for fall protection; hence the need for 
this proposal.
    OSHA first proposed to revise subpart I to address fall protection 
PPE in 1990 in combination with a proposal to revise subpart D. As 
noted above, the 1990 rule was not finalized. On April 6, 1994, OSHA 
updated other portions of the PPE standard (59 FR 16334) by adding new 
requirements for employers to conduct hazard assessments; to select the 
proper PPE; to remove defective or damaged PPE from service; and to 
provide training in the proper use, care, and disposal of PPE. Those 
provisions, however, only applied to PPE used for face and eye, head, 
foot, and hand protection. In this rulemaking, OSHA proposes to require 
the hazard assessments to address PPE used for fall protection as well.
    The combined proposals for subparts D and I. On April 10, 1990, 
OSHA proposed to revise both subparts D and I (55 FR 13360 and 55 FR 
13423, respectively). The proposals were intended to remove ambiguities 
and redundancies in the existing standards, simplify and consolidate 
existing provisions, and use performance language instead of 
specifications where possible. Additionally, OSHA proposed adding new 
requirements to subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment, to set 
performance and use criteria for fall protection equipment. The two 
subparts were interdependent with respect to personal fall protection 
systems; that is, the duty requirements for personal fall protection 
systems were in subpart D and the criteria for the systems were in 
subpart I. OSHA received comments and held a public hearing on the 
proposals.
    On May 2, 2003, OSHA reopened the rulemaking record and republished 
the 1990 proposal (68 FR 23528) to refresh the record due to the length 
of time that had elapsed since 1990. Based upon comments and 
information received in that reopening, and because of technological 
advances, particularly within the fall protection industry, OSHA 
determined the best course of action was to issue a new proposal for 
subparts D and I.
    Today's proposed rule. Today's proposed rule replaces the 1990 
proposals (55 FR 13360). OSHA proposes to revise subpart D to 
accomplish the following:
    (1) Reflect current industry practices and national consensus 
standards; 
    (2) Harmonize provisions, when possible, with other OSHA provisions 
(e.g., the construction standards in 29 CFR part 1926 and the Shipyard 
Employment Standards in 29 CFR part 1915); and
    (3) Use performance-oriented language when possible, rather than 
specification-oriented language.
    In subpart I, OSHA proposes to add new specific performance and use 
requirements for personal fall protection equipment. Existing subpart I 
contains general requirements for all types of personal protective 
equipment, as well as specific performance and use requirements for 
other types of personal protective equipment, but it does not 
specifically contain criteria for fall protection PPE.
    To be effective, fall protection systems must be both strong enough 
to providethe necessary fall protection and capable of absorbing fall impact so 
that the forces imposed on employees when stopping falls do not result 
in injury or death. The ability of the human body to tolerate the 
arresting force imposed on it by a fall protection system has been 
addressed directly in general industry only by Sec.  1910.66, Powered 
Platforms for Building Maintenance. Throughout this proposed rule, OSHA 
will make reference to the general industry powered platform standard; 
the construction industry standard for fall protection; and the 
shipyard employment standards for personal fall protection systems. 
Experience gained by the Agency in enforcing those rules provides 
additional guidance in the development of this proposed rule. OSHA's 
objective is to make consistent all of its requirements for the use of 
personal fall protection systems. The listed fall protection standards 
contain requirements that are identical to, or essentially the same as, 
those proposed in this document.
    The proposed rule for subpart I, to be codified at Sec.  1910.140 
(Fall protection), would apply whenever another standard requires or 
allows the use of fall protection PPE. In these situations, the system 
used must comply with the requirements of Sec.  1910.140. For example, 
subparts D, F, and R of the general industry standards (part 1910) each 
contain a requirement (a duty) to use fall protection. Where an 
employer uses a personal fall protection system to meet the duty, that 
system would have to meet the criteria and performance requirements 
proposed in this rule. Many of the requirements proposed here for 
personal fall arrest systems are already in effect when employees are 
working on platforms regulated by OSHA's general industry standard in 
subpart F--Powered Platforms for Building Maintenance (Sec.  1910.66). 
Appendix C of Sec.  1910.66 sets out mandatory requirements for 
personal fall arrest systems. Therefore, the entire powered platform 
rulemaking record is hereby incorporated into this proposed rulemaking 
(Dockets S-700 and S-700A).
    In addition to proposing new requirements for personal protective 
equipment (PPE) used for fall protection, OSHA proposes to amend a 
number of general industry standards that already set a duty to use PPE 
by requiring that PPE meet the new requirements of subpart I. For 
example, paragraph (g) of Sec.  1910.269 requires personal fall arrest 
systems to meet the requirements of subpart M of part 1926 (the 
construction industry requirements). This provision would be revised to 
require personal fall arrest systems to meet the mostly parallel 
criteria requirements of subpart I of 1910 (the general industry 
requirements). Subpart M of part 1926 differs from proposed subpart I 
in that subpart M addresses fall arrest systems used in the 
construction of elevator shafts, while subpart I does not address the 
construction of elevator shafts. In addition, subpart I uses 
performance language with regard to anchorages for fall arrest systems, 
while subpart M specifically prohibits the use of guardrails as 
anchorage points.
    Finally, OSHA proposes to add two non-mandatory appendices to 
subpart I to provide examples of test methods and procedures that will 
assist employers and PPE manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with 
the criteria proposed in Sec.  1910.140.
    OSHA believes that many equipment manufacturers are currently 
following the criteria and test methods of the above-mentioned 
standards. Therefore, the vast majority of equipment covered by the 
proposed rule already complies with the requirements in this proposal. 
Also, OSHA notes that equipment that meets the proposed standards is 
readily available to any employer that does not already meet the 
proposed standard because personal fall protection systems required to 
be used by other OSHA standards (e.g., the construction standards in 29 
CFR part 1926 and the Shipyard Employment Standards in 29 CFR part 
1915) must meet essentially the same criteria and testing requirements 
as in this proposed rule.
    The OSH Act requires OSHA to make certain findings with respect to 
standards. One of these findings, specified by section 3(8) of the OSH 
Act, requires an OSHA standard to address a significant risk and to 
reduce this risk significantly. (See Industrial Union Dep't v. American 
Petroleum Institute, 448 U.S. 607 (1980).) As discussed in section II 
of this preamble, OSHA preliminarily finds that slips, trips, and falls 
constitute a significant risk, and estimates that the proposed standard 
will prevent 20 fatalities and 3,706 injuries annually. Section 6(b) of 
the OSH Act requires OSHA to determine if its standards are 
technologically and economically feasible. As discussed in section V of 
this preamble, OSHA preliminarily finds that this proposed standard is 
economically and technologically feasible.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601, as amended) requires 
that OSHA determine whether a proposed standard will have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small firms. As discussed in 
section VI, OSHA examined the small firms affected by this standard and 
certifies that the proposed standard will not have a significant impact 
on a substantial number of small firms.
    Executive Order 12866 requires that OSHA estimate the benefits, 
costs, and net benefits of proposed standards. The table below 
summarizes OSHA's preliminary findings with respect to the estimated 
costs, benefits, and net benefits of this standard. As is clear, the 
annual benefits are significantly in excess of the annual costs. 
However, it should be noted that under the OSH Act, OSHA does not use 
the magnitude of net benefits as the decisionmaking criterion in 
determining what standards to promulgate.

 Net Benefits and Cost Effectiveness of the Proposed Revision to OSHA's
                        Walking-Working Standards
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                            Annualized Costs
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Sec.   1910.22 General Requirements..  $15.7 million.
Sec.   1910.23 Ladders...............  $9.7 million.
Sec.   1910.24 Step Bolts and Manhole  $3.7 million.
 Steps.
Sec.   1910.27 Scaffolds.............  $73.0 million.
Sec.   1910.28 Duty to Have Fall       $0.09 million.
 Protection.
Sec.   1910.29 Fall Protection         $8.4 million.
 Systems Criteria and Practices.
Sec.   1910.30 Training Requirements.  $44.1 million.
Sec.   1910.140 Fall Protection......  $18.5 million.
                                      ----------------------------------
    Total Annual Costs...............  $173.2 million.
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                             Annual Benefits
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Number of Injuries Prevented.........  3,706.
Number of Fatalities Prevented.......  20.
Monetized Benefits (assuming $50,000   $328.5 million.
 per injury and $7.2 million per
 fatality prevented).
OSHA standards that are updated and    Unquantified.
 consistent with voluntary standards.
                                      ----------------------------------
    Net Benefits (benefits minus       $155.4 million.
     costs).
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Cost Effectiveness: Compliance with the proposed standards would result
 in the prevention of 1 fatality and 231 injuries for every $10 million
 in costs, or alternatively, $1.90 in benefits per dollar of costs.
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Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Evaluation and
  Analysis, Office of Regulatory Analysis, 2009.

II. Analysis of Risk

    Nature of the risk. Falls and other hazards associated with 
walking-working surfaces, primarily resulting in slips, trips, and 
falls, and hazards leading to combustible dust explosions and other 
accidents, are addressed in this proposal. These hazards are 
encountered by millions of employees working in industry sectors 
regulated by OSHA under 29 CFR part 1910. There are many causal factors 
for slips, trips, and falls, such as ice, wet areas, grease, loose 
flooring or carpeting, inattention to surroundings, uneven scaffolding 
planking, clutter, worn rope on descent systems, open desk drawers and 
filing cabinets, damaged ladder steps, and a more subtle cause--a 
belief that the action being taken will not lead to an accident. For 
example, where a ladder is not readily available, employees may 
improvise and use a chair, or even a 5-gallon bucket, as a way to reach 
a higher level. In fact, accident data show that many falls could be 
prevented if existing OSHA regulations and recommended safe practices 
were followed. The hazards generally can be grouped into three (often 
interrelated) factors: Equipment, human, and environmental. Examples of 
some equipment factors include improper footwear, uneven surfaces, 
foreign substances on surfaces such as oil or litter, and unguarded 
sides and edges of elevated platforms. Some human factors are 
inattention, haste, human error, failure to follow instructions, and 
fatigue. Environmental factors may include poor lighting and weather-
related conditions. The presence of multiple factors increases the 
risk. For instance, a polished marble floor may not present a slipping 
hazard to someone wearing rubber-soled shoes; however, when the floor 
is wet from mopping or snow being tracked in from the outdoors, the 
risk of slipping greatly increases. The addition of other factors such 
as poor lighting, inattention, and haste are likely to further increase 
the risk.
    Slips and trips can lead to falls that cause injuries such as back 
strains or other injuries when individuals try to "catch" themselves. 
Falls on the same level can cause injuries such as sprains, strains, 
fractures, and contusions that may affect any area of the body and, on 
occasion, can be fatal. Falling from an elevated surface increases 
injury severity and the likelihood of fatalities. Falls from elevations 
occur in all industries, in all occupations, and in a myriad of work 
settings--from the employee washing windows from a rope descent system 
40 feet from the ground, to the stock clerk retrieving goods from a 
shelf using a 4-foot stepladder. These tasks represent only two of the 
numerous tasks that can result in injury or death to employees caused 
by failures to recognize fall hazards, to use fall protection 
equipment, or to take appropriate action to abate fall hazards.
    Identifying fall hazards and deciding how best to protect employees 
is the first step in reducing or eliminating the hazards. Therefore, 
OSHA is proposing to expand existing Sec.  1910.132(d), Hazard 
assessment and equipment selection, to apply to hazards covered in new 
Sec.  1910.140--Fall protection. This expansion would require employers 
to assess the workplace to identify fall hazards and select and require 
the use of appropriate PPE. In addition, the employer must train (see 
Sec.  1910.132(f)) the employee on the proper use of PPE. Once 
employers determine that the use of PPE is the most appropriate way to 
protect their employees from falls, the proposed rule requires 
employers to provide equipment that meets certain strength and 
performance requirements.
    Injury and fatality data. Recent employment data taken from the 
U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 Statistics of U.S. Businesses and the Bureau 
of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics indicate 
that over 106 million employees work in over 6 million establishments 
regulated by OSHA under its subpart D standards. Slips, trips, and 
falls constitute 15 percent of all accidental deaths, and are second 
only to motor vehicles as a cause of employee fatalities.
    The BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) has listed 
falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic injury and death in the 
workplace for many years. Fall-related injury and fatality statistics 
show that employees encounter hazards associated with walking-working 
surfaces at their worksites on a daily basis.
    Tables V-10 and V-11 of section V ("Preliminary Economic and 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Screening Analysis") depict BLS data 
from 1992 to 2004. During this time period, BLS reported an annual 
average of 300 fatal falls, 213 (71%) of which resulted from falling 
from a higher level. Furthermore, of an annual average of 299,404 non-
fatal falls resulting in lost-workday injuries, 79,593 (26%) were as a 
result of falling from a higher level.
    An examination of more recent BLS data, shows that falls continue 
to be a significant source of workplace fatalities.




                                                   Fatal Falls
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                 Percentage of
                                                                             Fatal falls from   fatal falls that
                                                            Fatal falls           height        were falls from
                                                                                                     height
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1992-2004 (Average per Year)...........................                300                213                 71
2005...................................................                320                257                 80
2006...................................................                343                285                 83
2007...................................................                357                267                 75
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    According to this table, the number of falls resulting in death is 
increasing, although the percentage of fatal falls that are due to 
falls from heights dropped in 2007.
    Significance of risk. As described more fully in section V of this 
preamble, many of the falls that occur in general industry could be 
prevented through the maintenance of safe conditions and the use of 
safe work practices on walking-working surfaces, as well as through the 
proper use of appropriate personal fall protection equipment when 
necessary. The Agency estimates that compliance with the proposed 
requirements in subparts D and I would prevent 20 fall-related 
fatalities and 3,706 fall related lost-workday injuries annually (see 
section V of this notice).
    The Agency has concluded, on a preliminary basis, that these 
proposed standards address a significant risk. Furthermore, OSHA 
believes that compliance with these proposed requirements is reasonably 
necessary to protect employees from fall hazards and would 
substantially reduce this risk.
    Basis for Agency action. In the 1990 proposed rule (55 FR 13361), 
OSHA described a number of studies and investigations conducted by both 
government agencies (OSHA, Consumer Product Safety Commission, the 
Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the former National Bureau of 
Standards, now called the National Institute for Standards and 
Technology) and academia (University of Michigan, Texas A&M, and the 
University of Texas). These studies, which are available in the earlier 
rulemaking docket (S-029) or from the sources listed in Appendix C of 
the 1990 proposed rule, provide useful information about the ways in 
which employees fall from various surfaces, and the forces applied when 
stepping on surfaces, particularly ladders and stairways. Additionally, 
they provide information about the strength necessary for various 
surfaces, the minimum and maximum spacing between rungs on ladders and 
steps on stairways, and other similar details. They also address the 
need for toe and hand clearances, the height of stair rail and 
guardrail systems, and the size of openings in guardrails that would 
permit passage of employees. Many of the recommendations contained in 
referenced reports and studies are validated by inclusion of identical 
or essentially similar requirements in the national consensus standards 
applicable to the topic.
    There are various ways of protecting employees from the hazards 
associated with walking-working surfaces. This proposal, in conjunction 
with the criteria for personal fall protection systems in the subpart I 
proposed rule, addresses conventional fall protection systems such as 
guardrail systems, safety net systems, and personal fall protection 
systems (travel restraint systems, fall arrest systems, and positioning 
systems). The proposal also includes non-conventional means such as 
allowing employees to work in a designated area (without conventional 
fall protection), provided they receive specific training and use safe 
work practices.
    OSHA intends to ensure that all PPE requirements for fall 
protection in general industry are the same, and therefore is proposing 
to replace existing requirements in other general industry standards 
with references to subpart I, Personal Fall Protection Systems. This 
change will facilitate compliance, since all general industry fall 
protection criteria will be consolidated into subpart I.
    Additionally, the rule requires employers to take easy-to-use 
measures, such as placing covers over holes in floors and using 
indicators or signs to warn employees that they are approaching a fall 
hazard.
    The proposed standard would also require employers to ensure that 
walking-working surfaces are designed, constructed, maintained, and 
used in a safe manner, and that proper work practices are used by the 
employees. For example, when climbing a ladder, the employee must 
always maintain three points of contact and never use the top of a 
stepladder as a step. Many of the design requirements in the proposed 
standard (such as those for step bolts, mobile ladder stands, and 
portable ladders) reflect the manufacturing specifications prescribed 
by national consensus standards. In most instances, the Agency used the 
most recent version of consensus standards in writing this proposal.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Consensus standards are updated on a cyclical basis, thus 
staying current with industry practice and technological advances.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    OSHA proposes the requirements in subparts D and I as the minimum 
necessary to protect employees from significant hazards that can cause 
falls and other events which may result in serious injury and death. 
OSHA believes that many employers are already in compliance with the 
updated proposed rules because the majority of the proposed 
requirements are either already in existing OSHA rules or are 
prescribed by national consensus standards organizations in voluntary 
standards on the topic. The Agency believes that codifying more current 
consensus standard provisions, establishing personal fall protection 
systems criteria in subpart I, and specifying training requirements 
will lead to higher compliance with standards. The updated rules will 
make it easier and more effective to prevent slips, trips, and falls 
and other events.
    A safety or health standard is a standard "which requires 
conditions, or the adoption or use of one or more practices, means, 
methods, operations, or processes, reasonably necessary or appropriate 
to provide safe or healthful employment" (29 U.S.C. 652(8)). In 
addition, all standards must be highly protective (see 58 FR at 16614-
16615; International Union, UAW v. OSHA, 37 F.3d 669 (DC Cir. 1994)) 
and, whenever practical, standards shall "be expressed in terms of 
objective criteria and of the performance desired." Id. In this 
preamble, OSHA discusses the hazards associated with walking and 
working on elevated, slippery, or other surfaces, and explains why the 
provisions of the proposed rule are reasonably necessary to protect 
affected employees from those risks. The Agency estimates that 
compliance with the revised walking-working surfaces
 standard will reduce the risks associated with these 
hazards by preventing an estimated 20 fatalities annually based upon 
the 1992-2007 BLS data and 1995-2001 OSHA data. OSHA believes that this 
constitutes a substantial reduction in the risk of material harm. Since 
falls from heights result in more fatalities and more serious injuries 
than falls on the same level, this proposed rule places emphasis on 
falls from heights.

III. Issues

Issue 1--Fall Protection on Rolling Stock and Motor Vehicles

    OSHA is requesting additional comment on whether specific 
regulations are needed to cover falls from rolling stock and commercial 
motor vehicles. Existing subpart D does not specifically address or 
exclude fall protection on rolling stock or motor vehicles from 
coverage. For the purposes of this issue, the term "rolling stock" 
means any locomotive, railcar, or vehicle operated exclusively on a 
rail or rails, or a trolley bus operated by electric power supplied 
from an overhead wire. The term "motor vehicle" means commercial 
buses, vans, and trucks (including tractor trailer trucks, tank trucks, 
and hopper trucks). For the purposes of this rule, the term "motor 
vehicle" does not include powered industrial trucks. OSHA is 
specifically seeking comment on whether it should include requirements 
specifying that when employees are exposed to falls from rolling stock 
and motor vehicles at heights greater than 4 feet, protective work 
practices, methods, or systems must be instituted. OSHA is also 
requesting comment on how it should define "rolling stock" and 
"motor vehicles," or if the terms as defined are sufficiently 
inclusive.
    The 1990 "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Walking-Working 
Surfaces" (68 FR 23530) generated one comment on the subject. The 
American Feed Industry Association said:

    The section on Scope and Applications provides that this Subpart 
D does not apply to "surfaces that are an integral part of self-
propelled, motorized mobile equipment". [Sec.  1910.21.] This is, 
obviously and correctly, meant to exclude work surfaces that are on 
railroad cars, truck trailers, and barges.
    OSHA should add a line to section 1910.21(a)(1) that says: 
Railroad cars, truck trailers, barges and similar equipment designed 
for use with a separable source of propulsion are excluded from 
coverage by this subpart even when temporarily detached from any 
source of propulsion for purposes of loading or unloading.

    In 1996, OSHA was asked to clarify its fall protection rules 
involving the unloading of grain from rolling stock (meaning rail 
cars). In response, OSHA issued a memorandum to its Regional 
Administrators on October 18, 1996 (Ex. OSHA-S029-2006-0662-0018), 
directing OSHA inspectors not to cite rolling stock under subpart D. 
The memorandum also said that it would not be appropriate to use the 
PPE standard (29 CFR 1910.132(d)) to cite employee exposure to fall 
hazards on the tops of rolling stock unless the rolling stock was 
positioned inside of or contiguous to a building or other structure 
where the installation of fall protection is feasible. The memorandum 
did not result in clear direction to the public or to OSHA's field 
staff. As a result, OSHA raised the issue of fall protection on rolling 
stock and motor vehicles in a separate Federal Register notice--the 
2003 Reopening Notice. In response to that notice, OSHA received a 
number of comments that supported and opposed the inclusion of specific 
requirements regulating fall hazards from rolling stock and motor 
vehicles.
    Commenters expressed diverse views on the approach that OSHA should 
pursue to regulate falls from rolling stock and motor vehicles. Some 
commenters supported an exclusion of rolling stock and motor vehicles 
from subpart D while other commenters supported the inclusion of new, 
specific rules. Referring to advances in fall protection technology, 
some of these commenters said they believed that it would be feasible 
to protect employees from falls, and cited the type of equipment that 
could be used to provide that protection. Other commenters simply 
stated their support for the policy OSHA set forth in the 1996 
memorandum. However, the understanding of the 1996 memorandum also 
varied among commenters. Commenters provided little information to the 
record regarding injuries and deaths associated with falls from rolling 
stock and motor vehicles.
    OSHA plans to continue gathering information and evidence to 
determine whether there is a need to propose specific requirements for 
the protection of employees exposed to falls from rolling stock and 
motor vehicles. Additionally, OSHA needs more information about what 
employers are presently doing and any feasibility and cost concerns 
associated with a requirement to provide protection. Therefore, OSHA is 
not including any specific requirements pertinent to rolling stock and 
motor vehicles in proposed Sec.  1910.28. Rather, it will wait until 
the record is more fully developed to determine the appropriate course 
of action. If, in response to this issue, the Agency receives 
sufficient comments and evidence to warrant additional rulemaking, a 
separate proposed rule will be issued.
    In an effort to collect and assemble the information needed for 
OSHA to make an informed decision about the need for specific 
provisions regulating fall hazards from rolling stock and motor 
vehicles, the Agency requests comprehensive responses to the questions 
posed below. The Agency requests that the responses be directed 
specifically to individual questions and be clearly labeled with the 
number of the question.
    With respect to rolling stock, OSHA is not soliciting information 
relating to personal fall protection equipment used on rolling stock 
involved in "railroad operations," which include the movement of 
equipment over rails. The Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) 
"Railroad Occupational Safety and Health Standards Policy Statement" 
(the Policy Statement) sets out the respective areas of jurisdiction 
between FRA and OSHA. That Policy Statement provides that FRA has 
jurisdiction over railroad operations, including personal protective 
equipment and walking-working surfaces on rolling stock. With regard to 
FRA's jurisdiction over personal protective equipment, the FRA Policy 
Statement notes, "OSHA regulations concerning personal protective 
equipment apply according to their terms, except to the extent the 
general requirements might be read to require protective equipment 
responsive to hazards growing out of railroad operations." (See 43 FR 
10583, 10588 (1978).) Addressing FRA's jurisdiction over walking-
working surfaces, the FRA Policy Statement reads, "[OSHA regulations] 
would not apply with respect to the design of locomotives and other 
rolling equipment used on a railroad, since working conditions related 
to such surfaces are regulated by FRA as major aspects of railroad 
operations." (Id. at 10587.) A copy of the FRA's Policy Statement can 
be found on FRA's Web site. OSHA is, however, requesting comment and 
information regarding rolling stock not involved in railroad 
operations, such as, but not limited to, when rolling stock is being 
loaded or unloaded off railroad property by non-railroad employees or 
contractors to railroads, or when such rolling stock is being 
retrofitted or repaired off railroad property.
    In regard to rolling stock:
    1. In your establishment and/or industry, how many or what 
percentage of employees working on top of rolling stock are exposed to 
fall hazards?
    2. How are these employees protected from fall hazards while 
working on such equipment?
    3. If employee training on the recognition of fall hazards is 
provided in your workplace, please describe the nature and frequency of 
the training.
    4. If fall protection equipment is used, please provide detailed 
information on the types and costs of the fall protection used on 
rolling stock and please explain how it is used.
    5. If fall protection equipment is not used, please explain what 
technological and/or economic obstacles to such use may be involved.
    6. Are there alternative means to protect employees from fall 
hazards while working on rolling stock? Please explain.
    7. What is your safety experience with fall hazards on or from 
rolling stock?
    8. Should OSHA exclude rolling stock from coverage under subpart D? 
Please explain and provide data and information to support your 
comments.
    In regard to motor vehicles:
    9. In your establishment and/or industry, how many or what 
percentage of employees working on top of motor vehicles are exposed to 
fall hazards?
    10. How are these employees protected from fall hazards while 
working on such equipment?
    11. If employee training on the recognition of fall hazards is 
provided in your workplace, please describe the nature and frequency of 
the training.
    12. If fall protection equipment is used, please provide detailed 
information on the types and costs of the fall protection used on motor 
vehicles and please explain how it is used.
    13. If fall protection equipment is not used, please explain what 
technological and/or economic obstacles may be involved.
    14. Are there alternative means to protect employees from fall 
hazards while working on motor vehicles? Please explain.
    15. What is your safety experience with fall hazards on or from 
motor vehicles?
    16. Should OSHA exclude motor vehicles from coverage under subpart 
D? Please explain and provide data and information to support your 
comments.

Issue 2--Fall Protection for Employees Standing or Climbing on 
Stacked Materials (e.g., Steel and Precast Concrete Products)

    OSHA is seeking comment on whether there is a need to promulgate a 
specific requirement in subpart D to address those situations where an 
employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater 
hazard to use conventional fall protection to protect employees exposed 
to falling 4 feet (1.2 m) or more from stacked materials. Some 
commenters have recommended that OSHA allow the use of safe work 
practices by trained employees in lieu of conventional fall protection 
for certain activities. OSHA seeks comment on the current fall 
protection measures that are in use, and the degree to which 
conventional fall protection is infeasible or creates a greater hazard.
    This issue was brought to OSHA's attention by the Precast Concrete 
Institute (PCI) and the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). OSHA 
notes that neither the existing nor the proposed revision to subpart D 
contains a specific requirement addressing fall protection for 
employees who must climb onto and stand on stacked materials (e.g., 
stacks of steel or concrete products) to perform their work--for 
example, rigging materials in preparation for transport. Rather, OSHA 
has enforced the general fall protection rules of subpart D (Sec.  
1910.23) and subpart I (Sec.  1910.132), as well as the general duty 
clause (5)(a)(1) of the OSH Act, to protect workers. OSHA has 
considered the comments of both PCI and AISI and has conducted an 
information-gathering site visit to become more familiar with the 
specific concerns raised by the commenters. At this point, OSHA is 
unconvinced that its existing enforcement policy, which makes 
allowances for situations where a greater hazard exists or where it is 
infeasible to provide fall protection, does not adequately address the 
concerns of the commenters. Nonetheless, OSHA is considering adding a 
specific requirement to subpart D if sufficient information and support 
is received to demonstrate the need for such a specific requirement. 
Additionally, OSHA requests comment on whether there are other similar 
situations where employees work on stacked materials.
    For background, the PCI, in correspondence to OSHA from 2000 to 
2003, outlined its concerns regarding the feasibility of providing fall 
protection for employees working at precast concrete manufacturing 
plants who are working/walking on precast concrete products. 
Additionally, PCI expressed concern about the feasibility of providing 
fall protection for employees who are rigging precast products, placing 
them on trailers, and securing them for transport to construction 
sites. Specifically, in a letter dated January 3, 2000 (Ex. 1), PCI 
asked for an "interpretation and exception for riggers loading/
unloading precast concrete products on trucks * * * and for riggers 
stacking, storing, loading or unloading precast concrete products in 
the plant, relative to fall protection. * * *" PCI provided the 
following rationale:

    When stacking, storing, loading or unloading precast concrete 
products, the need for employees to access the top of concrete 
products in excess of four (4) feet, for very short periods [of] 
time, to connect or disconnect lifting devices or rigging is 
necessary. The use of a conventional fall protection system is a 
greater hazard and in most cases infeasible because, while 
installing a fall protection system, employees are exposed to a fall 
hazard for an extended period of time. Since conventional fall 
protection is infeasible, employees shall be given individual 
instruction as well as have a mentor system hands-on process for 
training.

    PCI also noted that OSHA does not require fall protection for 
employees off-loading the precast concrete products at construction 
sites because the definition of a walking-working surface in the 
construction rule excluded "vehicles or trailers on which employees 
must be located to perform their job duties." PCI included the 
following recommended work procedure:

    A ladder shall be used to climb onto or off the vehicle deck and 
product. Employees shall not jump off [the] trailer or from product 
to product. Corrective and detail work shall be completed at ground 
level or from a ladder or mobile elevating work platform.

    On May 20, 2004, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) 
raised the same concern in its response to a request for comments from 
the Office of Management and Budget (67 FR 15014) on the "Draft Report 
to Congress on the Costs and Benefits of Federal Regulations." (Ex. 2) 
The AISI identified OSHA's subpart D as needing revision to permit 
employees standing on stacks of steel to work without fall protection 
when fall protection is not practical. Specifically, AISI said the 
following:

    OSHA requires employers to provide either guardrails or tie-off 
protection to workers who must perform their duties 48 inches or 
greater above the ground (1910.23 and 1910.66). These requirements 
are infeasible for operations that exist in steel and steel products 
companies where individuals need to stand on "stacks" of product 
that have a large surface area in order to rig bundles for crane 
lifts and similar activities. These rules also affect the loading of 
product onto truck trailers and railcars that are, with rare 
exception, over 48 inches above the ground. OSHA's list of 
"solutions" are to build guardrails around the product stacks, use 
magnet cranes, or provide safety lines around trailers and railcars, 
but these solutions are not feasible. Use of fixed guardrails around
truck trailers and railcars is not feasible and would, additionally, 
create its own serious safety hazard. The use of magnet cranes that 
do not require a rigger is also infeasible because magnet [sic] 
cannot connect to only a single bundle. Providing safety lines 
around the stacks, trailers and railcars is infeasible because 
customer orders necessitate bundles to be in varied stack heights, 
based on quantity ordered. Finally, because product placement for 
shipment requires traversing the trailers and railcars, it would 
require product to move through required safety lines. These rules 
should provide employers with some flexibility by stating that 
activities that are over 48 inches above the ground should use 
either guardrails or tie-off protection, "where practical." In 
situations where their use is not practical, the employer should be 
permitted to use an alternative practice and to provide appropriate 
training to the employee.

    OSHA requests comment on PCI's recommended procedures and AISI's 
position. The Agency also refers readers to Issue 1 above 
which also pertains to providing fall protection for employees on 
vehicles and railcars.

Issue 3--Qualified Climber

    In the 1990 proposal (55 FR 13366), OSHA first introduced the 
concept of a "qualified climber." A qualified climber was defined as 
"an employee who, by virtue of physical capabilities, training, work 
experience, and job assignment is authorized by the employer to 
routinely climb fixed ladders, step bolts or similar climbing devices 
attached to structures." OSHA proposed that rather than always 
providing conventional fall protection (cages, wells, ladder safety 
systems, or other fall protection) to employees climbing fixed ladders 
over 24 feet (7.3 m), the employer could allow qualified climbers to 
climb without fall protection provided certain criteria were met.
    On March 1, 1991, OSHA granted a variance to Gannett Outdoor 
Companies (56 FR 8801) permitting it to use qualified climbers as 
defined in the 1990 NPRM for outdoor advertising (billboard) 
applications. On January 26, 1993, OSHA issued a compliance directive 
applying these conditions to all outdoor-billboard applications.
    The criteria included that the ladder be climbed two or fewer times 
per year and that installing a ladder safety system, cage, or well 
would create a greater hazard. The premise of the proposal was that 
many fixed ladders in use at the time were not equipped with cages or 
wells as required by the existing standard. In addition, installing 
them would be extremely costly and the installation process itself 
might pose a greater hazard to workers than simply climbing the ladder 
without fall protection. Newer, anecdotal information available to OSHA 
indicates just the opposite--that most fixed ladders over 24 feet (7.3 
m) in height are already equipped with a well, cage, or some other type 
of fall protection (ladder safety system or personal fall protection 
system). OSHA notes that newer fall protection systems have emerged 
that can be installed in one climb of a fixed ladder. Some ladders are 
even manufactured with a ladder safety system already installed as an 
integral part of the ladder. For these reasons OSHA is not proposing 
the use of qualified climbers in this rule, except in the outdoor 
advertising (billboard) industry. Permitting the exception for 
billboard applications would codify the aforementioned 1993 variance. 
However, considering the advances in fall protection since publication 
of the 1990 proposed rule, OSHA requests comment on the need for the 
qualified-climber provision for the outdoor advertising industry. 
Removing this proposed provision would result in requiring fall 
protection for this industry that is the same as on all other fixed 
ladders covered by subpart D; therefore, commenters are requested to 
also address the technological and economic feasibility of removing 
this proposed provision. Commenters should provide supporting rationale 
for all responses.
    OSHA is not proposing to impose a duty to provide fall protection 
where an existing subpart D standard already requires the use of fall 
protection equipment. Thus, the proposed rule would not apply to 
electric power generation, transmission, or distribution work covered 
by Sec.  1910.269(g)(2)(v), or to telecommunications work covered by 
Sec.  1910.268(n)(7) or (n)(8). These two industry-specific standards 
generally permit employees to free climb to work locations on poles, 
towers, and similar structures without the use of fall protection 
equipment. These standards protect employees by requiring adequate 
training in climbing (Sec. Sec.  1910.268(c) and 1910.269(a)(2)(i)) 
and, in the case of the electric power generation standard in Sec.  
1910.269, by ensuring that employees are proficient in safe climbing 
techniques (Sec.  1910.269(a)(2)(vii)). OSHA invites comment on whether 
Sec. Sec.  1910.268(n)(7) and (n)(8) and 1910.269(g)(2)(v), which 
generally require fall protection only after the employee reaches the 
working position, adequately protect employees. In addition, the Agency 
requests information on the technological feasibility of requiring fall 
protection for employees climbing and changing position on electric 
power and telecommunications poles and structures, and the costs and 
benefits of complying with such a requirement.

Issue 4--Building Anchorages for Rope Descent Systems

    Section 1910.27(b) of the proposal addresses rope descent systems 
and includes a provision (in proposed Sec.  1910.27(b)(2)(iv)) 
requiring "sound" anchorages. OSHA believes that sound anchorage 
points are necessary to ensure that rope descent systems can be safely 
attached to the building for any type of suspended work, not just 
window cleaning. The ideal solution is for anchorages to be installed 
and maintained as part of the regular schedule for renovating and 
inspecting commercial buildings.
    Existing subpart D does not address the installation and 
maintenance of anchorages on buildings or other structures. Under the 
proposed rule, separate anchorages are required for personal fall 
arrest systems and for rope descent systems. The requirements for 
anchorages for personal fall arrest systems are contained in proposed 
subpart I, Sec.  1910.140. However, no specific requirements for 
anchorages used with rope descent systems are included in this subpart 
D proposal, other than to specify that they be "sound."
    OSHA raised this issue in the 1990 proposal (55 FR 29224, 29227-28, 
July 18, 1990) and again in the 2003 Reopening Notice (68 FR 23534). In 
those documents, OSHA requested comment on whether it should add an 
installation and maintenance provision to subpart D for "all 
structures where it is reasonably foreseeable that employees will need 
anchorage points" to attach rope descent systems and other equipment. 
OSHA raised the issue after the International Window Cleaning 
Association (IWCA) and small window cleaning companies told OSHA that 
quite often there were no anchorage points on rooftops for attaching 
their lines. Since they did not own the building, they had no control 
over the presence or location of anchorage points. They urged OSHA to 
require building owners to install anchorages on rooftops or designate 
existing structural members that would be strong enough to serve as 
anchor points to attach scaffolds, control descent devices, and safety 
lines (Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-0543; Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-1252, pp. 
311, 313, 330-31; Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-1253, pp. 483-84, 503, 543-
44, 565-66, 596-97, 629-30).
    OSHA also noted that the Building Owners and Managers Association 
International (BOMA) objected to requiring building owners to provide
anchor points, stating that window cleaners were generally able to
find supports on which to tie off (Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-1255, p. 1443)
but agreed that new buildings completed two to five years after the
effective date of the final rule should be equipped with anchor points
(Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-1212).
    The ANSI standard for Window Cleaning Safety, ANSI I-14.1-2001 (Ex. 
OSHA-S029-2006-0662-0014), in section 3.9 prescribes criteria for 
anchorages used for rope descent systems and independent life lines, 
specifying, "Building owners and window cleaning contractors shall not 
allow suspended work to be performed unless it has been determined that 
the building has provided, identified and certified anchorages * * *." 
OSHA notes that IWCA and BOMA participated on the ANSI committee that 
developed the national consensus standard addressing safety in window 
cleaning operations. According to the ANSI standard, anchorages must be 
capable of sustaining a 5,000 pound (2268 kg) load, or a minimum 4-to-1 
safety factor, whichever is greater, in any direction that the load may 
be applied, among other requirements. It should be noted that ANSI/IWCA 
I-14.1 contained a recommendation in Appendix A that the requirements 
be implemented within 5 years of its publication on October 25, 2001. 
OSHA requests comment on whether it should include the language of the 
ANSI/IWCA standard in the final rule or should it require some other 
criteria for building anchorages?
    For example, under Sec.  1910.66, Powered platforms for building 
maintenance, OSHA requires building owners to provide an employer with 
a certification of inspection, testing, and maintenance of anchorages 
for powered platforms used in building maintenance. OSHA requests 
comments on whether it should require building owners to provide 
employers with the same information required by Sec.  1910.66.
    OSHA is aware that some window cleaning companies are using the 
powered platform certified anchorages for rope descent systems. If OSHA 
were to adopt the same requirement, those building's owners would have 
no additional obligation to comply with the language under 
consideration.
    OSHA believes that many building owners already meet the Sec.  
1910.66 requirements or the provisions of ANSI/IWCA I-14.1. For 
instance, it is the Agency's understanding that the General Services 
Administration (GSA) updated its policy to require building anchors to 
be installed during construction or extensive remodeling of government 
buildings.

Issue 5--Technological Advances in Fall Protection and Fall 
Arrest

    The Agency is aware of a newer dual-mode operation self-retracting 
lanyard that, in the event of a fall, arrests the fall and then 
automatically lowers the worker at a controlled, slow rate of speed to 
the ground or to the next lower level. These devices show promise, for 
example, in rescuing some workers following a fall. OSHA requests 
comment regarding the current use and effectiveness of these devices, 
appropriate and inappropriate conditions of use, as well as relevant 
costs and benefits.
    In addition, OSHA requests information on other new fall protection 
and fall arrest equipment that is not mentioned in this proposal. 
Please include a detailed explanation of the equipment, sources of 
supply, costs and benefits, applications, and conditions of use.

IV. Summary and Explanation of the Proposed Rule

A. Format of Proposed Changes to Subparts D and I

    OSHA's proposed revisions to subpart D include a reorganization of 
the existing rule to make the rule clearer, necessitating reformatting 
the entire subpart. OSHA's proposed format changes are set forth in the 
following redesignation table:

                           Redesignation Table
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Existing                          Proposed rule
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   1910.21 Definitions.          Sec.   1910.21 Scope, application,
                                      and definitions.
Sec.   1910.22 General               Sec.   1910.22 General
 requirements.                        requirements.
Sec.   1910.23 Guarding floor and    Sec.   1910.23 Ladders.
 wall openings and holes.
Sec.   1910.24 Fixed industrial      Sec.   1910.24 Step bolts and
 stairs.                              manhole steps.
Sec.   1910.25 Portable wood         Sec.   1910.25 Stairways.
 ladders.
Sec.   1910.26 Portable metal        Sec.   1910.26 Dockboards (bridge
 ladders.                             plates).
Sec.   1910.27 Fixed ladders.        Sec.   1910.27 Scaffolds (including
                                      rope descent systems).
Sec.   1910.28 Safety requirements   Sec.   1910.28 Duty to have fall
 for scaffolding.                     protection.
Sec.   1910.29 Manually propelled    Sec.   1910.29 Fall protection
 mobile ladder stands and scaffolds   systems criteria and practices.
 (towers).
Sec.   1910.30 Other working         Sec.   1910.30 Training
 surfaces.                            requirements.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Agency seeks comment regarding this reorganization of subpart 
D, and rationale, to support any suggested modification(s). OSHA's 
proposed revisions to subpart I includes the addition of a new Sec.  
1910.140 and appendices C and D.

B. Proposed Changes to Subpart D

    As mentioned earlier in the Summary statement of this notice, OSHA 
is publishing proposed rules for subpart D, Walking-Working Surfaces 
and subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment for Fall Protection 
concurrently. Proposed subpart D establishes requirements for general 
industry walking-working surfaces and prescribes the use of fall 
protection systems (including personal fall protection systems) to 
protect employees from falls. Proposed subpart I contains performance 
criteria for personal fall protection systems only. OSHA notes that 
wherever subpart D makes specific reference to the requirements in 
subpart I, the reference is to the pertinent provisions in the proposed 
rule of subpart I (which accompanies this proposed rule), and not to 
the existing subpart I requirements, unless specifically stated.
    The following discussion explains the purpose of the proposed rule, 
and explains the differences between the proposed rule and existing 
standards. The rulemaking history is quite lengthy; to date two 
proposals have been issued, one in 1973 and one in 1990. Since the 
earlier proposals, technology has advanced greatly and many of the 
requirements proposed by OSHA in the two earlier rulemakings are no 
longer appropriate. Similarly, OSHA believes that many of the comments 
received on those proposals are no longer relevant. Therefore, OSHA 
will only discuss comments from the 1990 proposal that are pertinent to 
today's proposal. However, all the comments are available for review in 
Docket No. S-041, located in the OSHA Docket Office.
    References in parentheses are to exhibits in the current rulemaking 
record and are available in the OSHA Docket Office under Docket No. 
OSHA-2007-0072. Where references are made to the earlier proposal 
(1990), and the reopening of that record (2003), both the exhibit and 
docket number will be noted.
    Throughout this proposal, where possible, performance-oriented 
language is used. Any employer who experiences difficulty applying 
these performance-oriented standards may consult the applicable 
national consensus standards for additional information.
Section 1910.21 Scope, Application, and Definitions
Paragraph (a) Scope and Application
    Proposed Sec.  1910.21 sets the scope and application for subpart D 
and also lists and defines the major terms used. Existing subpart D 
does not contain a scope and application section for the entire 
subpart, but it does contain several separate "application" 
requirements in various sections of subpart D. For example, each of the 
following existing sections contains "application" statements: the 
introductory text to Sec.  1910.22 General requirements; paragraph (a) 
of Sec.  1910.24 Fixed industrial stairs; paragraph (a) of Sec.  
1910.25 Portable wood ladders; paragraph (e)(3) of Sec.  1910.27, Fixed 
ladders; and paragraph (a)(1) to Sec.  1910.29 Manually propelled 
mobile ladder stands and scaffolds (towers). None of the other sections 
in existing subpart D address the scope or application.
    Proposed paragraph (a) provides to the public a clear understanding 
of the rule and is consistent with the Agency's interpretation and 
enforcement of subpart D since its inception. That is, as a whole, 
existing subpart D applies to all general industry workplaces. However, 
as proposed, there are some sections within subpart D that do not apply 
to certain operations or activities. These exceptions are addressed in 
individual sections of this subpart.
    An exclusion contained in a specific section applies to that 
section only; all other sections in subpart D do apply. For example, if 
an employee is working on a ladder on an entertainment stage, the 
applicable requirements of proposed Sec.  1910.23, Ladders, apply, as 
would Sec.  1910.22, General requirements, even though Sec.  1910.28, 
Duty to have fall protection, does not apply to exposed perimeters of 
entertainment stages.
Paragraph (b) Definitions
    Proposed paragraph (b) of Sec.  1910.21 lists and defines all major 
terms used in the proposed standard. The existing rule defines 125 
terms and, in some cases, the same term is defined differently several 
times due to the context in which it is used. For example, in existing 
Sec.  1910.21(a)(4) the term "platform" is defined as "A working 
space for persons, elevated above the surrounding floor or ground; such 
as a balcony or platform for the operation of machinery and 
equipment." In existing Sec.  1910.21(b)(4), "platform" is defined 
as "an extended step or landing breaking a continuous run of stairs."
    Another example of the same term being defined differently in the 
existing rule is the term "handrail." In existing Sec.  
1910.21(a)(3), the term is defined as "A single bar or pipe supported 
on brackets from a wall or partition, as on a stairway or ramp, to 
furnish persons with a handhold in case of tripping," whereas Sec.  
1910.21(b)(1) and (g)(8) define "handrail" as "a rail connected to a 
ladder stand running parallel to the slope and/or top step."
    Likewise, the term "toeboard" is defined in Sec.  1910.21(a)(9) 
as "a vertical barrier at floor level erected along exposed edges of a 
floor opening, wall opening, platform, runway, or ramp to prevent falls 
of materials," whereas in Sec.  1910.21(g)(16) the term is defined as 
"a barrier at platform level erected along the exposed sides and ends 
of a scaffold platform to prevent falls of materials."
    In today's proposal, all major terms are listed and defined in 
paragraph (b), and the term will have the same meaning in all sections 
of proposed subpart D. Many of the definitions are the same as those in 
the existing standard, although some have been reworded for uniformity 
or clarity.
    OSHA seeks to improve subpart D by making it easier to understand, 
as well as consistent with other Agency rules regulating the same 
topics. To that end, where terms used in subpart D have been defined in 
other general industry, construction, or maritime standards, the Agency 
has, where possible, used the same definition. OSHA believes such 
consistency will lead to a better understanding of the rules, and to 
greater compliance, resulting in increased employee safety. The 
following terms are defined in the proposed rule: alternating tread-
type stair; authorized; cage; carrier; combination ladder; designated 
area; dockboard (bridge plate); equivalent; extension ladder; failure; 
fall hazard; fall protection; fixed ladder; grab bars; guardrail 
system; handrail; hoist area; hole; individual rung ladder; ladder; 
ladder safety system; lower level; manhole steps; maximum intended load 
(designed working load); mobile; mobile ladder stand (ladder stand); 
mobile ladder stand platform; open riser; opening; platform; portable 
ladder; qualified; qualified climber; ramp; riser; rope descent system; 
rung, step, or cleat; runway; safety factor; scaffold; ship stairs 
(ship ladders); side-step ladder; single-point adjustable suspension 
scaffold; spiral stairway; stair rail system; standard stairs; 
stepladder; step-bolt (pole step); stepstool; through ladder; tieback; 
toeboard; tread; unprotected sides and edges; walking-working surface; 
and well.
    Some terms defined in the existing standard are not defined in the 
proposal because they are: (1) not used in the proposal, or (2) do not 
need to be defined because their meaning is clear without further 
explanation. An example of a term that does not need definition is the 
term "working level." This term does not need to be defined because 
it is obvious that the level at which the employee is working is the 
working level.
    Many of the existing terms and definitions pertain to scaffolds. 
Because OSHA is proposing that scaffolds used in general industry 
comply with the construction industry scaffold requirements of subpart 
L of part 1926 (Sec. Sec.  1926.450 through 1926.454), there is no need 
to define scaffold terms in this general industry proposal. For 
example, the term "check" refers to the lengthwise separation of wood 
in scaffold planking. Because subpart D is referring to Sec.  1926 for 
scaffolding requirements, there is no need for this definition in Sec.  
1910.21(b).
    Although many definitions remain unchanged, the following proposed 
terms have been added or revised from the existing definitions:
    Alternating tread-type stair. This term means a series of treads 
usually attached to a center support in an alternating manner so that a 
user of the stair normally does not have both feet on the same level at 
any time whether ascending, descending, or standing. The proposed 
definition is consistent with ANSI A1264.1-1995(R2002), Safety 
Requirements for Workplace Floor and Wall Openings, Stairs and Railing 
Systems.
    Authorized. This term describes an employee who is approved or 
assigned by the employer to perform a specific type of duty or an 
employee who is permitted by the employer to be at a specific location.
    Cage. This term means a barrier mounted on the side rails of a 
fixed ladder or fastened to the structure behind the fixed ladder 
designed to encircle the climbing space of the ladder to safeguard the 
employee while climbing the ladder. A cage may also be called a "cage 
guard" or "basket guard." The proposed definition is essentially the 
same as the definition in existing paragraph (e)(11), but was revised 
for clarity. This proposed definition is also consistent with ANSI 
A14.3-2002, American National Standard for Ladders--Fixed--Safety 
Requirements.
    Combination ladder. This term means a portable ladder that can be 
used as a stepladder, single extension ladder, trestle ladder, or a 
stairwell ladder. Its components may be used as a single ladder. This 
definition is consistent with ANSI A14.1-2000, American National 
Standard for Safety Requirements for Portable Wood Ladders; A14.2-2000, 
American National Standard for Safety Requirements for Portable Metal 
Ladders; and A14.5-2000, American National Standard for Safety 
Requirements for Portable Reinforced Plastic Ladders.
    Designated area. This term means a distinct portion of a walking-
working surface delineated by a perimeter warning line in which 
temporary work may be performed by employees without additional fall 
protection. The concept of a designated area is patterned after 
controlled access zones and warning line systems used in OSHA's 
construction standards at subpart M of part 1926.
    Dockboard (bridge plate). This term means a portable or fixed 
device for spanning the gap or compensating for the difference in level 
between loading platforms and carriers.
    Equivalent. This term means alternate designs, materials, or 
methods that the employer can demonstrate will provide an equal or 
greater degree of safety for employees compared to the design, 
material, or method specified in this subpart. The existing definition 
in paragraph (g)(6) has been revised for consistency with OSHA's 
construction standards at subpart M of part 1926. To be deemed 
"equivalent," the employer would have the burden of demonstrating 
that the alternate designs, materials, or methods will provide an equal 
or greater degree of safety for employees than the design, material, or 
method specified in this subpart.
    Extension ladder. This term means a non-self-supporting portable 
ladder, adjustable in length. This proposed definition is consistent 
with ANSI A14.1-2000, ANSI A14.2-2000, and ANSI A14.5-2000, and removes 
the overly specific measurement criteria and is clearer and more 
concise than the definition in existing paragraphs (c)(4) and (d)(4) of 
Sec.  1910.21.
    Failure. This term means a load refusal, breakage, or separation of 
component parts. Load refusal is the point where the ultimate strength 
is exceeded. This term is consistent with OSHA's construction fall 
protection standard at Sec.  1926.500(b), Definitions.
    Fall hazard. This term means any condition on a walking-working 
surface that exposes an employee to injury from a fall on the same 
level or to a lower level.
    Fall protection. This term means any equipment, device, or system 
that prevents an employee from experiencing a fall from elevation or 
that mitigates the effect of such a fall. Examples of fall protection 
include, but are not limited to, guardrail systems, ladder safety 
systems, and personal fall arrest systems.
    Fixed ladder. This term means a ladder, including an individual 
rung ladder, which is permanently attached to a structure, building, or 
equipment. It does not include ship stairs or manhole steps. This 
definition is essentially the same as existing paragraph (e)(2) of 
Sec.  1910.21, and clarifies that the term includes individual rung 
ladders but not ship stairs or manhole steps. The proposed definition 
is consistent with ANSI A14.3-2002.
    Grab bars. This term means individual handholds placed adjacent to 
or as an extension of ladder side rails for the purpose of providing 
access beyond the limits of a ladder.
    Guardrail system. This term means a barrier erected to prevent 
employees from falling to lower levels. Existing subpart D uses the 
terms "guardrail" and "standard railing." Both terms are defined as 
a barrier to prevent falls to lower levels. OSHA proposes to use one 
term--guardrail system to describe this type of barrier. The proposed 
definition is consistent with both subparts L--Scaffolds, and M--Fall 
Protection of the construction industry standards.
    Handrail. This term means a rail used to provide employees with a 
handhold for support. There are three definitions for the term 
"handrail" in existing subpart D. OSHA proposes to define the term to 
be consistent with Subpart X--Stairways and Ladders of the construction 
industry standards.
    Hoist area. This term means any elevated access opening to a 
walking-working surface where hoisted equipment or materials are loaded 
or received. The existing rule does not use the term "hoist area," 
whereas the proposed rule does.
    Hole. This term means a gap or void 2 inches (5 cm) or more in its 
least dimension, in a floor, roof, or other walking-working surface. 
The existing standard defines holes and openings separately; however, 
the treatment of each is essentially the same. The existing rule 
defines a floor hole as an opening less than 12 inches (30 cm) but more 
than 1 inch (3 cm) in its least dimension through which materials may 
fall, and defines a floor opening as a hole measuring 12 inches (30 cm) 
or more in its least dimension through which persons may fall. To bring 
clarity to the terms and consistency with its fall protection rules in 
construction industry standards, OSHA is proposing to use the term 
"hole" to describe all voids and gaps (holes and openings) in floors, 
roofs, and other walking-working surfaces. Likewise, OSHA is proposing 
to use the term "opening" to describe voids and gaps in vertical 
surfaces such as walls and partitions.
    Individual rung ladder. This term means a ladder consisting of 
rungs individually attached to a structure, building, or piece of 
equipment. It does not include manhole steps. The proposed definition 
has been editorially revised from the existing definition in paragraph 
(e)(3) to clarify its meaning, and to make it clear that manhole steps 
are not considered individual rung ladders.
    Ladder. This term means a device with rungs, steps, or cleats 
typically used to gain access to a different elevation. This proposed 
definition for the term is consistent with the definitions used in the 
ANSI A14 consensus standards that are applicable to various types of 
ladders. Additionally, the proposed language is more concise than the 
existing definitions of the term.
    Ladder safety system. This term means a device, other than a cage 
or well, designed to eliminate or reduce the possibility of falls from 
ladders. A ladder safety system usually consists of a carrier (the 
track of flexible cable or rigid rail), safety sleeve (moving component 
which travels on the carrier), lanyard, connectors, and body belt or 
harness. The term "ladder safety system" is not used or defined in 
existing OSHA standards; however, the synonymous term "ladder safety 
device" is defined in existing construction industry standards for 
fixed ladders at subpart X. The proposed definition is consistent with 
the definition in the national consensus standard applicable
to fixed ladders, ANSI A14.3-2002.
    Lower level. This term means an area to which an employee could 
fall. Such areas include ground levels, floors, roofs, ramps, runways, 
excavations, pits, tanks, materials, water, equipment, and similar 
surfaces. This definition is consistent with that located in the 
construction industry standards in subpart M.
    Manhole steps. This term means steps individually attached or set 
into the walls of a manhole structure.
    Maximum intended load. This term (also referred to as the 
"designed working load") means the total load of all employees, 
equipment, tools, materials, transmitted loads, and other loads 
reasonably anticipated to be applied to a walking-working surface. It 
is based on and consistent with the definition in the construction 
industry standards in subpart M.
    Mobile. This term means manually propelled and/or movable. This is 
a clarification of existing paragraph (g)(12) which simply defines the 
term as "manually propelled." The proposed definition is consistent 
with ANSI A14.7-2006, Safety Requirements for Mobile Ladder Stands and 
Mobile Ladder Stand Platforms, and facilitates the definition of the 
next two terms. OSHA requests comment on whether the term "mobile" is 
so common that defining it in the final rule is unnecessary.
    Mobile ladder stand. This term (also known as "ladder stand") 
means a mobile, fixed-size, self-supporting ladder consisting of wide 
flat treads in the form of steps accessing a top step. The assembly may 
include handrails and is intended for use by one employee. This 
definition is consistent with ANSI A14.7-2006, American National 
Standard for Mobile Ladder Stands and Mobile Ladder Stand Platforms. 
The definition for ladder stand in existing paragraph (g)(9) of Sec.  
1910.21 has been incorporated into the proposed definition of "mobile 
ladder stand."
    Mobile ladder stand platform. This term means a mobile fixed-
height, self-supporting unit having one or more standing levels, 
provided with means of access to or egress from the platform or 
platforms. This definition is consistent with ANSI A14.7-2006, American 
National Standard for Mobile Ladder Stands and Mobile Ladder Stand 
Platforms.
    Opening. This term means a gap or void 30 inches (76 cm) or more 
high and 18 inches (46 cm) or more wide in any wall or partition 
through which employees can fall to a lower level. This definition is 
consistent with ANSI A10.18-1996, Safety Requirements for Temporary 
Floor Holes, Wall Openings, Stairways and Other Unprotected Edges--
American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations, 
and the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.500, and would 
replace existing paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(11) of Sec.  1910.21 that 
defined "floor opening" and "wall opening" (see above discussion 
under "hole"). This is another area where the Agency would harmonize 
construction and general industry regulations to make them more 
understandable, thereby increasing compliance and employee safety.
    Platform. This term means a walking-working surface elevated above 
the surrounding area. This definition is based on and consistent with 
the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.450(b), and would 
replace existing definitions in paragraphs (a)(4) and (b)(4) of Sec.  
1910.21.
    Portable ladder. This term means a ladder that can readily be moved 
or carried and usually consists of side rails joined at intervals by 
steps, rungs, cleats, or rear braces. The definition is identical to 
ANSI A14.1-2000, American National Standard for Safety Requirements for 
Portable Wood Ladders, ANSI A14.2-2000, American National Standard for 
Ladders--Portable Metal--Safety Requirements, and ANSI A14.5-2000, 
American National Standard for Safety Requirements for Portable 
Reinforced Plastic Ladders.
    Qualified. This term describes a person who, by possession of a 
recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by 
extensive knowledge, training, and experience has successfully 
demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the 
subject matter, the work, or the project. This definition is consistent 
with proposed subpart I, the shipyard employment standards, and the 
construction industry standard in Sec.  1926.32.
    Qualified climber. This term means an employee engaged in outdoor 
advertising work who, by virtue of physical capabilities, training, 
work experience and job assignment, is authorized by the employer to 
climb fixed ladders without using fall protection.
    Rope descent system. This term means a suspension device that 
supports one employee in a chair (seat board) and allows the user to 
descend in a controlled manner and to stop at any time at a desired 
level of descent. A rope descent system is a variation of the single-
point adjustable suspension scaffold. It is also known as a controlled 
descent device, controlled descent equipment, or controlled descent 
apparatus. Existing subpart D does not regulate rope decent systems, 
thus there is no existing definition for the term. The proposal, on the 
other hand, contains new requirements for rope decent systems since 
these are widely used in general industry. The proposed definition is 
based on the national consensus standard ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2007, Window 
Cleaning Safety.
    Rung, step, or cleat. This term means, when used on a ladder, a 
cross-piece on which a person may step to ascend or descend. The 
proposed definition combines the existing definitions for rungs, steps, 
and cleats.
    Runway. This term means a passageway for employees, elevated above 
the surrounding floor or ground level, such as a catwalk, a foot walk 
along shafting, or a walkway between buildings. The proposed definition 
is consistent with the existing definition, and has been revised for 
clarity.
    Safety factor. This term means the ratio of the design load and the 
ultimate strength of the material.
    Scaffold. This term means any temporary elevated or suspended 
platform, and its supporting structure, including points of anchorage, 
used to support employees or materials or both. The term "scaffold" 
would not include crane or derrick suspended personnel platforms. This 
term is consistent with Sec.  1926.450(b), and replaces the definitions 
in existing paragraphs (f)(27) and (g)(15) of Sec.  1910.21.
    Ship stairs (ship ladders). This term means a stairway that is 
equipped with treads and stair rails that has a slope between 50 and 70 
degrees from the horizontal and has open risers. Ship stairs are also 
called "ship ladders."
    Spiral stairway. This term means a stairway having a helical 
(spiral) structure attached to a supporting pole.
    Stair rail or stair rail system. This term means a vertical barrier 
(such as rails, decorative panels, and mesh) erected along open sides 
of stairways to prevent employees from falling to lower levels. The top 
surface of a stair rail system may also serve as a handrail. The 
proposed definition would replace existing definitions in paragraphs 
(a)(8), (b)(5), and (e)(5) of Sec.  1910.21.
    Standard stairs. This term means a permanently installed stairway. 
Ship stairs, spiral stairs, and alternating tread-type stairs are not 
standard stairs.
    Stepladder. This term means a self-supporting portable ladder, non-
adjustable in length, with flat steps and a hinged back. The definition 
would replace those found in existing paragraphs (c)(2) and (d)(2) of 
Sec.  1910.21 that also contain specifications for length measurements.
    Step bolt (pole step). This term means a bolt or rung attached at 
intervals along a structural member and used for foot placement during 
climbing or standing. Step bolts are also called "pole steps." This 
definition is consistent with the one found in Sec.  1910.269.
    Stepstool. This term means a self-supporting, foldable, portable 
ladder, nonadjustable in length, 32 inches (81 cm) or less in overall 
size, with flat steps and without a pail shelf, designed so that the 
ladder top cap, as well as all steps, can be climbed on. The side rails 
may continue above the top cap. This definition is consistent with ANSI 
A14.2-2000.
    Through ladder. This term means a type of fixed ladder designed to 
allow a person to get off at the top by stepping through the ladder to 
reach a landing. The existing term found in Sec.  1910.21(e)(15) is 
revised for clarity.
    Tieback. This term means an attachment from an anchorage (e.g., 
structural member) to a supporting device. This definition is 
consistent with ANSI A10.8-2001, American National Standard for 
Construction and Demolition Operations--Safety Requirements for 
Scaffolding.
    Toeboard. This term means a low protective barrier that will 
prevent the fall of materials and equipment to lower levels and provide 
protection from falls for employees. This definition is consistent with 
OSHA's construction industry standards at Sec.  1926.500(b), and is 
consistent with, and would replace, the existing definition in Sec.  
1910.21(a)(9), (f)(31), and (g)(16).
    Unprotected sides and edges. This term means any side or edge of a 
walking-working surface (except at entrances to points of access) where 
there is no wall or guardrail system at least 39 inches (99 cm) high. 
This definition is consistent with Sec.  1926.500(b) and replaces the 
phrase "open-sided floors, platforms, and runways" used in existing 
Sec.  1910.23(c)(1).
    Walking-working surface. This term means any surface, horizontal or 
vertical, on or through which an employee walks, works, or gains access 
to a workplace location. Walking-working surfaces include, but are not 
limited to, floors, stairs, steps, roofs, ladders, ramps, runways, 
aisles, and step bolts.
Section 1910.22 General Requirements
    OSHA proposes to revise the existing requirements contained in 
Sec.  1910.22, and introduce new requirements addressing general 
hazards associated with all walking-working surfaces. The existing 
requirements in Sec.  1910.22 address the scope of subpart D--
housekeeping, aisles and passageways, covers and guardrails, and floor 
loading protection. Where language of the existing standards 
appropriately addresses surface hazards, OSHA proposes to use that 
language with editorial corrections as necessary. The revised 
performance-oriented provisions are designed to eliminate detailed 
specifications and facilitate compliance.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(1) requires that all places of employment, 
passageways, storerooms, and service rooms be kept clean and orderly, 
and in a sanitary condition. Proposed paragraph (a)(2) requires that 
floors of workrooms be maintained in a clean and, so far as possible, 
dry condition. It also requires that, where wet processes are used, 
drainage be maintained, and false floors, platforms, mats, or other dry 
standing places be provided when practicable. OSHA does not expect all 
surfaces to be maintained in a pristine manner; however, surfaces must 
be maintained in a condition that will prevent slips, trips, falls, and 
other hazards. These two provisions are identical to existing Sec.  
1910.22(a)(1) and (a)(2).
    Historically, OSHA interpreted these provisions as applying to 
combustible-dust accumulations associated with fire and explosion 
hazards. Regarding this interpretation, one court stated that "the 
housekeeping standard is not limited to tripping and falling hazards, 
but may be applied to [a] significant accumulation of combustible 
dust." Con Agra, Inc. v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Com'n, 
672 F.2d 699, 702 (8th Cir. 1982), citing Bunge Corp. v. Secretary of 
Labor, 638 F.2d 831, 834 (5th Cir. 1981), which reached the same 
conclusion. (See, also, Farmer's Co-op, 1982 WL 2222661 (O.S.H.R.C.); 
CTA Acoustics (KY 2003), CSB Report No. 2003-09-I-KY (February 2005); 
Hayes Lemmerz Int'l (Indiana 2003), CSB Report No. 2004-01-I-IN 
(September 2005).)
    As these cases show, Sec.  1910.22(a) serves as one of OSHA's most 
important enforcement tools for preventing combustible-dust 
accumulations, and it continues to be an important element of OSHA's 
enforcement strategy for this hazard; see, e.g., "Combustible Dust in 
Industry: Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of Fire and 
Explosion," OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) 07-31-
2005, (2005, July 31), available at http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/
shib073105.html; "Hazard Alert: Combustible Dust Explosions," OSHA 
Fact Sheet (2008, March), available at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/
data_General_Facts/OSHAcombustibledust.pdf; and OSHA Compliance 
Directive CPL-03-00-008, "Combustible Dust National Emphasis 
Program," (March 11, 2008), (replacing CPL 03-00-006, "Combustible 
Dust National Emphasis Program," October 18, 2007) available at 
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=3830.
    The Agency seeks comment on whether it should include an explicit 
reference to combustible dust or other hazardous material in the 
regulatory language of the final rule. This language would merely 
clarify OSHA's long-held interpretation: That Sec.  1910.22(a) is not 
limited to the hazards of slips, trips, and falls, but also addresses 
any hazard that can be created when floors and work areas are not 
maintained in an orderly, clean, dry, and sanitary condition. 
Therefore, OSHA is seeking comment on the following questions: (1) 
Should OSHA reference combustible dust in either paragraph (a)(1) or 
(a)(2), or both; and (2) should OSHA reference other types of dust or 
other materials? Please explain your answers.
    On December 27, 2007, in the notice of proposed rulemaking for 
General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment (FR 72:72451), OSHA 
used the following language in proposed Sec.  1915.81(d):

    The employer shall ensure that the floor or deck of every work 
area shall be maintained, so far as practicable, in a dry condition. 
Where wet processes are used, drainage shall be maintained and the 
employer shall provide false floors, platforms, mats or other dry 
standing places. Where this is not practicable, the employer shall 
provide appropriate waterproof footgear, such as rubber overboots, 
in accordance with Sec. 1915.152.

The Agency requests comment on whether it would be appropriate to use 
similar language in place of that proposed in paragraph 1910.22(a)(2). 
Furthermore, OSHA requests comment on the costs and benefits of this 
alternative.
    In proposed paragraph (a)(3), OSHA requires employers to ensure 
that all surfaces be designed, constructed, and maintained free of 
recognized hazards that can result in death or serious injury to 
employees. This requirement's performance language replaces the more 
specific language in existing paragraph (a)(3) of Sec.  1910.22.
    Proposed paragraph (b) sets requirements for the application of 
loads. Proposed paragraph (b)(1) requires employers to ensure that all 
walking-working surfaces are designed, constructed, and maintained to 
support their maximum intended load. These surfaces include, for example, 
platforms used with fixed ladders, and dockboards. Proposed paragraph 
(b)(2) would prohibit exceeding the maximum intended load. Proposed 
paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) would replace existing paragraphs (d)(1) 
and (d)(2) of Sec.  1910.22, which addressed floor and roof load 
limits. The intent of the proposed provisions is to ensure that 
walking-working surfaces are strong enough to support loads placed on 
them to protect employees from injury. The proposed language imposes 
essentially the same burden as the existing rule, but has been reworded 
for clarity and ease of understanding.
    Additionally, the proposed provisions do not continue the existing 
requirement that employers post plates indicating load limits of the 
building/structure. This information was posted to indicate how much 
weight could safely be loaded onto a walking-working surface. 
Currently, this information is available from building plans, and usage 
and expected loads are taken into consideration when surfaces are 
designed. The proposed requirement puts the burden on the employer to 
ensure walking-working surfaces are strong enough to support any loads 
placed on them. OSHA believes the proposed language provides adequate 
protection to employees without the added burden on employers to gather 
and post information.
    Proposed paragraph (c) requires employers to provide, and ensure 
use of, a safe means of access and egress from one level to another. 
This provision is patterned after a similar provision in the 
construction industry standards. The proposed language clearly 
expresses the Agency's intent--to ensure that employees are provided 
with and use appropriate, suitable means (such as stairways, ladders, 
or ramps) to go from one walking-working surface to another.
    Proposed paragraph (d) is new and addresses the maintenance and 
repair of walking-working surfaces in general industry. Proposed 
paragraph (d)(1) requires the employer to ensure through regular and 
periodic inspection and maintenance that walking-working surfaces are 
in a safe condition for employee use. Proposed paragraph (d)(2) 
requires the employer to ensure that all hazardous conditions are 
corrected, repaired, or guarded to prevent employee use until repairs 
are made. Proposed paragraph (d)(3) requires that where hazardous 
conditions may affect the structural integrity of the walking-working 
surface, a qualified person must perform or supervise the maintenance 
or repair of that surface.
    The intent of proposed paragraph (d) is to ensure that the 
employer, or the employer's designee, monitors walking-working surfaces 
to identify hazards that may lead to injury or death and to address 
those hazards promptly. A qualified person must perform or supervise 
the repair where hazards are of such a nature that the structural 
integrity of the walking-working surface may be affected. While the 
provision does not require the employer to develop an inspection 
schedule, or keep records of inspections, it does require the employer 
to ensure that inspections are conducted frequently enough so that 
hazards are corrected in a timely manner.
    OSHA notes that the existing requirements in Sec.  1910.22(b) and 
(c) are not retained in proposed subpart D because they duplicate 
provisions in Sec.  1910.176, or the hazards are addressed elsewhere in 
the proposed rule, such as in the fall protection section.
Section 1910.23 Ladders
    Proposed Sec.  1910.23 is a revision and consolidation of existing 
ladder requirements in Sec. Sec.  1910.25, 1910.26, and 1910.27, that 
regulate portable wooden, portable metal, and fixed ladders, 
respectively. Many of these requirements are retained in the proposed 
rule as OSHA believes they provide a reasonable and appropriate level 
of safety. Some requirements are revised for reasons of clarity, 
consistency, or to improve safety. Requirements common to all types of 
ladders are located in proposed paragraph (b), General requirements. 
Requirements specific to a particular type of ladder are located in 
proposed paragraphs (c), Portable ladders, or (d), Fixed ladders. 
Proposed paragraph (e) regulates mobile ladder stands and mobile ladder 
stand platforms. The proposed requirements have been updated and 
rewritten to be consistent with OSHA's construction industry ladder 
standard and the national consensus standards, i.e., the ANSI A14 
series for ladders.
    Throughout this proposal, OSHA uses performance language whenever 
appropriate. However, in this section, a number of specifications are 
proposed with regard to clearances and rung widths for ladders. OSHA 
believes the specifications in this section, which are based upon human 
factors engineering (Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-0004), are necessary and 
reflect the requirements of the ANSI A14 series for ladders.
Paragraph (a) Application
    Proposed paragraph (a) states that Sec.  1910.23 covers all ladders 
used in general industry, except ladders that are designed into (an 
integral part of) a machine or piece of equipment and ladders that are 
used only for firefighting or rescue operations. OSHA recognizes that 
it would not be reasonable or practicable to write standards for 
ladders designed into a part of a machine or piece of equipment because 
of variable design restrictions such as limited space and unlimited 
equipment configurations. Therefore, OSHA is exempting such equipment 
from specific ladder requirements. However, OSHA reminds employers that 
any surface on which employees walk or work would still have to meet 
the general requirements of proposed Sec.  1910.22.
    OSHA is also proposing to exempt ladders used in firefighting or 
rescue operations because such ladders are used only in emergency 
situations. The Agency notes that the primary concern expressed in the 
design of some of those ladders, such as single-rail ladders, is for 
fast placement and access. By contrast, this proposed paragraph focuses 
on the need to protect employees who use ladders routinely, in non-
emergency situations. Therefore, given the circumstance in which 
firefighting and rescue operations are conducted, OSHA believes that it 
would be inappropriate to regulate firefighting and rescue ladders 
under proposed Sec.  1910.23. When employees are members of a company 
fire brigade they must be trained as required by Sec.  1910.156 in the 
use of such ladders.
Paragraph (b) General Requirements for All Ladders
    As noted above, OSHA is consolidating some of the existing 
requirements for portable and fixed ladders. Requirements that apply in 
general to all types of ladders are included in paragraph (b), reducing 
redundancy and enhancing consistency of ladder requirements.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(1) requires ladder rungs and steps to be 
parallel, level, and uniformly spaced when the ladder is in position 
for use. The proposed provision is consistent with and based upon 
existing Sec.  1910.25(c)(2)(i)(b) for portable wood stepladders and 
existing Sec.  1910.27(b)(1)(ii) for fixed ladders. The proposed 
language is consistent with the construction industry standard at Sec.  
1926.1053(a)(2).
    Proposed paragraphs (b)(2) and (b)(3) provide spacing requirements 
for rungs, cleats, and steps. Spacing is measured between the center lines of the 
rungs, cleats, and steps.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2) applies to all ladders except ladders in 
elevator shafts and telecommunication towers. Proposed paragraph (b)(2) 
permits flexibility in rung, step, and cleat spacing, as long as the 
rungs are parallel, level, and uniformly spaced, as required in the 
preceding paragraph. The proposed paragraph is a revision of 
requirements in existing Sec.  1910.26(a)(1)(iii) which requires rungs 
to be spaced 12 inches (30 cm) apart, and existing paragraphs Sec.  
1910.25(c)(2)(i)(b) and Sec.  1910.27(b)(1)(ii), which require rungs to 
be spaced not more than 12 inches (30 cm) apart. The proposed 
provision, which permits spacing of not less than 10 nor more than 14 
inches apart, is consistent with the construction industry standard at 
Sec.  1926.1053(a)(3)(i). It will not require any change to ladders 
that are already in compliance with the existing standard.
    An exception to the spacing requirement in proposed paragraph 
(b)(2) of this section provides that rungs and steps on ladders in 
elevator shafts must be spaced no less than 6 inches (15 cm) apart, nor 
more than 16.5 inches (42 cm) apart, as measured along the ladder 
siderails. Another exemption is provided for fixed ladders on 
telecommunication towers which sets rung or step spacing at a maximum 
of 18 inches (46 cm). These exceptions are necessary due to the space 
restrictions in these areas. The latter part of the provision is 
consistent with the existing requirements for rungs and steps in Sec.  
1910.268(h)(2).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(3) requires rungs, cleats, and steps of 
stepstools to be spaced between 8 inches (20 cm) and 12 inches (30 cm) 
apart, as measured between center lines of the rungs, cleats, or steps. 
There is no existing requirement regulating spacing on stepstools. OSHA 
is proposing this requirement because it believes that stepstools are 
routinely used in general industry and they should not be treated as 
portable ladders. This provision is consistent with the construction 
industry standard at Sec.  1926.1053(a)(3)(ii) and is based on the 
national consensus standards ANSI A14.1-2000 and ANSI A14.2-2000. OSHA 
believes that virtually all stepstools currently in use already meet 
the proposed requirements.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(4) requires ladder rungs and steps to have a 
minimum clear width of 11.5 inches (29 cm) for portable ladders and 16 
inches (41 cm) for individual rung and fixed ladders. The proposal 
consolidates existing requirements in Sec.  1910.25(c)(2)(i)(c), Sec.  
1910.26(a)(2)(i), and Sec.  1910.27(b)(1)(iii). The proposed revision 
is consistent with both the construction industry standard at Sec.  
1926.1053(a)(4)(i) and (a)(4)(ii) and the national consensus standards 
in the ANSI A14 series for ladders. A note to proposed paragraph (b)(4) 
explains how to measure the width when a ladder safety system is used 
on a fixed ladder. An exception to the provision is provided in 
(b)(4)(i) for narrow rungs that are not designed to be stepped on, such 
as those on the top end of fruit pickers' ladders.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(4)(ii) provides an exception for manhole 
entry ladders that are supported by manhole openings, and requires that 
they have rungs or steps with a clear width of at least 9 inches (23 
cm). The width would increase the available climbing space for 
employees to pass through the manhole opening.
    A final exception is provided in proposed paragraph (b)(4)(iii), 
which permits rolling ladders used in the telecommunication industry to 
have a minimum clear step or rung width of 8 inches (20 cm). This 
provision has been moved, without change, from Sec.  1910.268(h)(5).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(5) prohibits wooden ladders from being 
coated or covered with any material that may obscure structural 
defects. For the purposes of this paragraph, OSHA does not consider 
manufacturer-applied warning and informational labels to be coverings 
that obscure structural defects. This requirement is consistent with 
the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.1053(a)(12) and 
national consensus standard, ANSI A14.1-2000.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(6) requires that metal ladders be protected 
against corrosion. For example, ladders may be made more corrosion 
resistant by painting or the ladder may be made of a material that is 
inherently corrosion-resistant. The proposed requirement is essentially 
the same as existing requirements in Sec.  1910.26(a)(1) and Sec.  
1910.27(b)(7)(i), which require employers to take some action to 
protect against corrosion.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(7) requires ladder surfaces to be free of 
puncture or laceration hazards. The proposed provision is a 
consolidation of similar requirements found in existing Sec.  
1910.25(b)(1)(i) and (c)(2)(i)(f), Sec.  1910.26(a)(1) and 
(a)(3)(viii), and Sec.  1910.27(b)(1)(iv).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(8) requires that ladders be used only for 
the purposes for which they were designed. This proposed requirement is 
based on requirements applicable to portable wooden ladders in existing 
Sec.  1910.25(d)(2) and portable metal ladders in existing Sec.  
1910.26(c)(3)(vii). The intent of this requirement is to prohibit the 
use of a ladder as a scaffold plank, gangway, material hoist, brace, or 
other application unless it is designed for that application. The 
intent of the proposed paragraph is not to prohibit employees from 
working while on ladders, for example, performing painting activities 
while on a ladder. OSHA believes the requirement is reasonable for all 
ladders, and no additional burden is anticipated.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(9) requires ladders to be inspected before 
use to identify any visible defects that could cause employee injury. 
This requirement is essentially the same as requirements in existing 
Sec.  1910.25(d)(1)(x) for portable wooden ladders and Sec.  1910.27(f) 
for fixed ladders. It is also consistent with requirements in the ANSI 
A14 series national consensus standards for ladders.
    OSHA's intent is that a short visual inspection of the ladder be 
made to ensure that it is properly set up and safe to use. The 
inspection may include such things as checking for firm footing, 
engagement of spreader or locking devices (if so equipped) and missing 
or damaged components of the ladder. OSHA does not expect a ladder to 
be inspected multiple times per work shift, unless there is a reason to 
believe a ladder may have been damaged due to an event such as being 
dropped. After the employee is trained to inspect ladders (see Sec.  
1910.30, Training) the actual inspection process could be accomplished 
as the employee sets up, approaches, or climbs the ladder.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(10) requires ladders with structural or 
other defects to be tagged "Do Not Use" or with similar language, in 
accordance with Sec.  1910.145. It also requires the ladder to be 
removed from service until repaired, in accordance with Sec.  
1910.22(d), or replaced. This proposed paragraph is a consolidation and 
editorial revision of existing requirements in Sec.  1910.25(d)(1), 
Sec.  1910.26(c)(2), and Sec.  1910.27(b).
    Proposed paragraphs (b)(11), (b)(12), and (b)(13), together, enable 
employees to climb ladders safely by using proper climbing techniques 
and prohibiting employers from permitting employees to carry materials 
that would prevent them from having both hands free to hold onto the 
ladder. The proposed paragraphs are consistent with the construction 
industry standards at Sec.  1926.1053(b)(20), (b)(21), and (b)(22),
and generally consistent with the ANSI A14 series consensus standards 
for ladders. OSHA's intent is for employers to ensure that employees 
maintain three points of contact with the ladder when ascending or 
descending. (Please note this requirement only addresses the act of 
moving up or down a ladder, not working from a ladder.)
Paragraph (c) Portable Ladders
    Proposed paragraph (c) sets specific, additional requirements for 
portable ladders. OSHA proposes to: (1) Remove many existing paragraphs 
that contain detailed specifications for the design and construction of 
portable ladders, and (2) no longer address special-purpose ladders, 
such as painter's stepladders and mason's ladders, in individual 
paragraphs. In this rulemaking, OSHA uses performance-oriented 
language, where possible.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(1) requires that rungs and steps of portable 
metal ladders be corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-
resistant material, or otherwise treated to minimize the possibility of 
slipping. This provision is nearly identical to existing Sec.  1910.26 
(a)(1)(v), and has been editorially changed for clarity.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(2) requires that each stepladder or any 
combination ladder that is used in a stepladder mode be designed with a 
metal spreader or locking device to hold the front and back sections 
securely in an open position while in use. This requirement has been 
changed for clarity and is consistent with existing requirements in 
Sec.  1910.25(c)(2)(i)(f) and Sec.  1910.26(a)(3)(viii).
    Proposed paragraph (c)(3) prohibits loading ladders beyond the 
maximum intended load for which they were designed and tested, or 
beyond the manufacturer's rated capacity. The maximum intended load, as 
defined in proposed paragraph Sec.  1910.21(b), includes the weight of 
the worker and all tools and supplies carried. Manufactured ladders are 
designed, tested, and in most cases, load-rated and labeled.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(4) requires that ladders be used only on 
stable and level surfaces unless the ladders are secured or stabilized 
to prevent accidental displacement. The proposed paragraph replaces 
similar language in existing Sec.  1910.25(d)(2)(iii) and Sec.  
1910.26(c)(3)(iii) and is consistent with the construction industry 
standard at Sec.  1926.1053(b)(6) and ANSI A14.1-2000.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(5) prohibits the use of portable single-rail 
ladders. The provision is consistent with the construction industry 
ladder standard at Sec.  1926.1053(b)(19). In the preamble to the final 
rule of that standard (55 FR 47681, November 14, 1990), OSHA said it 
was prohibiting their use because it believed "that single-rail 
ladders are inherently difficult to use and hazardous because of their 
instability * * *." OSHA believes that single rail ladders are also 
unsafe in general industry.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(6) is new and requires that ladders not be 
moved, shifted, or extended while occupied by an employee. Moving a 
ladder while it is occupied is unsafe, whether an employee on a ladder 
"hops" with the ladder in a lateral direction, or a ladder is 
extended or moved laterally by one employee while occupied by another. 
This is identical to the construction industry requirement at Sec.  
1926.1053(b)(11).
    Proposed paragraph (c)(7) requires that ladders placed in any 
location where they can be displaced by other activities or by traffic, 
such as ladders used in passageways, doorways, or driveways, be secured 
to prevent accidental displacement unless a temporary barricade, such 
as a row of traffic cones, is used to keep the activities or traffic 
away from the ladder. The proposed paragraph is clearer than existing 
Sec.  1910.25(d)(2)(iv) and identical to the existing construction 
industry requirement at Sec.  1926.1053(b)(8).
    Proposed paragraph (c)(8) is an editorial revision of existing 
Sec.  1910.25(d)(2)(xii) which prohibits the top of a stepladder from 
being used as a step because it may decrease stability.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(9) prohibits the use of a non-self-
supporting ladder on slippery surfaces unless it is secured and 
stabilized to prevent accidental displacement. This paragraph is 
consistent with existing requirements in Sec.  1910.25(d)(2)(i) and the 
construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.1053(b)(7). It is based 
upon ANSI A14.1-2000.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(10) requires the top of a non-self-
supporting ladder be placed with the two rails supported unless it is 
equipped with a single support attachment. Such an attachment is 
designed to provide greater stability. This is consistent with the 
existing requirement in Sec.  1910.26(c)(3)(iv) and the construction 
industry standard at Sec.  1926.1053(b)(10).
    Proposed paragraph (c)(11) requires that when portable ladders are 
used to gain access to an upper landing surface, the ladder side rails 
must extend at least 3 feet (0.9 m) above that upper landing surface. 
This additional length enables an employee to hold onto the ladder 
while stepping from the ladder onto the upper landing surface, 
providing safer access. The proposed paragraph is consistent with the 
existing requirement in Sec.  1910.25(d)(2)(xv) and ANSI A14.1-2000. 
OSHA notes that after-market ladder extensions, such as walk-through 
railing systems, may be used to increase the length of a ladder to meet 
this requirement. When the ladder's top rung is level with or slightly 
below the upper landing surface, and the rail extensions are securely 
attached (that is, secured to the extent necessary to stabilize the 
extension and not expose the employee to a falling hazard from the 
extension's displacement), the rail extensions would be considered part 
of the ladder itself. The use of ladder extensions would also have to 
meet the requirements of proposed (c)(14) of this section which states 
that ladders shall not have their reach increased by other means unless 
specifically designed for the application.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(12) requires that when work is performed on 
or near electrical circuits, the work practice requirements of subpart 
S, Electrical, apply to protect against electrical hazards. The 
proposed requirement is essentially the same as existing Sec.  
1910.26(c)(3)(viii).
    Proposed paragraph (c)(13) prohibits ladders and ladder sections 
from being tied or fastened together to provide a longer length unless 
they are specifically designed for such use. The proposed provision is 
essentially the same as existing Sec.  1910.26(c)(3)(vi), and is 
intended to prevent employees from using unsafe rigging methods.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(14) prohibits ladders and ladder sections 
from having their reach increased by other means (for example, placing 
a box under a ladder), unless the length extension is specifically 
designed for the application. This proposed requirement replaces 
existing Sec.  1910.25(d)(2)(v), which explicitly lists boxes and 
barrels, with more general language. This proposed paragraph is 
consistent with the ANSI A14 series consensus standards.
Paragraph (d) Fixed Ladders
    In paragraph (d), OSHA proposes to revise existing Sec.  1910.27 to 
eliminate unnecessary, overly specific requirements and to clarify and 
update others. To assist in compliance, OSHA has included figures D-2 
through D-5 in the regulatory language.
    In paragraph (d)(1), OSHA proposes that fixed ladders be capable of 
supporting their maximum intended load. This provision replaces the 
current specification requirement with a more general performance requirement.
The Agency requests comment on whetherthe existing provisions should 
be maintained in lieu of the proposed requirement.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(2) would apply to new installations, 
requiring that fixed ladders installed on or after the effective date 
of the final rule be designed, constructed, and maintained as proposed 
in (d)(2)(i) and (ii).
    Proposed paragraph (d)(2)(i) requires that fixed ladders be capable 
of supporting at least two live loads of at least 250 pounds (113 kg) 
each, concentrated between any two consecutive attachments, as well as 
anticipated loads caused by ice buildup, winds, rigging, and impact 
loads (e.g., impact load resulting from an employee falling onto the 
ladder). If it is anticipated that the ladder will be used by more than 
two employees simultaneously, then the number and position of 
additional concentrated live loads of 250 pounds (113 kg) must also be 
included in determining the capabilities of fixed ladders. Proposed 
paragraph (d)(2)(ii) requires that each step or rung be capable of 
supporting at least a single concentrated load of 250 pounds (113 kg) 
applied in the middle of the step or rung.
    OSHA proposes the two provisions in (d)(2)(i) and (d)(2)(ii) as a 
replacement for existing requirements in Sec.  1910.27(a)(1)(i) to 
(iv). Existing Sec.  1910.27(a)(1)(i) requires the ladder to support 
only a single concentrated load of 200 pounds, whereas the proposal 
requires the ladder to support greater loads. The proposal is 
consistent with the national consensus standard, ANSI A14.3-2002, and 
OSHA's construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.1053(a)(1)(iii). 
The Agency notes that the ANSI requirement, which is based on loads of 
250 pounds (113 kg), reflects OSHA's belief that 250 pounds (113 kg) is 
the average weight of an employee with tools.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(3) requires that the minimum perpendicular 
distance from the centerline of the steps and rungs, or grab bars, or 
both, to the nearest permanent object in back of the ladder be 7 inches 
(18 cm), except in the case of an elevator pit ladder, for which a 
minimum perpendicular clearance of 4.5 inches (11 cm) is required. In 
addition, the employer must ensure that grab bars do not protrude on 
the climbing side beyond the rungs of the ladder which they serve. The 
proposed requirement is a revision of existing Sec.  1910.27(c)(4) and 
(c)(5) in which OSHA has removed the language that allows for a 
reduction of the minimum clearance to account for unavoidable 
obstructions. As OSHA stated in the final rule to the construction 
industry standard, "[it] believes that, in general, the minimum 
clearance requirement is necessary, regardless of any obstructions, so 
that employees can get safe footholds on ladders." (55 FR 47675.) This 
change is consistent with the most recent edition of the pertinent 
provisions of the national consensus standard, ANSI A14.3-2002, as well 
as the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.1053(a)(13).
    Proposed paragraphs (d)(4) through (d)(8) address ladder extensions 
and grab bars. To provide safe transition from a fixed ladder to a 
landing surface, fixed ladders (except those at the top of manholes) 
must extend above the access or egress level or landing platform either 
by the continuation of the rungs for use as horizontal grab bars or by 
providing vertical grab bars. Proposed paragraph (d)(4) requires side 
rails of through or side-step ladders to extend 42 inches (1.1 m) above 
the top of the access level or landing platform served by the ladder. 
For a parapet ladder, the access level must be the roof if the parapet 
is cut to permit passage through the parapet; if the parapet is 
continuous, the access level must be the top of the parapet.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(5) requires the steps or rungs of through 
ladder extensions to be omitted from the extensions. In addition, the 
extensions of the side rails must be flared to provide not less than 24 
inches (61 cm) nor more than 30 inches (76 cm) clearance between side 
rails. Where ladder safety systems are provided, the maximum clearance 
between side rails of the extensions must not exceed 36 inches (91 cm). 
Proposed paragraph (d)(6) requires the side rails and the steps or 
rungs of side-step ladders to be continuous in the extension.
    The proposed requirements in (d)(4), (d)(5), and (d)(6) are a 
revision and update of the existing requirement at Sec.  1910.27(d)(3). 
The proposed provisions are consistent with OSHA's construction 
industry standard at Sec. Sec.  1926.1053(a)(24) through (a)(26) and 
with the national consensus standard, ANSI A14.3-2002.
    Proposed paragraphs (d)(7) and (d)(8) specify criteria for grab 
bars. The proposed requirements are consistent with existing Sec.  
1910.27(d)(4), but are editorially revised for clarity.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(9) addresses ladders that terminate at hatch 
covers. The proposed provision requires that the opening be large 
enough for the employee to pass and that it be counterbalanced to 
remain open, thus preventing accidental closure. The proposed 
requirement replaces the overly specific provision of existing Sec.  
1910.27(c)(7) and is consistent with similar provisions in the national 
consensus standard, ANSI A14.3-2002.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(10) requires fixed individual rung ladders 
to be constructed to prevent the employee's feet from sliding off the 
end. This requirement replaces existing Sec.  1910.27(b)(1)(v) and is 
consistent with the construction industry standard at Sec.  
1926.1053(a)(5).
    Proposed paragraph (d)(11) prohibits the use of fixed ladders 
having a pitch greater than 90 degrees from the horizontal. The 
proposed provision is a revision of the existing requirements in Sec.  
1910.27(d)(1) through (d)(4). The existing requirements are overly 
specific and complex, whereas the proposed provisions are easier to 
understand.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(12) addresses the step-across distance from 
the centerline of the steps or rungs of a fixed ladder. Proposed 
paragraph (d)(12)(i) requires that the step-across distance for through 
ladders be between 7 inches (18 cm) and 12 inches (30 cm) to the 
nearest edge of the structure, building, or equipment accessed. 
Proposed paragraph (d)(12)(ii) requires that the step-across distance 
be between 15 inches (38 cm) and 20 inches (51 cm), measured from the 
centerline of the ladder, at the point of access and egress to a 
platform edge for side-step ladders. (See Figure D-2.) The proposed 
provisions are based on existing Sec.  1910.27(c)(6), which address the 
step-across distances for all fixed ladders. In the proposal, OSHA 
addresses step-across distances for through ladders and side-step 
ladders separately. OSHA believes the revised language allows greater 
flexibility and provides the same degree of safety. It is also 
consistent with the construction industry standard at Sec.  
1926.1053(a)(16) and the national consensus standard for fixed ladders, 
ANSI A14.3-2002.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(13) addresses fixed ladders without cages or 
wells. Proposed paragraph (d)(13)(i) requires ladders without cages or 
wells to have a clear width of at least 15 inches (38 cm) on each side 
of the centerline of the ladder to the nearest permanent object to 
allow safe climbing clearance (see Figure D-2). This proposed provision 
revises existing Sec.  1910.27(c)(2) for clarity. It is also consistent 
with the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.1053(a)(17) and 
the national consensus standard for fixed ladders, ANSI 14.3-2002.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(13)(ii) requires a minimum perpendicular 
distance of 30 inches (76 cm) from the center line of the steps and rungs 
to the nearest object on the climbing side to allow safe climbing clearance.
This proposed provision would replace a number of specifications
found at existing Sec.1910.27(c)(1) for clearance distances based 
on the pitch of the ladder. 
The proposed language removes the overly detailed information and 
establishes a single, minimum clearance distance regardless of pitch. 
This proposed provision is consistent with the construction industry 
standard at Sec.  1926.1053(a)(14) and the national consensus standard 
for fixed ladders, ANSI A14.3-2002. An exception is permitted when 
unavoidable obstructions on the climbing side of a fixed ladder are 
encountered. The minimum clearance then may be reduced to 24 inches (61 
cm), as long as deflector plates are provided to protect the employee's 
head. A similar exception may be found in existing Sec.  1910.27(c)(7) 
and its accompanying Figure D-5. This proposed paragraph is consistent 
with the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.1053(a)(15) and 
national consensus standard, ANSI A14.3-2002.
    Paragraph (d) ends with a note stating that the duty to provide 
fall protection for employees working on fixed ladders is found at 
proposed Sec.  1910.28 and the criteria for such fall protection 
systems is found at proposed Sec.  1910.29.
Paragraph (e) Mobile Ladder Stands and Mobile Ladder Stand Platforms 
(Mobile Ladder Stands and Platforms)
    Proposed paragraph (e) covers mobile ladder stands and mobile 
ladder stand platforms (mobile ladder stands and platforms). The 
proposed design requirements are a performance language revision of the 
design specifications provided in existing paragraphs (a) and (f) of 
Sec.  1910.29. All of the requirements proposed in this paragraph are 
consistent with the consensus standard, ANSI A14.7-2006.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(1) addresses general design requirements for 
mobile ladder stands and platforms. Proposed paragraph (e)(1)(i) 
requires mobile ladder stands and platforms to have a step width of at 
least 16 inches (41 cm). Proposed paragraph (e)(1)(ii) requires steps, 
standing levels, and platforms of mobile ladder stands and platforms be 
provided with a slip-resistant surface. This surface may be an integral 
part of the structure or may be provided by a durable, secondary 
process or operation, e.g., dimpling, knurling, shot-blasting, coating, 
metal spraying, or slip-resistant tape. These requirements provide 
employees with a reasonable level of safe footing.
    The next two proposed paragraphs are important to the stability of 
the unit and the balance of the employee using it. Proposed paragraph 
(e)(1)(iii) requires that wheels or casters, when under load, be 
designed to support their proportional share of four times the rated 
load, plus the proportional share of the unit's weight. This 
requirement is consistent with the existing provision at Sec.  
1910.29(a)(4).
    Proposed paragraph (e)(1)(iv) requires mobile ladder stands and 
platforms, which use wheels or casters, to be equipped with a system to 
impede horizontal movement. This proposed provision is written in 
performance language, replacing the existing specification requirements 
in Sec.  1910.29(a)(4).
    Proposed paragraph (e)(1)(v) requires that the maximum work surface 
heights of mobile ladder stands and platforms not exceed four times the 
least base dimension without additional support. When greater heights 
are needed to prevent toppling, outriggers, counterweights, or 
comparable means must be used to maintain this minimum base ratio. The 
proposed paragraph would replace similar existing requirements in Sec.  
1910.29(a)(3)(i) and (f)(2).
    Proposed paragraph (e)(1)(vi) requires mobile ladder stands and 
platforms to be capable of supporting at least four times their 
intended load. This proposed paragraph replaces a similar requirement 
in existing Sec.  1910.29(f)(5), which requires a safety factor of 
four.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(1)(vii) prohibits moving mobile ladder 
stands and platforms when occupied. This new requirement is based on 
the national consensus standard ANSI A14.7-2006, and is intended to 
prevent employees from falling from a mobile ladder stand or platform 
when it is being moved. When the additional weight of an employee is 
added to the top of a unit, the center of gravity is raised and the 
unit is less stable than when there is no weight on it. Also, an 
employee may lose his or her balance when a unit moves suddenly, or 
when simply riding on a unit.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(2) addresses design requirements for mobile 
ladder stands. Proposed paragraph (e)(2)(i) requires that steps be 
uniformly spaced and arranged with a rise of not more than 10 inches 
(25 cm), and a depth of not less than 7 inches (18 cm). The slope of 
the step stringer (inclined side step support) to which the steps are 
attached must not be more than 60 degrees measured from the horizontal. 
This proposed paragraph is essentially the same as existing Sec.  
1910.29(f)(3) except that the existing provision requires the slope of 
the steps section to be a minimum of 55 degrees, and a maximum of 60 
degrees, measured from the horizontal.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(2)(ii) requires all ladder stands with a top 
step height between 4 and 10 feet (1.2 m and 3 m) to be provided with 
handrails having a vertical height of 29.5 inches (75 cm) to 37 inches 
(94 cm) as measured from the front edge of a step. The use of removable 
gates or non-rigid members, such as chains, is permitted for special 
use applications. This proposed requirement is essentially the same as 
the existing provision at Sec.  1910.29(f)(4)(ii), except that the 
existing requirement does not set a maximum height.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(2)(iii) requires all ladder stands with a 
top step over 10 feet high (3 m) to have the top step protected on 
three sides by a handrail that has a vertical height of at least 36 
inches (91 cm). The use of removable gates or non-rigid members such as 
chains is permitted for special use applications. Top steps that are 20 
inches (51 cm) or more, front to back, must be provided with a midrail 
and toeboard.
    Proposed paragraphs (e)(2)(ii) and (e)(2)(iii) replace existing 
paragraph Sec.  1910.29(f)(4)(i), which requires units to be equipped 
with handrails when they have more than five (5) steps or measure 5 
feet (1.5 m) in vertical height to the top step. This provision ensures 
employees have a handhold to prevent falling while they climb.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(2)(iv) is new and requires the standing 
areas of mobile ladder stands to be within the base frame. This 
requirement enhances the stability of the unit by keeping the center of 
gravity within the base frame, thus reducing the chance of tipping.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(3) addresses design requirements for mobile 
ladder stand platforms. Proposed paragraph (e)(3)(i) requires steps on 
a ladder stand platform to conform to paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this 
section. An exception to this requirement is provided when the employer 
demonstrates that conforming to paragraph (e)(2)(i) is not practicable. 
Steeper slopes or vertical ladders may be used, provided the unit is 
stabilized to prevent its overturning. OSHA realizes that in a few 
applications the steps to a mobile ladder stand platform may have to be 
greater than the required 60 degree maximum prescribed in proposed 
paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this paragraph. OSHA does not seek to prohibit 
the use of such units; however, this exception acknowledges that need 
and still provides for employee safety.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(3)(ii) requires all mobile ladder stand 
platforms with a platform height between 4 feet and 10 feet (1.2 m and 
3 m) to be provided with handrails having a vertical height of 29.5 
inches (75 cm) to 37 inches (94 cm) measured from the front edge of a 
step. Handrails in the platform area are required to have a vertical 
height of at least 36 inches (91 cm) and include a midrail to protect 
employees from the fall hazard. This requirement is a clarification of 
the general provision found in proposed Sec.  1910.29(b)(1). The use of 
removable gates or non-rigid members, such as chains, is permitted for 
special-use applications. This proposed requirement is essentially the 
same as the existing provision at Sec.  1910.29(f)(4)(ii), except the 
existing requirement does not set a maximum height. OSHA is proposing a 
maximum height in accordance with anthropomorphic studies (Ex. OSHA-
S041-2006-0666-0004).
    Proposed paragraph (e)(3)(iii) requires all mobile ladder stand 
platforms with a platform height of over 10 feet (3 m) to have 
guardrails and toeboards provided on the exposed sides and ends of the 
platform. The use of removable gates or non-rigid members, such as 
chains, would be permitted for special-use applications. Toeboards 
prevent objects from falling onto employees who may be below the unit. 
The requirements in proposed paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(3) are based on 
ANSI A14.7-2006, American National Standard for Mobile Ladder Stands 
and Mobile Ladder Stand Platforms.
Section 1910.24 Step Bolts and Manhole Steps
    Proposed Sec.  1910.24 establishes requirements for step bolts and 
manhole steps. Step bolts and manhole steps are used in the 
telecommunications industry, gas and electric utility industries, and 
some large manufacturing plants, usually in lieu of conventional 
ladders (e.g., fixed ladders). While the Agency has a number of 
requirements addressing ladders, those requirements are not 
consistently or directly applicable to step bolts and manhole steps. 
For this reason OSHA is proposing requirements that address the design, 
capacity, and strength of step bolts and manhole steps. OSHA believes 
that these requirements provide for the safe use of this equipment. The 
provisions include the general requirements in existing Sec.  
1910.268(h) for pole steps and manhole ladders. Pole steps (normally 
used on wooden utility poles) and step bolts (normally used on metal 
poles or towers) are covered jointly under the proposed provisions for 
step bolts, and are based upon provisions in Sec.  1910.268, 
Telecommunications, and the national consensus standards, American 
Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) C 478-07, Standard 
Specification for Precast Reinforced Concrete Manhole Sections, and 
ANSI/TIA/EIA 222G-1996 and 2006, Structural Standard for Antenna 
Supporting Structures and Antennas.
    OSHA recognizes that many workplaces already have step bolts or 
manhole steps installed, and that it could be unreasonably disruptive 
and burdensome to require employers to retrofit those bolts and steps 
to comply with certain provisions of the proposed standard. Therefore, 
OSHA is proposing certain design changes to step bolts and manhole 
steps on new installations performed 90 days after the standard's 
effective date. These proposed provisions are described individually 
below.
    As part of this proposal, OSHA is removing the requirements in 
Sec.  1910.268(h), and instead requiring that the telecommunications 
industry comply with the provisions for ladders, step bolts, and 
manhole steps in subpart D. Additionally, as per Sec.  1910.269 
(Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution), ladders, 
step bolts, and manhole steps used in the electric power industry must 
meet the requirements of subpart D. Therefore, OSHA is proposing Sec.  
1910.24 as the minimum requirements necessary to ensure the safety of 
employees climbing and descending step bolts and manhole steps. These 
provisions are essentially the same as those in the 1990 proposed rule 
(55 FR 13360).
    The rules in proposed Sec.  1910.24 are performance-based where 
possible. For example, proposed paragraph Sec.  1910.24(a)(6) sets 
performance-based strength requirements that do not specify the types 
or sizes of materials that must be used. Where dimensions are 
specified, such as in paragraphs (b)(2)(iii) and (b)(2)(iv), they are 
based on anthropometrics, existing Sec.  1910.268, and current industry 
practices and standards, such as the national consensus standard, ASTM 
C 478-07.
Paragraph (a) Step Bolts
    Proposed paragraph (a) addresses the design, capacity, and use of 
step bolts. Proposed paragraph (a)(1) requires that all step bolts 
installed on or after the effective date of the final rule that are 
used in corrosive environments be constructed of, or coated with, a 
material that will retard corrosion of the step or bolt. This is 
important to protect against deterioration, and the resultant weakening 
of the step bolt.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(2) requires step bolts to be designed to 
prevent the employee's foot from slipping or sliding off the end of the 
step bolt, which could contribute to a fall.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(3) requires step bolts to be spaced 
uniformly, 12 inches (30 cm) minimum center to center, alternately 
spaced, and an 18 inches (46 cm) maximum spacing. To assist in 
compliance, OSHA has included figure D-6 in the proposed regulatory 
text. The proposed paragraph matches existing Sec.  1910.268(h)(2) and 
the 1996 version of ANSI/EIA/TIA 222, both of which allow step bolts to 
be spaced as much as 18 inches (46 cm) apart, 36 inches (91 cm) on any 
one side. An exception to this requirement permits the spacing from the 
entry and exit surface to the first step bolt to be different from the 
spacing between the other step bolts. This exception allows the height 
of the entry or exit surface to be modified without necessitating the 
reinstallation of all the step bolts.
    OSHA notes that the 2006 version of ANSI/EIA/TIA 222 specifies that 
the center to center spacing between alternately spaced step bolts be 
10 inches (25 cm) minimum and 16 inches (41 cm) maximum as opposed to 
the 12- and 18-inch (30 and 46 cm) requirements of the proposal. The 
Agency requests comment on whether to adopt the language of the 2006 
ANSI/EIA/TIA standard.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(4) requires that the minimum clear width of 
each step bolt be 4.5 inches (11 cm). Proposed paragraph (a)(5) 
requires the minimum perpendicular distance between the centerline of 
the step bolt to the nearest permanent object in back of the bolt to be 
at least 7 inches (18 cm). Where obstructions cannot be avoided, toe 
clearances may be reduced to 4.5 inches (11 cm). Both of these 
provisions ensure there is adequate room both on and behind the step 
bolt to enable the employee to stand securely.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(6) requires step bolts installed before the 
effective date of the final rule to be capable of supporting their 
maximum intended load. All walking-working surfaces must be capable of 
supporting employees and equipment, without failure. The proposed 
language of (a)(6) "grandfathers," or allows the continued use of, 
existing step bolts that are capable of supporting their maximum 
intended load.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(7) requires each step bolt installed on or 
after the effective date of the final rule to be capable of supporting, 
without failure, at least four times its maximum intended load.
OSHA believes that this requirement is necessary to 
provide a safety factor to ensure that step bolts do not fail during 
use. Common engineering practice demands that a safety factor be 
provided in any product design to account for any unanticipated factors 
that may stress the product beyond its designed capabilities. OSHA's 
understanding is that a \5/8\-inch (1.6-cm) diameter steel step bolt is 
normally expected to meet this requirement, and step bolts of this size 
are currently used in the industry.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(8) requires step bolts to be visually 
inspected before each use and to be maintained in accordance with 
proposed Sec.  1910.22. This provision reinforces the necessity to meet 
the general requirements of all walking-working surfaces. As with the 
requirements in proposed Sec.  1910.22, this visual inspection is not 
intended to be burdensome, and can be performed as the employee climbs 
the unit.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(9) requires step bolts that are bent more 
than 15 degrees from the perpendicular to be removed and replaced with 
bolts that meet the requirements of this section. The proposed 
requirement is intended to apply to displacement in any direction the 
bolt may be bent. The intent of this provision is to replace bolts that 
are bent to such a degree that an employee's foot may slip or slide off 
the end of the step bolt, which may cause an employee to fall.
Paragraph (b) Manhole Steps
    Proposed paragraph (b) addresses the design, capacity, and use of 
manhole steps. Proposed paragraph (b)(1) requires manhole steps 
installed before the effective date of the final rule to be capable of 
supporting their maximum intended load. The proposed language 
"grandfathers," or allows the continued use of, existing manhole 
steps. Under proposed Sec.  1910.22(b), employers would be obligated to 
ensure that all walking-working surfaces are designed, constructed, and 
maintained to support their maximum intended load. This provision is 
consistent with the requirements in existing Sec.  1910.268(h) that 
address steps in manholes used in the telecommunications industry.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2) sets requirements for the design of 
manhole steps. The requirements apply to manhole steps installed on or 
after the effective date of the final rule. Proposed paragraph 
(b)(2)(i) requires that all manhole steps be provided with slip-
resistant surfaces such as corrugated, knurled, or dimpled surfaces.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(ii) requires all manhole steps that are 
used in corrosive environments to be constructed of, or coated with, a 
material that will retard corrosion of the step. This corrosion 
resistance will help prevent deterioration that can lead to failure of 
the manhole step, which may cause the employee to fall.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(iii) requires that manhole steps have a 
minimum clear step width of 10 inches (25 cm). Proposed paragraph 
(b)(2)(iv) requires that steps be spaced uniformly, not more than 16 
inches (41 cm) apart. As in proposed paragraph (a)(3) above, an 
exception to this requirement permits the spacing from the entry and 
exit surface to the first manhole step to be different from the spacing 
between the other steps. This exception allows for the height of the 
entry or exit surface to be modified without necessitating the 
reinstallation of the entire set of manhole steps.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(v) would require manhole steps to have a 
minimum perpendicular distance between the centerline of the manhole 
step to the nearest permanent object in back of the step of at least 
4.5 inches (11 cm). Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(vi) requires the steps be 
designed to prevent the employee's foot from slipping or sliding off 
the end of the manhole step, which may result in a fall.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(3) requires manhole steps to be visually 
inspected before each use and maintained in accordance with proposed 
Sec.  1910.22. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that no 
manhole steps are damaged or missing. This proposed paragraph is 
essentially a restatement of the requirements in proposed Sec.  1910.22 
for inspecting and maintaining walking-working surfaces. The visual 
inspection is expected to take only a few seconds before use of each 
step.
Section 1910.25 Stairways
    Proposed Sec.  1910.25 provides stairway design and installation 
criteria. This proposed section combines, clarifies, and updates 
existing requirements, and adds new provisions for stairs and 
stairways. The majority of the requirements for this section are 
derived from existing Sec.  1910.24, Fixed industrial stairs, and are 
consistent with American National Standard Institute (ANSI) A1264.1-
2007, Safety Requirements for Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces and 
Their Access; Workplace, Floor, Wall and Roof Openings; Stairs and 
Guardrail Systems, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101-
2006, Life Safety Code, and the International Code Council's (ICC's) 
International Building Code ICC-2003.
    On March 28, 2002, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
published a request for comment regarding the "Draft Report to 
Congress on the Costs and Benefits of Federal Regulations" (67 FR 
15014), specifically requesting nominations of rules and regulations in 
need of reform. In response to this request, the Copper and Brass 
Fabricators Council (CBFC) (Ex. 3) identified OSHA's subpart D as in 
need of revision to permit use of ship and spiral stairs. Specifically, 
CBFC requested that OSHA revise its existing rule in Sec.  1910.24(b), 
which requires fixed stairs (referred to as standard stairs in this 
proposal) and prohibits spiral stairs except for special limited use 
and secondary access situations where it is not practical to provide a 
conventional stairway. CBFC suggested that OSHA revise this standard to 
permit the installation and use of ship stairs and spiral stairs in 
more circumstances. In the earlier rulemaking (1990), OSHA had proposed 
to allow more flexibility in the use of these stairs. In this proposed 
rule, OSHA would permit the installation of spiral, ship, and 
alternating tread-type stairs for limited secondary use where it is not 
practical to provide a standard stairway and provides design criteria 
for them. Provisions to prevent employees from falling from unprotected 
sides or edges of stairway landings are provided in proposed Sec.  
1910.28, Duty to have fall protection.
Paragraph (a) General Requirements
    Proposed paragraph (a) contains general requirements applicable to 
all stairways. In this proposed rule, the Agency is using the term 
"standard stairs" in place of the term "fixed industrial stairs" 
which is used in the existing standard. OSHA has used the term "fixed 
industrial stair" since 1971 because the term was used in the national 
consensus standard ANSI A64.1-1968 (now ANSI A1264.1-2007) that 
prescribed requirements for them. OSHA believes the term "standard 
stairs" is clearer and easier to understand and therefore is proposing 
to use the new term. The Agency is proposing to define the term 
"standard stairs" to mean a permanently installed stairway and to 
make it clear that ship stairs, spiral stairs, and alternating tread-
type stairs are not standard stairs.
    OSHA's proposed change in terminology is consistent with current 
industry codes and standards that use the terms "standard stairs," 
"stairways," and "fixed stairs" interchangeably. The Life Safety 
Code (NFPA 101-2006)
includes requirements for "standard stairs" that are similar to 
OSHA's requirements for "fixed industrial stairs," but does not 
define "standard stairs." The International Building Code (IBC-2003) 
defines "stairways," but not "fixed" or "standard stairs," and 
also includes requirements similar to OSHA's for "fixed industrial 
stairs." The consensus standard ANSI A1264.1-2007 uses the term 
"fixed stairs." The Agency requests comment on whether this change in 
terminology (from fixed industrial stairs to standard stairs) is 
appropriate or whether it leaves a gap in the coverage of stairways.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(1) establishes the scope of this section, 
making it clear that generally all stairs, including standard stairs, 
spiral stairs, ship stairs, and alternating tread-type stairs, are 
covered. Additional requirements for stairs serving as required exit 
routes are located in subpart E, Means of Egress. This provision is 
based on existing paragraph Sec.  1910.24(a) and is consistent with 
ANSI A1264.1-2007. It also makes clear that this section does not cover 
stairs serving floating roof tanks, stairs on scaffolds, stairs 
designed into a machine or piece of equipment, or stairs on self-
propelled motorized mobile equipment. To ensure consistency among OSHA 
standards and assist those working in both construction and general 
industries, requirements for stairs on scaffolds also are provided in 
the construction industry standards at Sec.  1926.451. Stairs serving 
floating roof tanks, stairs designed into a machine or piece of 
equipment, and stairs on self-propelled motorized mobile equipment are 
not covered by recognized industry standards, and the Agency does not 
have any information or sufficient evidence on how to regulate these 
types of stairs. OSHA requests comments on whether there is a need to 
regulate these stairs.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(2) is intended to protect employees from 
falling off unprotected sides and edges. It requires that stairs be 
equipped with handrails and stair rail systems that meet the 
requirements of proposed Sec.  1910.28, Duty to have fall protection. 
OSHA notes that the top rail of a stair rail system may also serve as a 
handrail when installed in accordance with proposed Sec.  1910.29(f).
    Paragraph (a)(3) proposes that the vertical clearance above any 
stair tread to an overhead obstruction must be at least 6 feet, 8 
inches (1.8 m) measured from the leading edge of the tread, except as 
proposed in (c)(3) below. This is a change from the existing rule, 
found in Sec.  1910.24(i), where the clearance is required to be at 
least 7 feet (2.1 m). This proposed change is consistent with national 
consensus standards (i.e., ANSI A1264.1-2007).
    In paragraphs (a)(4) through (a)(6), OSHA proposes requirements for 
riser heights and stairway landing platform widths. All three 
provisions are based on requirements in existing subpart D but are 
rewritten in performance-based language for ease of compliance and 
enforcement. These proposed requirements are the minimum criteria OSHA 
feels are necessary to ensure employee safety when traversing stairs.
    In paragraph (a)(4), OSHA proposes that stairs be installed with 
uniform riser heights and tread depths between landings. This provision 
is essentially the same as the existing requirement in Sec.  
1910.24(f).
    OSHA proposes, in Sec.  1910.25(a)(5), that stairway landings and 
platforms be no less than the width of the stair and not less than 30 
inches (76 cm) in length as measured in the direction of travel. The 
proposed language is essentially the same as that in existing Sec.  
1910.24(g).
    In paragraph (a)(6), OSHA proposes to revise the platform width 
requirements where doors or gates open directly on a stairway. 
Specifically, OSHA proposes that when a door or a gate opens directly 
on a stairway, a platform must be provided, and the swing of the door 
or gate must not reduce the effective usable depth to less than 20 
inches (51 cm) for platforms installed before 90 days after the 
effective date of the final rule; and 22 inches (56 cm) for platforms 
installed thereafter. The 20 or 22 inches (51 or 56 cm) is measured 
beyond the swing radius of the door after the door is opened fully. 
(See Figure D-7.) This change increases the effective usable depth of 
the platform, required in existing Sec.  1910.23(a)(10), by 2 inches (5 
cm), making OSHA's proposal consistent with the national consensus 
standard, ANSI A1264.1-1995 (R2002). OSHA notes that the 2007 version 
of ANSI/ASSE A1264.1, section 6.11, Door and Gate Openings, states, 
"Stairs shall have landings at door openings and gate openings. During 
its swing, the door shall leave not less than one-half of the required 
width of the landing unobstructed. The door shall project not more than 
seven inches (180 mm) into the required width of the landing when the 
door is fully open." OSHA requests comment on how much clear, 
unobstructed space is necessary on landing platforms where doors or 
gates open directly onto them.
    In paragraph (a)(7), OSHA proposes that stairs be designed and 
constructed to carry five times the normal anticipated live load, but 
never less than a concentrated load of 1,000 pounds (454 kg) applied at 
any point. This provision is nearly the same as existing Sec.  
1910.24(c), which applies to fixed industrial stairs, except that the 
proposed provision will apply to all stairs covered by this section. In 
addition, it is consistent with ANSI/ASSE A1264.1-2007.
    In paragraph (a)(8), OSHA proposes that standard stairs be provided 
for access from one walking-working surface to another where operations 
necessitate regular and routine travel between levels and for access to 
operating platforms for equipment. An exception allows the use of 
winding stairways on tanks and similar round structures where the 
diameter of the structure is five (5) feet (1.5 m) or more. OSHA 
recognizes that standard stairs are the principal means of providing 
safe access from one working level to another. Therefore, this 
provision is designed to ensure that employees have a reasonable means 
of access to different walking-working surfaces. This provision is 
essentially the same as the existing requirement in Sec.  1910.24(b) 
except that it has been rewritten for clarity. OSHA does not intend for 
this section to preclude the use of fixed ladders for access to 
elevated tanks, towers, and similar structures, or to overhead 
traveling cranes, when the use of fixed ladders is common practice. The 
proposed provision is consistent with the national consensus standard, 
ANSI/ASSE A1264.1-2007.
    In paragraph (a)(9), OSHA proposes to limit the use of spiral 
stairs, ship stairs, or alternating tread-type stairs to "special 
limited usage" and "secondary access" situations when the employer 
demonstrates that it is not practical to provide a standard stairway. 
This is consistent with the national consensus standard, ANSI/ASSE 
A1264.1-2007. ANSI does not define "special limited usage" or 
"secondary access." The ICC Building Code, however, refers to 
"special limited use" as "a space not more than 250 square feet (23 
m\2\) in area and serving not more than five occupants, or from 
galleries, catwalks and gridirons. * * *" The proposal would require 
employers to demonstrate that it is not practical to provide a standard 
stairway before using an alternate type of stairway in "special 
limited use" situations; therefore, it may be helpful to employers if 
OSHA defines special limited usage. For the purpose of this proposed 
rule, OSHA's use of the term is the same as the ICC's; however there 
may be other usages that warrant inclusion. OSHA requests comment on 
these points. The term "secondary access" is self explanatory and 
refers to any stairway that is not used as a primary means of egress.
OSHA notes that where spiral stairs, ship stairs, or alternating
tread-type stairs are permitted, those stairs must meet the general
requirements in proposed Sec.  1910.25(a) and the dditional specific
a requirements for each stair type in paragraphs (c),(d), or (e) of 
proposed Sec.  1910.25, respectively. Proposed 
paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) for spiral stairways, ship stairs, and 
alternating-type stairs respectively, are new and have no counterparts 
in existing Sec.  1910.24.
Paragraph (b) Standard Stairs
    In paragraph (b), OSHA proposes specific requirements for standard 
stairs. The proposed requirements are the minimum criteria OSHA 
believes are necessary to allow adequate clearance for employees to 
negotiate standard stairs safely. These requirements apply in addition 
to the general requirements in proposed paragraph (a) above. All of the 
proposed requirements in this paragraph are consistent with the 
national consensus standard, ANSI/ASSE A1264.1-2007. For compliance 
assistance, OSHA has included figures D-7 through D-10 in the 
regulatory language.
    Paragraph (b)(1) proposes that standard stairs be installed at 
angles between 30 and 50 degrees from the horizontal, which is 
equivalent to existing Sec.  1910.24(e). However, the existing rule 
allows any combination of riser height and tread depth necessary to 
achieve the 30 to 50 degree angle, whereas the proposed rule sets a 
maximum and minimum range, respectively. Proposed paragraphs (b)(2) and 
(b)(3) set the maximum riser height and the minimum tread depth, 
allowing an exception when open risers are used. In paragraph (b)(2), 
OSHA proposes that standard stairs have a maximum riser height of 9.5 
inches (24 cm). In paragraph (b)(3), OSHA proposes that standard stairs 
have a minimum tread depth of 9.5 inches (24 cm) except when open 
risers are used; that is, standard stairs having open risers can have 
tread depths of less than 9.5 inches (24 cm). Proposed paragraph (b)(3) 
differs from the existing rule in that it uses the term "tread depth" 
instead of "tread run." OSHA believes that stairs currently used in 
general industry already meet these requirements.
    In paragraph (b)(4), OSHA proposes that standard stairs have a 
minimum width of 22 inches (56 cm) between vertical barriers (such as a 
stair rail, guardrail, or wall). This requirement is essentially the 
same as existing Sec.  1910.24(d).
    The proposed criteria for spiral stairs, ship stairs, and 
alternating tread-type stairs presented below in proposed paragraphs 
(c), (d), and (e), respectively, parallel the provisions provided for 
standard stairs. They represent the minimum requirements OSHA believes 
are necessary for employees to traverse spiral stairs, ship stairs, and 
alternating tread-type stairs safely.
Paragraph (c) Spiral Stairs
    In paragraph (c), OSHA proposes specific requirements for spiral 
stairs. These requirements apply in addition to the general 
requirements in proposed paragraph (a) above. These provisions are 
based on NFPA 101-2006.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(1) requires that spiral stairways have a 
clear width not less than 26 inches (66 cm). Proposed paragraph (c)(2) 
requires spiral stairways to have risers with a maximum height of 9.5 
inches (24 cm). In paragraph (c)(3), OSHA proposes that spiral stairs 
have a minimum amount of headroom above the spiral stairway of 6 feet, 
6 inches (2 m) measured vertically from the center of the leading edge 
of the tread. To maintain a safe tread depth and size for spiral 
stairs, OSHA proposes in paragraph (c)(4) that spiral stair treads have 
a minimum depth of 7.5 inches (19 cm) at a point 12 inches (30 cm) from 
the narrowest edge. Proposed paragraph (c)(5) requires that spiral 
stairs have uniform size treads.
Paragraph (d) Ship Stairs
    In paragraph (d), OSHA proposes specific requirements for ship 
stairs. These requirements apply in addition to the general 
requirements in proposed paragraph (a) above. Proposed paragraph (d)(1) 
requires that ship stairs be installed at a slope of 50 to 70 degrees 
from the horizontal. Paragraph (d)(2) proposes that ship stairs have 
open risers. In paragraph (d)(3), OSHA proposes that ship stairs have 
treads with a minimum depth of 4 inches (10 cm), a minimum width of 18 
inches (46 cm), and a vertical rise between tread surfaces in the range 
of 6.5 to 12 inches (17 to 30 cm). These provisions are based on the 
national consensus standard, ANSI A1264.1-2007.
Paragraph (e) Alternating Tread-Type Stairs
    In proposed paragraph (e), OSHA proposes specific requirements for 
alternating tread-type stairs. These requirements apply in addition to 
the general requirements in proposed paragraph (a) above. Proposed 
paragraph (e)(1) requires that alternating tread-type stairs be 
installed at a slope between 50 and 70 degrees from the horizontal. 
Proposed paragraph (e)(2) requires that the distance between handrails 
be between 20 and 24 inches (51 to 61 cm). Proposed paragraph (e)(3) 
requires that the stairs have treads with a minimum depth of 8.5 inches 
(22 cm). Proposed paragraph (e)(4) requires that alternating tread-type 
stairs have open risers if the depth is less than 9.5 inches (24 cm), 
and proposed paragraph (e)(5) requires treads that are a minimum of 7 
inches (18 cm) wide at the leading edge of the step (nosing). The 
proposed requirements of this paragraph are based on ANSI A1264.1-2007, 
NFPA 101-2006, and the 2003 International Building Code.
Section 1910.26 Dockboards (Bridge Plates)
    Proposed Sec.  1910.26 establishes requirements for dockboards 
(bridge plates). This section relocates, updates, and clarifies 
requirements for dockboards located in existing Sec.  1910.30, Other 
working surfaces. In addition, two requirements in existing Sec.  
1910.30(b) and (c), Forging machine and Veneer machinery, respectively, 
would be revoked because the hazards addressed in those provisions are 
already covered elsewhere in proposed subpart D (e.g., Sec.  1910.22) 
or in other subparts in the general industry standards (e.g., subpart 
O, Machinery and Machine Guarding, and in particular Sec.  1910.218, 
Forging machines).
    In paragraph (a), OSHA proposes that portable and powered 
dockboards be capable of supporting their maximum intended load. This 
requirement essentially restates the general requirement for load 
support in proposed Sec.  1910.22(b) for all walking-working surfaces, 
and it is essentially the same as existing provision Sec.  
1910.30(a)(1).
    In paragraph (b), OSHA proposes that dockboards put into service at 
least 90 days after the effective date of the final rule be designed, 
constructed, and maintained to prevent equipment (such as hand trucks 
and vehicles) from running off the edge. This performance language 
provision requires that where equipment is used on dockboards, the 
dockboard must be provided with a means, such as edging or curbing, to 
prevent equipment from running off the edge. This is a new requirement, 
which is being proposed to protect employees from injury in the event 
the equipment falls off the edge of the dockboard.
    OSHA proposes in paragraph (c) that portable dockboards be secured 
in position, either by being anchored or equipped with devices that 
will prevent their slipping. Where this is infeasible,
the employer must ensure there is substantial contact between the 
portable dockboard and the unattached surface or surfaces. The 
dockboard and the unattached surface or surfaces should overlap with 
one another so that the dockboard does not rock, slide, or slip while 
being used by employees. The provision is essentially the same as 
existing provision Sec.  1910.30(a)(2) and is based on ANSI/ASME B56.1-
2000, Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks (sections 
4.13.2 and 4.13.5).
    In paragraph (d), OSHA proposes that vehicles onto which a 
dockboard has been placed must be prevented from moving (e.g., by using 
wheel chocks) while the dockboard is being used by employees. If a 
vehicle rolls forward when a dockboard is in use, the dockboard may 
fall off the end of the vehicle and an employee may fall as well. The 
provision identifies positive steps to prevent movement of vehicles 
rolling forward away from the dock and is essentially the same as the 
existing Sec.  1910.30(a)(5). The paragraph is consistent with ANSI 
MH30.2-2005, Portable Dock Leveling Devices: Safety, Performance and 
Testing.
    OSHA proposes in paragraph (e) that portable dockboards be equipped 
with handholds or other means to permit safe handling. The provision is 
essentially the same as existing Sec.  1910.30(a)(4) and is based on 
ANSI/ASME B56.1-2000, Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks 
(section 4.13.3).
Section 1910.27 Scaffolds (Including Rope Descent Systems)
    In Sec.  1910.27, OSHA is proposing significant revisions to the 
existing general industry scaffold standards. First, OSHA is proposing 
to remove all the existing scaffolding requirements now located at 
Sec.  1910.28 and Sec.  1910.29, with the exception of mobile ladder 
stand requirements in existing Sec.  1910.28(f). Instead, in paragraph 
(a), it is proposing to require that employers comply with the 
construction industry standards in Sec.  1926 subpart L, Scaffolds. 
Requirements for mobile ladder stands are relocated to proposed Sec.  
1910.23(e). Second, in paragraph (b) OSHA is proposing to add new 
requirements for rope descent systems (sometimes called controlled 
descent systems)--a type of scaffold not now regulated by either OSHA's 
general industry or construction industry standards.
Paragraph (a) Scaffolds
    The primary reason for the proposed changes is to ensure 
consistency among OSHA standards for scaffolds. The construction 
industry scaffold standards (subpart L of 29 CFR part 1926) were 
updated on August 30, 1996 (61 FR 46026), and contain requirements for 
the same types of scaffolds that are now regulated by the general 
industry standards. Rather than updating the part 1910 standard to 
harmonize with the part 1926 standard, OSHA concluded that a better way 
to ease compliance and ensure regulatory consistency, both now and in 
the future, is to refer general industry employers to the construction 
industry standards. OSHA believes that this will ensure consistency in 
worker protection in both industries, increase understanding of the 
rules, and reduce any confusion that might occur when employers are 
subject to two sets of rules for scaffolds--one that applies when 
general industry work (such as maintenance) is being done and another 
when construction work is being done. In addition, OSHA believes that 
many general industry employers who use scaffolds also perform work 
covered by the construction industry standards and are, therefore, 
already familiar, and in compliance, with the construction industry 
scaffold standards. OSHA believes that using just one set of 
regulations will simplify both compliance and enforcement of the 
scaffold standards and result in greater employee protection. OSHA 
notes that all 21 types of scaffolds currently regulated by the general 
industry standards are also regulated by the construction industry 
standards.
    The following table lists the different types of scaffolding 
addressed in the existing part 1910 general industry standards, and the 
corresponding paragraphs in part 1926 construction industry standards.

                    List of Comparable Scaffolding Standards in Existing Parts 1910 and 1926
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Existing 1910              Existing 1926 Subpart L
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
.28 (b)..............................  Wood pole scaffolds....  .452 (a)...............  Pole scaffolds.
.28 (c)..............................  Tube and coupler         .452 (b)...............  Tube and coupler
                                        scaffolds.                                        scaffolds.
.28 (d)..............................  Tubular welded frame     .452 (c)...............  Fabricated frame
                                        scaffolds.                                        (tubular welded)
                                                                                          scaffolds.
.28 (e)..............................  Outrigger scaffolds....  .452 (i)...............  Outrigger scaffolds.
.28 (g)..............................  Two-point suspension     .452 (p)...............  Two-point adjustable
                                        scaffolds.                                        suspension scaffolds.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
.28 (h)..............................  Stone setter's           .452 (q)...............  Multi-point adjustable
                                        adjustable multipoint                             suspension scaffolds,
                                        suspension scaffolds.                             stone setters' multi-
                                                                                          point adjustable
                                                                                          suspension scaffolds,
                                                                                          and masons' multi-
                                                                                          point adjustable
                                                                                          suspension scaffolds.
.28 (f)..............................  Masons' adjustable
                                        multi-point suspension
                                        scaffolds.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
.28 (i)..............................  Single-point adjustable  .452 (o)...............  Single-point adjustable
                                        suspension scaffolds.                             suspension scaffolds.
.28 (j)..............................  Boatswain's chair......
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
.28 (k)..............................  Carpenters' bracket      .452 (g)...............  Form scaffolds and
                                        scaffolds.                                        carpenters' bracket
                                                                                          scaffolds.
.28 (l)..............................  Bricklayers' square      .452 (e)...............  Bricklayers' square
                                        scaffolds.                                        scaffolds.
.28 (m)..............................  Horse scaffolds........  .452 (f)...............  Horse scaffolds.
.28 (n)..............................  Needle beam scaffolds..  .452 (u)...............  Needle beam scaffolds.
.28 (o)..............................  Plasterers',             .452 (d)...............  Plasterers',
                                        decorators', and large                            decorators', and large
                                        area scaffolds.                                   area scaffolds.
.28 (p)..............................  Interior hung scaffolds  .452 (t)...............  Interior hung
                                                                                          scaffolds.
.28 (q)..............................  Ladder jack scaffolds..  .452 (k)...............  Ladder jack scaffolds.
.28 (r)..............................  Window-jack scaffolds..  .452 (l)...............  Window-jack scaffolds.
.28 (s)..............................  Roofing bracket          .452 (h)...............  Roof bracket scaffolds.
                                        scaffolds.
.28 (t)..............................  Crawling boards or       .452 (m)...............  Crawling boards
                                        chicken ladders.                                  (chicken ladders).
.28 (u)..............................  Float or ship scaffolds  .452 (s)...............  Float (ship) scaffolds.
.29 (e)..............................  Mobile work platforms..  .452 (w)...............  Mobile scaffolds.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    OSHA is aware that by requiring general industry employers to 
comply with the construction industry scaffold requirements, some 
employers may encounter new requirements. However, the Agency 
anticipates there will be minimal new compliance burdens or new costs 
associated with requiring compliance with the construction industry 
rules. The Agency believes that any requirements in the construction 
industry scaffold standard that would be "new" to general industry 
employers are requirements that only apply when construction work is 
being done. For example, Sec.  1926.451(g)(2) requires, under certain 
conditions, that employees be protected from falls while erecting and 
dismantling supported scaffolds. There is no similar requirement in the 
existing general industry scaffold standard. However, OSHA believes 
that most work performed from supported scaffolds is construction work 
that is already subject to the Sec.  1926.451(g)(2) requirement.
    OSHA requests comment on its position as discussed here. Is there 
general industry work--maintenance work, for example--performed while 
working from supported scaffolds that would cause employers to be 
subjected to a new rule? Are there other requirements in the 
construction industry rule that would impose new obligations on general 
industry employers because of OSHA's proposed action to require 
employers to comply with the construction scaffold rule? If so, what 
are those requirements and how would general industry employers be 
impacted?
Paragraph (b) Rope descent systems (RDS).
    Rope descent systems (RDS), newly covered in proposed paragraph 
(b), are suspension-type devices that support one employee in a chair 
(seat board) and allow the user to descend in a controlled manner, 
stopping at desired points during the descent. RDS are a variation of 
single-point adjustable suspension scaffolds, but operate only in a 
descending direction. The use of rope descent systems is prevalent in 
the United States, frequently used in building cleaning, maintenance, 
and inspection. RDS are also known as "controlled descent devices" 
(CDD), and have been referred to as such in previous Federal Register 
notices (see example in following paragraph). To reduce confusion, in 
this notice OSHA will only use the term RDS.
    In the July 18, 1990, Federal Register, OSHA solicited comments on 
regulating the use of RDS (CDD). On May 2, 2003, OSHA again raised the 
issue (68 FR 23534):

    In a March 12, 1991, memorandum to its Regional Administrators, 
OSHA stated that employers who use CDD to perform building cleaning, 
inspection, and maintenance must do so in accordance with the 
manufacturer's instructions, warnings, and design limitations. In 
addition, OSHA said it expected employers using CDD to implement 
eight specific safety provisions covering the following areas: 
employee training, inspection of equipment, proper rigging, separate 
fall arrest systems, installation of lines, rescue, prevention of 
rope damage, and stabilization (Docket S-029; Ex. 1-16-3). These 
eight provisions also are included in the current national consensus 
standard, ANSI I-14.1-2001--Window Cleaning Safety (Docket S-029; 
Ex. 1-13). The ANSI standard also limits the use of CDD, which it 
refers to as rope descent systems (RDS) to window cleaning 
operations performed 300 feet (91 m) or less above grade, unless the 
windows cannot be safely and practicably accessed by other means 
such as powered platforms.

The inclusion of these eight provisions in the ANSI standard on window 
cleaning indicates industry acceptance of these specific safety 
precautions. Comments to the earlier rulemaking record, both written 
and in public hearings, indicate that there are basically two view 
points on the RDS issue--either strongly in support of their use or 
strongly opposed to their use.
    The supporting comments noted that RDS are a vital piece of 
equipment for the window cleaning industry (along with powered 
platforms, ladders, and other devices). Comments were made that, in 
some instances, such as certain multi-level roofs, saw-tooth roof 
edges, and buildings without parapets, RDS were the safest equipment to 
use (Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-1253, p. 489).
    Mr. Steve Powers, an owner/operator of a high-rise window cleaning 
company testified:

    [T]he only solution to reducing the number of injuries and 
fatalities is in proper training, not in banning or restricting 
equipment. Human error and the lack of proper training is the 
primary cause of injuries and fatalities in our industry, not the 
equipment (Tr. 685).

    The opposing commenters discussed the advantages of powered 
platforms over RDS. A window cleaning company owner expressed the 
belief that most window cleaners in this country do not have the proper 
training to use RDS in a safe manner (Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-1254, p. 
997). Many members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 
also opposed the use of RDS (e.g., Ex. OSHA-S029-2006-0662-0277 through 
Ex. OSHA-S029-2006-0662-0284).
    Since issuing its policy on the use of RDS over 19 years ago, OSHA 
is not aware of any fatalities involving RDS when all eight of the 
safety provisions outlined in the March 12, 1991, memorandum have been 
followed. Therefore, at this time, OSHA believes that RDS may address a 
need and can be used safely so long as proper procedures are followed. 
Due to the design of some structures, the use of RDS may be the only 
way to perform some maintenance work and, if RDS is the only feasible 
method, OSHA believes that requirements are essential to protect 
employees while they are using this equipment.
    To have the most complete information on RDS incidents, OSHA 
requests comment on incidents, including fatalities, injuries, and near 
misses, that have occurred while using this equipment. Additionally, 
OSHA requests information regarding any other provisions that should be 
included in the final rule to increase worker safety, including whether 
or not RDS should be prohibited or should be allowed only when the 
employer can demonstrate that other methods, such as powered platforms, 
are not feasible or pose additional safety risks. Please include 
comment on how such feasibility and safety risk determinations could be 
made, as well as applicable rationale, costs, and benefits for all 
comments on RDS.
    The specific requirements in this proposed rule are based on the 
eight provisions of OSHA's 1991 memorandum and the national consensus 
standard, IWCA I-14.1-2001. These provisions are described in the 
following paragraphs. Additionally, although some provisions of this 
section are essentially the same as provisions in proposed subpart I, 
OSHA believes it is appropriate for the provisions to be presented 
here, in proposed subpart D, as a complete unit for ease of compliance 
and enforcement.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(1) prohibits the use of RDS at heights 
greater than 300 feet (91.4 m) above grade unless the employer can 
demonstrate that access cannot otherwise be attained safely and 
practicably. Therefore, RDS would be permitted at heights of 300 feet 
(91.4 m) or less.
    While the March 12, 1991, memorandum did not include a 300-foot 
limitation, the national consensus standard, IWCA I-14.1-2001 (section 
5.7.12), prescribes the limitation. OSHA uses IWCA I-14 (section 
5.7.11) as the basis for this prohibition, noting that the greater the 
length of rope used for a descent, the greater the adverse effects of 
environmental factors such as wind gusts, microbursts, or tunneling 
wind currents; these effects increase the risk of injury to employees.
for this reason, OSHA believes it is appropriate to propose this prohibition.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2) establishes eleven requirements employers 
must meet when RDS are used. Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(i) requires RDS 
to be used in accordance with the instructions, warnings, and design 
limitations set by manufacturers and distributors. Equipment is to be 
used only as the manufacturer designed it to be used. For instance, 
ropes and equipment that are designed and sold for recreational 
climbing are not always rated for industrial use. OSHA is aware that 
some elements of one manufacturer's system may be compatible with 
elements of a different manufacturer's system; however, incompatibility 
of systems can be disastrous. OSHA requests comment on whether changing 
the provision to read "set by manufacturers or qualified persons" 
(using the word "qualified" as defined in proposed Sec.  1910.21) 
would be more appropriate.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(ii) requires employee training in 
accordance with proposed Sec.  1910.30. OSHA believes that RDS can be 
safely used only if employees are thoroughly knowledgeable in the 
equipment and its proper use. Please see the training discussion below.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(iii) requires daily inspection of all 
equipment used in RDS before use. Also, any damaged equipment must be 
removed from service. This inspection enables changes and defects (such 
as abrasions and cracks) that occurred during the last use or during 
storage to be discovered, and appropriate action taken. This provision 
is reflected in a similar requirement in proposed Sec.  1910.140, 
Personal fall arrest systems.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(iv) requires proper rigging, including 
sound anchorages and tiebacks, with particular emphasis on providing 
tiebacks when counterweights, cornice hooks, or similar non-permanent 
anchorages are used. Sound anchorage and tiebacks are essential to the 
safety of RDS. Emphasis is placed upon non-permanent anchorages because 
of the increased possibility of damage during transport and improper 
installation. The Agency requests comment on whether this provision is 
sufficient to ensure the safety of anchorages, and whether OSHA should 
include any specific requirements for anchorages beyond those presented 
here.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(v) requires a separate, independent 
personal fall arrest system meeting the requirements of subpart I of 
this part to be used so that any failure in a friction device, support 
seat, support line, or anchorage system will not affect the ability of 
the fall arrest system to operate and quickly stop the employee's fall. 
This requirement is consistent with existing Sec.  1910.66(j) and Sec.  
1926.451(g), and is reflected in proposed Sec.  1910.140.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(vi) requires that all lines be capable of 
sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg). This 
requirement does not preclude the use of a knot, swage, or eye splice 
that reduces the tensile strength of a rope, but it does require that 
when such a knot, swage, or splice is used, the rope must have a 
resulting strength capable of supporting a minimum tensile load of 
5,000 pounds (2,268 kg). This provision is the same as a requirement in 
proposed Sec.  1910.140, Personal fall arrest systems.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(vii) requires the employer to provide for 
prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall. This provision is 
the same as a requirement in proposed Sec.  1910.140.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(viii) requires ropes to be effectively 
padded when they contact edges of the building, anchorage, 
obstructions, or other surfaces that might cut or weaken the rope. 
Padding protects ropes from abrasions that can weaken the tensile 
strength of a rope.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(ix) requires stabilization at employee 
work locations when descents are greater than 130 feet (39.6 m). As 
required in ANSI/IWCA I-14 (section 5.7.12), stabilization at the 
specific work station reduces risks imposed by sway. The Agency 
requests information on stabilization methods commonly used, and other 
stabilization methods not commonly used that may increase employee 
safety. Please include information regarding costs and benefits of 
these methods.
    The greater the length of rope used for a descent, the greater the 
adverse effects of environmental factors such as wind gusts, 
microbursts, or tunneling wind currents; these effects increase the 
risk of injury to employees. OSHA requests information on the use of 
RDS during inclement weather. Should the use of RDS be prohibited in 
certain weather conditions? If so, what are those conditions? How 
should an employer determine whether the conditions are severe enough 
to prevent the use of RDS? The term "excessive winds" as used in the 
consensus standard is subjective and open to differing interpretations. 
How should the term be defined? Is a specific wind speed appropriate? 
What speed and why? Should wind speed be monitored, and if so, how?
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(x) requires equipment, including tools, 
squeegees, and buckets, to be secured to prevent equipment from 
falling, thus protecting any workers below from being struck by falling 
equipment. This provision is based on IWCA I-14.1-2001, which is 
written for the protection of the general public. However, OSHA 
believes this provision also is necessary to protect employees working 
below RDS from injuries resulting from dropped equipment.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(xi) requires suspension ropes to be 
protected from exposure to open flames, hot work, corrosive chemicals, 
or other destructive conditions that can weaken them. This requirement 
is essentially the same as existing Sec.  1910.28(a)(21).
Section 1910.28 Duty To Have Fall Protection
    This is the first of three new sections in subpart D that 
consolidate requirements pertinent to fall protection. The new sections 
(Sec. Sec.  1910.28, 1910.29, and 1910.30), when viewed together, 
represent a comprehensive approach to managing fall hazards. OSHA 
believes this revised approach will ensure a better understanding of 
employer obligations; provide flexibility for employers when choosing a 
fall protection system that works best for them; and most importantly, 
will significantly reduce the number of falls in general industry.
    Proposed Sec.  1910.28 specifies the areas and operations where 
fall protection systems are required. The criteria to be met for fall 
protection systems and the training necessary to use the systems 
properly are covered in proposed Sec. Sec.  1910.29 and 1910.30, 
respectively. In addition, criteria to be met when personal fall 
protection systems are used are covered in subpart I of this part at 
Sec.  1910.140. New Sec.  1910.28 is patterned after Sec.  1926.501, 
Duty to have fall protection, of the construction industry standards 
and contains many similar requirements. As indicated in proposed Sec.  
1910.21, Scope and application, OSHA intends that this new section will 
consolidate most general industry fall protection requirements. There 
are, however, some exceptions. OSHA is not proposing to relocate the 
existing "duty to have fall protection" requirements in Sec.  1910.66 
(for powered platforms), Sec.  1910.67 (for aerial lifts), Sec.  
1910.268 (for telecommunications operations), or Sec.  1910.269 
(electric power generation, distribution and transmission operations). 
In addition, nothing in this section applies to fall hazards from the 
perimeter of entertainment stages or rail
(subway) station platforms. In these contexts, the use of guardrails or 
other fall protection systems could unreasonably interfere with work 
operations or would create a greater hazard than would otherwise be 
present. OSHA recognizes that there may be limited circumstances where 
fall protection may be feasible in these occupational settings, and 
encourages the use of fall protection when possible.
    The duty to have fall protection in general industry is not new. 
Existing subpart D already requires employees to be protected from 
falls and, in general, requires that protection be provided whenever an 
employee is exposed to falling 4 feet (1.2 m) or more to a lower level. 
The origin of the 4-foot rule in subpart D is the American National 
Standard, ANSI A12.1-1967, Safety Requirements for Floor and Wall 
Openings, Railings, and Toe Boards. Historical records indicate that, 
generally, the 4-foot rule was prescribed in consensus standards as far 
back as 1932 (see ANSI A12.1-1932). Therefore, it is reasonable to 
conclude that providing fall protection when employees are exposed to 
falls of 4 feet (1.2 m) or more has been the accepted practice in 
general industry for more than 75 years.
    Furthermore, a 1978 University of Michigan study (An Ergonomic 
Basis for Recommendations Pertaining to Specific Sections of OSHA 
Standard 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart D-Walking and Working Surfaces, Ex. 
OSHA-S041-2006-0666-0004) supports maintaining the 4-foot rule. For 
these reasons, OSHA believes it would be unreasonable to change this 
trigger height. The Agency requests more recent studies or information 
that support or contradict this position.
    OSHA notes that its construction industry rules require, except for 
certain specific work or operations, that employees be protected 
whenever the fall distance is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more to lower levels. 
Comments to OSHA's 2003 Reopening Notice indicated that some members of 
the public believed that the trigger height for providing fall 
protection in general industry is 6 feet (1.8 m), which is the 
construction industry trigger. OSHA wishes to be clear on this point: 
for general industry, the trigger height for providing fall protection 
has--for more than 75 years--been 4 feet (1.2 m). Exceptional trigger 
heights have been established for construction, work performed on 
scaffolds or fixed ladders, or utility work. Throughout its entire 
history, OSHA has consistently reinforced the policy in public 
statements, as well as in documents issued to clarify and interpret the 
standard. For example, as far back as 1978, OSHA, in a letter of 
interpretation to Mr. John Reilly 
(http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=18715) 
restated the requirement for fall protection for open-sided surfaces more than 4 
feet above adjacent levels.
    A major difference between the proposed requirements in Sec.  
1910.28, and the existing requirements of subpart D, is that under the 
proposed rule, employers will be able to choose from several options in 
providing fall protection. The existing rule, for the most part, 
mandates the use of guardrail systems (see, e.g., Sec.  1910.23), 
thereby limiting the employer's ability to choose the system that works 
best for the particular situation or work activity. The proposed rule 
allows employers to choose from several options in providing fall 
protection. These include conventional fall protection systems such as 
guardrail systems, safety net systems, and personal fall protection 
systems (travel restraint systems, fall arrest systems, and positioning 
systems), and non-conventional means. An example of non-conventional 
means would be the establishment of a designated area in which an 
employee is to work. An employee working in a designated area must be 
trained in safe work practices specific to that area and must be 
required to use those safe work practices. OSHA believes that an 
important key to protecting employees is allowing employers flexibility 
to select the fall protection systems or methods that will work best 
for the particular work activities or operations, thereby allowing 
employers to consider factors such as exposure time, availability of 
attachment points, and feasibility and cost constraints.
    OSHA believes that the reorganized format presented here will 
reduce confusion about fall protection requirements, as well as reduce 
the need for interpretations of those requirements. As noted above, by 
patterning this section after the construction industry standards, OSHA 
intends to ensure that employees in both industries, when exposed to 
similar fall hazards, are afforded similar protection. The proposed 
subpart D fall protection requirements also reflect today's technology 
and recognize the use of innovative fall protection measures, such as 
working in designated areas or using travel restraint systems, as 
reasonable and appropriate ways to protect employees from fall hazards. 
Once an employer has chosen a system or method from the options allowed 
in proposed Sec.  1910.28, that system/method would have to meet the 
requirements in proposed Sec.  1910.29, and employees would have to be 
trained on the use of the chosen system per proposed Sec.  1910.30. 
OSHA believes the proposed fall protection requirements will allow for 
a much higher level of compliance, leading to a higher level of 
protection and may, at the same time, reduce employer costs.
Paragraph (a) General
    Proposed paragraph (a) of Sec.  1910.28 contains two general 
requirements relating to an employer's obligation, or duty, to have 
fall protection. In proposed paragraph (a)(1), OSHA establishes the 
employer's obligation to provide fall protection and clarifies that all 
fall protection systems used must conform to the criteria and work 
practices set forth in proposed Sec.  1910.29, except that, when 
personal fall protection systems are used, compliance with the criteria 
and work practices of proposed Sec.  1910.140 in subpart I would be 
required. Proposed Sec.  1910.28 does not apply to powered platforms 
because the duty to have fall protection is already provided in Sec.  
1910.66, the general industry standard for powered platforms. Proposed 
Sec.  1910.28 also does not apply to aerial lifts (Sec.  1910.67), 
telecommunications (Sec.  1910.268), or electric power generation, 
transmission, and distribution (Sec.  1910.269) because each of these 
sections, like Sec.  1910.66, already contains a requirement specifying 
the employer's duty to have fall protection. OSHA notes that most of 
the requirements in this proposed section allow several choices for 
providing fall protection, but some requirements limit the choices. For 
example, only the use of guardrail and handrail systems is permitted to 
protect employees on dockboards (bridge plates). Here, OSHA believes 
these systems offer the appropriate type of fall protection.
    As stated above, existing subpart D requires employers to provide 
guardrails as the primary method of protecting employees from fall 
hazards (for example, see proposed Sec.  1910.23(c)). The 1990 proposed 
revision of subpart D (55 FR 13401) continued the concept of using 
guardrails as the primary fall protection method, allowing other 
alternatives in limited situations. Thus, the subpart D proposal 
established a hierarchy of controls. However, in the 2003 Reopening 
Notice (68 FR 23533), OSHA acknowledged that it may not always be 
feasible to provide guardrails and raised this as an issue. Issue 
4, Hierarchy of Fall Protection Controls, elicited comment on 
whether OSHA should permit employers to provide
other fall protection systems such as personal fall arrest systems, 
positioning systems, or restraint systems to protect employees from 
falls. In raising the issue, OSHA noted that the final Fall Protection 
rule for the construction industry did not have a hierarchy of fall 
protection systems. Instead, that standard included a list of options 
which employers would be permitted to follow (59 FR 40672, August 9, 
1994). In the 2003 reopening, OSHA said that, to achieve consistency 
between OSHA's construction standards and general industry standards, 
it could abandon the hierarchy of fall protection controls that had 
been proposed in 1990 in favor of a more flexible approach (68 FR 
23533).
    Comments on Issue 4 overwhelmingly favored removal of the 
hierarchy and promulgation of rules consistent with those already 
established for the construction industry. Today's proposal reflects 
those comments and removes the hierarchy in favor of provisions 
establishing several fall protection systems that offer equivalent 
protections, and allows employers flexibility to select among them. It 
is OSHA's belief that the alternatives (or options) listed for each 
work activity operation will allow employers to choose the system that 
they determine is most appropriate and cost effective. OSHA has limited 
the employer's choices to those systems that it believes will provide 
an appropriate and equal level of safety.
    In an earlier Federal Register (59 FR 40680) document, OSHA 
discussed its position that all employers are responsible for obtaining 
information about the workplace hazards to which their employees may be 
exposed and for taking appropriate action to protect affected employees 
from any such hazards. OSHA also noted that "[t]he [Occupational 
Safety and Health Review] Commission has held that an employer must 
make a reasonable effort to anticipate particular hazards to which its 
employees may be exposed in the course of their scheduled work." (Id. 
40680.) Specifically, an employer must inspect the area to determine 
what hazards exist or may arise during the work before permitting 
employees to work in that area, and the employer must then give 
specific and appropriate instructions to prevent exposure to unsafe 
conditions. This is particularly important when employees are allowed 
to work in a "designated area" and are not protected by conventional 
fall protection systems.
    Additionally, when general industry employers contract with others 
to provide work at their site, OSHA expects both the host employer and 
contract employer to work together to identify and address fall 
hazards. One method of accomplishing this is to conduct a hazard 
assessment following the guidelines in Appendix B to subpart I of part 
1910, Non-Mandatory Compliance Guidelines for Hazard Assessment and 
Personal Protective Equipment Selection. Another resource is consensus 
standards. ANSI/ASSE Z359.2-2007, Minimum Requirements for a 
Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program, provides procedures for 
eliminating and controlling fall hazards. OSHA, of course, encourages 
employers to go beyond its minimum requirements and to take additional 
measures to address fall hazards in a comprehensive manner, starting 
with a discussion about the elimination of fall hazards and ending with 
a plan to rescue employees if they fall.
    In this proposed rule, OSHA requires employers to protect employees 
performing work from fall hazards, and sets criteria for the proper 
implementation of fall protection through the requirements in subparts 
D and I, specifically in the requirements at Sec. Sec.  1910.28-1910.30 
and Sec.  1910.140.
    In paragraph (a)(2), OSHA proposes to require that employers ensure 
that any walking-working surface on which they allow employees to work 
has the strength and structural integrity to support employees safely. 
OSHA is proposing to add this new requirement, which is identical to 
Sec.  1926.501(a)(2) of the construction fall protection standard, to 
ensure that the surfaces can support the weight of employees, 
equipment, and materials. OSHA's intent is that a simple inspection of 
the work surface be made before work begins. If conditions warrant, a 
more involved inspection will be necessary to ensure the surface is 
safe for employees. OSHA is aware of incidents when employees have 
fallen through floors or roofs because they were not inspected before 
the work began to ensure that the surfaces would support the loads 
imposed (employees, equipment, and material). OSHA believes this is 
particularly true when employees are doing maintenance and servicing 
work of equipment on roofs, platforms, and runways. The hazards 
addressed by the proposed provision are similar to the hazards 
addressed in proposed Sec.  1910.22, a revision of existing Sec.  
1910.22(d), which is concerned with ensuring employees work on surfaces 
that can support them so they will not fall onto or through the 
walking-working surface. The provision in proposed Sec.  1910.28(a)(2), 
while similar to proposed Sec.  1910.22(a) (which requires that 
surfaces be designed, constructed, and maintained free of hazards), is 
intended to focus the attention of the employer on the need to inspect 
work surfaces (especially non-routine work surfaces) before employees 
are required to walk or work on them. It is noted that while some 
surfaces are not specifically designed as a walking or working surface, 
employees walk on or work from them from time to time. OSHA believes 
that this approach is consistent with the approach described in the 
preamble to the construction rule (59 FR 40681).
Paragraph (b) Protection From Fall Hazards
    Proposed paragraph (b) contains 13 requirements that set forth the 
options from which employers may choose to protect employees exposed to 
fall hazards when on a walking-working surface, as defined in proposed 
Sec.  1910.21. OSHA is using the term "walking-working surfaces" 
instead of the existing term "floor" to indicate clearly that subpart 
D addresses all surfaces where employees perform work. The Agency has 
always maintained that the OSHA general industry fall protection 
standards cover all walking-working surfaces. In fact, although OSHA 
never mentioned the term "roof" in the existing rule, it has 
consistently held that falls from roofs are covered by the existing 
rule. OSHA notes that the consensus standards on which the original 
fall protection requirements were based, ANSI A12.1 and A64, now 
combined at ANSI A1264.1, includes the term "roof" in its title. The 
revised rule reaffirms the existing Agency interpretation and practice 
and clarifies the language of the standards in that regard. Also, OSHA 
has consistently held that subpart D addresses the hazards of falling 
from a walking-working surface to any kind of lower level (e.g., solid, 
liquid, or colloid).
    Under paragraph (b) of the proposal, employers are required to 
select and use a fall protection system (or combination of systems) as 
provided by paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(14). Each individual 
paragraph addresses the fall protection needs of particular walking-
working surfaces and lists the fall protection systems that OSHA 
believes are appropriate to those surfaces. Only the systems listed are 
permitted to be used. The revised rule requires essentially the same 
coverage as the existing rule--protection of employees from falls of 4 
feet or more to lower levels, with a few exceptions. One exception is 
when employees are working over dangerous equipment (see proposed 
paragraph( b)(6) below).
In that situation, employees must be protected from 
falls regardless of the height. On the other hand, when employees are 
working on scaffolds or fixed ladders, it is reasonable to allow a 
higher trigger height, hence the 10- and 24-foot (3 and 7.3 m) trigger 
heights proposed. Also, as mentioned above, the proposed general 
industry fall protection standards have been reorganized and formatted 
to be similar to the construction industry fall protection rule to 
bring consistency to the two rules.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(1) sets forth the requirements for fall 
protection from unprotected sides and edges of walking-working 
surfaces. It provides that employees must be protected when they are 
exposed to falls from unprotected sides and edges of walking-working 
surfaces which are 4 feet (1.2 m) or more above lower levels. The 
options from which an employer can choose to provide this protection 
include both conventional systems--guardrail systems, safety net 
systems, personal fall protection systems, and travel restraint 
systems--and having employees work in a "designated area." OSHA 
defines a "designated area" in proposed Sec.  1910.21(b) as a 
distinct portion of a walking-working surface delineated by a perimeter 
warning line in which temporary work may be performed without 
additional fall protection. A "designated area" is similar to a 
"controlled access zone" at construction worksites. Except for the 
"designated area" option, the proposed requirements are essentially 
the same as the existing general industry requirements in Sec.  
1910.23(c) and are similar to the construction standard at Sec.  
1926.501(b)(1).
    This proposed standard does not specify a distance from the edge 
that is considered safe, i.e., a distance at which fall protection is 
not required. Instead, it allows the employer to designate an area in 
which employees can work without fall protection. The criteria for 
designated areas and other fall protection systems are set forth in 
proposed Sec.  1910.29. It is essential for authorized employees in 
designated areas exposed to fall hazards to be trained in accordance 
with provisions set forth in Sec.  1910.30.
    An exception to proposed paragraph (b)(1) applies to the 
unprotected side or edge of the working side of platforms used in 
slaughtering facilities, loading racks, loading docks, and teeming 
tables used in molten metal work. The exception states that when the 
employer demonstrates that use of guardrails on the working side of 
these platforms is infeasible, the work may be done without guardrails 
provided: (1) The work operation for which guardrails are infeasible is 
in process; (2) access to the platform is limited to authorized 
employees; and, (3) the authorized employees have been trained in 
accordance with proposed Sec.  1910.30. Note that the exception is only 
for that part of the guardrail that would normally be installed on the 
working side of the platform. Employees must still be protected from 
falls from the other sides and edges of the platform. When work 
operations for which guardrails are infeasible are not in process, for 
example, during cleaning or maintenance, the exception does not apply. 
This is because OSHA is aware that, in some cases, work cannot be done 
when access is blocked by guardrails, or the guardrails touch carcasses 
and pose a health issue. These situations are not present during 
cleaning or maintenance. The Agency requests comment regarding the 
technological feasibility of requiring other means of fall protection 
(e.g., travel restraint systems) in these applications. Please include 
supporting rationale, as well as information on the costs and benefits 
of such a provision.
    Paragraph (b)(2) proposes fall protection requirements for 
employees in hoist areas of walking-working surfaces that are 4 feet 
(1.2 m) or more above lower levels. Employees must be protected through 
the use of guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, or travel 
restraint systems. If guardrails (or chains or gates if they are being 
used in lieu of guardrails at the hoist area) are removed to facilitate 
hoisting operations, then employees who lean through the access opening 
or out over the edge of the access opening to perform their duties are 
at risk and must be protected by the use of personal fall arrest 
systems. The proposed requirement is consistent with the existing 
general industry standard in Sec.  1910.23(b)(1)(i). Except that the 
trigger height for providing fall protection is 4 feet (1.2 m) in the 
proposed general industry rule, the proposed requirement is also 
consistent with the construction industry standard at 1926.501(b)(3). 
The existing subpart D standard does not address fall protection at 
hoist areas separately from other holes and wall openings. In this 
proposal, holes are addressed in paragraph (b)(3) and wall openings in 
paragraph (b)(7) below. The criteria for grab handles are located at 
proposed Sec.  1910.29(l).
    Paragraph (b)(3) of this proposed rule requires that employees be 
protected from hazards associated with holes. Employees may be injured 
or killed if they step into holes, trip when caught in holes, fall 
through holes, or are hit by objects falling through holes. Some 
workplaces may present all of these hazards while others may have 
fewer. The proposed rule specifies protective measures applicable to 
each hazard.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(3)(i) requires that employees be protected 
from falling into or through holes (including skylight openings) 4 feet 
(1.2 m) or more above lower levels by covers over the hole, erecting a 
guardrail system around the hole, or by the use of a personal fall 
arrest system. Proposed paragraph (b)(3)(ii) requires that covers be 
used to protect employees from tripping in or stepping into holes, and 
proposed paragraph (b)(3)(iii) requires that covers be used to protect 
employees from objects falling through overhead holes. The proposed 
requirements are essentially the same as those in existing general 
industry standards at Sec.  1910.23(a)(4), (a)(8), and (a)(9), and the 
construction standard at Sec.  1926.501(b)(4) except that the trigger 
height for providing fall protection for employees falling through 
holes is 4 feet (1.2 m) in the proposed general industry rule.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(4) addresses fall protection from dockboards 
(bridge plates). Proposed paragraph (b)(4)(i) states that each employee 
on a dockboard (bridge plate) be protected from falling 4 feet (1.2 m) 
or more to lower levels by guardrail or handrail systems, except as 
provided by proposed (b)(4)(ii) of this section. Proposed paragraph 
(b)(4)(ii) provides that no fall protection (guardrail or handrail 
system) is required when motorized equipment is being used on 
dockboards (bridge plates) solely for material handling operations, 
provided that: (A) Employees are exposed to fall hazards of less than 
10 feet (3 m); and (B) employees have been trained as provided by 
proposed Sec.  1910.30. The proposed provision, in permitting employers 
to rely on training rather than on the use of conventional fall 
protection systems, is consistent with the proposed requirements for 
repair pits and assembly pits in Sec.  1910.28(b)(8). An example of 
when this situation might occur would be the transfer of material 
between boxcars. Materials handling exposure is generally of limited 
duration, and requires ready access to the open sides. Guardrails would 
interfere with the transfer and could create a greater hazard to 
employees. The 10-foot (3 m) limitation in proposed paragraph Sec.  
1910.28(b)(4)(ii)(A) is consistent with similar requirements for work 
on elevated surfaces such as scaffolds (see proposed Sec. Sec.  
1910.27, and 1926.451(g)).
Additional requirements related to positioning and securing ramps and 
bridging devices are found in proposed Sec.  1910.26, Dockboards 
(bridge plates).
    In paragraph (b)(5), OSHA proposes that employees on runways and 
similar walkways be protected from falling 4 feet (1.2 m) or more to 
lower levels by guardrails. The proposed paragraph is essentially the 
same as existing Sec.  1910.23(c)(1) and (2) and is consistent with the 
construction standard at Sec.  1926.501(b)(6), except that the trigger 
height for providing fall protection is 4 feet (1.2 m) in the proposed 
general industry rule.
    An exception to proposed paragraph (b)(5) permits runways used for 
special purposes (such as filling tank cars) to have the railing on one 
side omitted when the employer demonstrates that operating conditions 
necessitate such an omission. In these circumstances, the employer must 
minimize the fall hazard by providing a runway that is at least 18 
inches (46 cm) wide, and providing employees with, and ensuring the 
proper use of, personal fall arrest systems or travel restraint 
systems. This proposed exception is consistent with ANSI 1264.1-2007. 
The Agency invites comment on current practices involving runways that 
are used for special purposes. Where are such runways used and how are 
employees who work on them protected?
    Proposed paragraph (b)(6) addresses dangerous equipment. It 
proposes two requirements to protect employees from falling into or 
onto dangerous equipment. Examples of dangerous equipment include 
protruding objects, machinery, pickling or galvanizing tanks, 
degreasing units, or similar equipment. Proposed paragraph (b)(6)(i) 
addresses situations where employees are less than 4 feet (1.2 m) above 
dangerous equipment, and it requires that employees be protected by the 
use of guardrail systems or travel restraint systems unless the 
equipment is covered or otherwise guarded to eliminate the hazard. 
Proposed paragraph (b)(6)(ii) addresses situations where employees are 
more than 4 feet above dangerous equipment, and it requires employees 
to be protected by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall 
arrest systems, or travel restraint systems. OSHA is proposing 
different methods for protecting employees depending on the fall 
distance. The Agency does not believe the use of safety net systems or 
personal fall arrest systems that meet the requirements of proposed 
Sec.  1910.29 are appropriate when the fall distance is less than 4 
feet (1.2 m), since there will not be sufficient distance below the 
employee for the system to work and the employee could make contact 
with the dangerous equipment. The proposed paragraph is essentially the 
same as the existing general industry standard at Sec.  1910.23(c)(3) 
and the construction standard at Sec.  1926.501(b)(8), except that the 
trigger height for providing fall protection is 4 feet (1.2 m) in both 
the proposed and existing general industry rules.
    Paragraph (b)(7) proposes to require protection for employees who 
are exposed to the hazard of falling out or through wall openings. 
Under the proposal, wall openings (defined as a gap or void 30 inches 
(76 cm) or more high and 18 inches (46 cm) or more wide in any wall or 
partition through which employees can fall to a lower level) must be 
equipped with a guardrail system, safety net system, travel restraint 
system, or personal fall arrest system. OSHA believes the most 
practical method of compliance is the guardrail system because it 
provides protection at all times and for all employees who may have 
exposure at the wall opening. However, there may be cases where 
employers choose to use safety net systems, travel restraint systems, 
or personal fall arrest systems, which also will provide an appropriate 
level of protection. For that reason the provision has been written to 
permit the use of these other systems. This provision is essentially 
the same as the existing general industry standard at Sec.  1910.23(b) 
and also with the construction industry rule for wall openings found in 
Sec.  1926.501(b)(14), except that the trigger height for fall 
protection is 4 feet (1.2 m) in both the proposed and existing general 
industry rules.
    The earlier (1990) proposed revision of subpart D proposed that in 
addition to providing conventional fall protection, employers also 
install grab handles on each side of the wall opening whenever the work 
activity required employees to reach through an unprotected opening. 
That requirement was based on existing Sec.  1910.23(b)(1)(i) and 
(e)(10). OSHA is not including a requirement for grab handles at wall 
openings in this proposal because, unlike the 1990 proposal, this 
document contains a separate, specific requirement (see proposed 
paragraph (b)(2) above) for hoist areas, which includes a requirement 
to install grab handles. OSHA is not including the requirement for grab 
handles for all wall openings because OSHA intends that, when employees 
lean out and through a wall opening, that opening constitutes a "hoist 
area" and the requirements of proposed paragraph (b)(2) apply. The use 
of grab handles as a handhold is, of course, permitted at wall 
openings.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(8) is a new provision, proposed to address 
the specific fall hazard created by vehicle repair pits and assembly 
pits. These pits are designed to provide employee access to the 
underside of a vehicle without elevating the vehicle. Typically, a 
vehicle is driven over the pit and the employee enters the pit via a 
flight of stairs. The employee then performs work on the underside of 
the vehicle.
    OSHA currently requires fall protection for these pits, and has 
addressed their hazards through section 5(a)(1) (the general duty 
clause) of the OSH Act. This proposal sets out specific requirements to 
address this fall hazard. Under the proposal, employees exposed to 
falling a distance between 4 and 10 feet (1.2 and 3 m) into a vehicle 
repair pit need not be protected as required in proposed Sec.  
1910.28(b)(1) for unprotected sides and edges, provided the employer 
institutes the three specific work practices that OSHA believes will 
provide an appropriate level of protection. The option to use work 
practices is being proposed in recognition that repair and assembly 
pits present a unique problem in terms of striking a balance between 
protecting employees from falls and ensuring that the employees can 
reach the work area and perform their work. Conventional fall 
protection systems may not always be the most appropriate way to 
protect employees. For example, the use of guardrails for perimeter 
protection could interfere with driving vehicles over, or away from, 
the pit. Likewise, the use of personal fall arrest or travel restraint 
systems might prevent employees from reaching the area where the work 
needs to be performed. Further, once a vehicle is placed over the pit, 
the fall hazard is normally eliminated. The primary fall hazard to 
employees exists when there is no vehicle over the pit, but it is 
OSHA's understanding that employees are unlikely to be in the vicinity 
of a repair pit when there is no vehicle over the pit.
    OSHA believes that adequate fall protection for employees can be 
provided by the methods proposed in paragraph (b)(8). Access to the 
edge (within 6 feet (1.8 m)) of the pit must be limited to trained, 
authorized employees (proposed (b)(8)(i)); the floor must be marked 
(proposed (b)(8)(ii)) to designate the unprotected area; and caution 
signs must be posted to warn employees of the unprotected area 
(proposed (b)(8)(iii)). OSHA believes such a well-marked designated 
area, extending back 6 feet (1.8 m) from the rim of the pit, provides 
sufficient earlywarning to employeesto protect them from 
unexpectedly falling into the pit. 
The use of caution signs that effectively notify employees of the 
presence of the fall hazard would restrict the area to authorized 
employees and would further limit employee exposure to the open 
perimeter. This provision only applies to pits less than 10 feet (3 m) 
deep; however, where employees are exposed to falling 10 feet (3 m) or 
more into a pit, conventional fall protection in accord with proposed 
paragraph (b)(1) must be used. OSHA notes that caution signs must meet 
the requirements of Sec.  1910.145.
    In proposed paragraph (b)(9), OSHA addresses fall hazards related 
to fixed ladders. Under the proposed standard, no fall protection is 
required when employees are exposed to falls from fixed ladders of less 
than 24 feet (7.3 m). Proposed paragraph (b)(9)(i) requires that fixed 
ladders be provided with cages, wells, ladder safety systems, or 
personal fall protection systems where the length of the climb is less 
than 24 feet (7.3 m) but the top of the ladder is more than 24 feet 
(7.3 m) above lower levels. Proposed paragraph (b)(9)(ii) addresses 
fall hazards where the total length of a climb equals or exceeds 24 
feet (7.3 m). In the latter situation, additional measures also apply 
when cages, wells, ladder safety systems, or personal fall protection 
systems are used. If an employer chooses a personal fall protection 
system, rest platforms must be installed at intervals no greater than 
150 feet (45.7 m). If the employer chooses a cage or well, no ladder 
sections may exceed 50 feet (15.2 m) in length, and each section must 
be offset from adjacent sections with landing platforms at maximum 
intervals of 50 feet (15.2 m). If an employer chooses a ladder safety 
system, no additional measures are proposed.
    The existing standard imposes similar requirements but provides 
fewer fall protection options. Section 1910.27(d)(1)(ii) requires that 
either cages or wells be provided "on ladders of more than 20 feet to 
a maximum unbroken length of 30 feet," and Sec.  1910.27(d)(2) 
requires landing platforms at 30-foot (9.1 m) intervals. This language, 
which is based on a 1956 ANSI standard that OSHA adopted in 1971, has 
widely been understood to mean that fall protection is required 
whenever the length of climb is 20 feet (6.1 m) or more. The proposed 
revision is consistent with the national consensus standard for fixed 
ladders, ANSI A14.3-2002. Additionally, as a matter of enforcement 
policy, OSHA has been allowing the use of other fall protection systems 
such as those proposed herein. Thus, the proposed requirement 
represents current industry practice. The proposed requirements are 
also identical to the construction industry standard at Sec. Sec.  
1926.1053(a)(18) and (19).
    In proposed paragraph (b)(10), OSHA addresses fall hazards in the 
outdoor advertising industry. In this industry, employees often climb 
both portable and fixed ladders to reach their destination on the 
advertising billboard platform. OSHA is proposing seven provisions that 
take into consideration the unique nature of the work wherein both 
types of ladders are often used, with the portable ladder being used to 
reach the fixed ladder. The requirements proposed in paragraph (b)(10) 
are more flexible than those of proposed paragraph (b)(9) for fixed 
ladders in that (1) the trigger height for fall protection differs for 
employees engaged in outdoor advertising work and, (2) the method of 
fall protection differs. The proposed requirements reflect a policy 
that OSHA instituted for outdoor advertising work in 1991.
    Specifically, on March 1, 1991 (56 FR 8801), OSHA granted a 
variance to one outdoor advertising employer, and later expanded this 
policy to apply to all outdoor advertising employers. The policy 
allowed some climbing activities to be performed without any 
conventional fall protection (wells, cages, ladder safety systems), 
provided that employees had received specific training and that certain 
work practices (for example, wearing a rest lanyard) were followed. If 
the employee's climb was above 50 feet (15.2 m), however, additional 
requirements applied. These requirements apply only where employees are 
engaged in climbing ladders to reach a billboard platform. Once the 
employees reach the platform (that is, they are no longer climbing a 
ladder), conventional fall protection is required with no exceptions. 
The seven proposed requirements are listed in the following paragraphs.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(10)(i) would apply whenever the length of 
the climb is 50 feet (15.2 m) or less or where the total fall distance 
does not exceed 65 feet (19.8 m) above grade. In this situation, OSHA 
proposes that each employee who climbs a combination of a portable and 
a fixed ladder must wear a body belt or body harness equipped with an 
18 inch (46 cm) rest lanyard that will enable the employee to tie off 
to the fixed ladder.
    In paragraph (b)(10)(ii), OSHA proposes to require that employees 
who climb a combination of a portable and a fixed ladder where the 
length of the fixed ladder climb exceeds 50 feet (15.2 m), or where the 
ladder ascends to heights exceeding 65 feet (19.8 m) from grade, be 
protected through the installation of a ladder safety system for the 
entire length of the fixed ladder climb.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(10)(iii) would require employers to ensure 
that each employee who climbs fixed ladders equipped with ladder safety 
systems use the systems properly and follow appropriate procedures for 
inspection and maintenance of the systems. In paragraph (b)(10)(iv), 
OSHA proposes that all ladder safety systems be properly maintained to 
ensure employee safety. This includes all ladder safety systems, 
regardless of height or date of installation.
    In paragraph (b)(10)(v), OSHA proposes that each employee who 
routinely climbs fixed ladders must undergo training and demonstrate 
the physical capacity to perform the necessary climbs safely. These 
employees must satisfy the criteria for qualified climber found in 
Sec.  1910.29(h). In the 1990 proposed rulemaking (55 FR 13364-66), 
OSHA had also proposed to allow the use of a "qualified climber" 
outside of the outdoor advertising industry. In this proposal, OSHA is 
limiting the use of qualified climbers to the outdoor advertising 
(billboard) industry because, over the last 18 years, there has been 
significant progress in protecting employees generally, and many new, 
easier-to-use fall protection systems are now readily available. In 
fact, anecdotal information as well as enforcement experience indicates 
that there is no reasonable basis for proposing to allow the use of 
qualified climbers in lieu of conventional fall protection outside of 
the outdoor advertising industry.
    In paragraph (b)(10)(vi), OSHA proposes to require that employees 
must have both hands free of tools or material when ascending or 
descending a ladder. This provision is consistent with requirements of 
the national consensus standards in the ANSI/ALI A14 series on ladders, 
and with OSHA ladder standards for the construction industry at Sec.  
1926.1053. The same provision is also proposed in Sec.  1910.23(b)(13) 
and will be applicable, in general, to all employees on ladders to 
ensure that employees keep three points of contact on the ladder at all 
times while ascending or descending.
    In paragraph (b)(10)(vii), OSHA proposes to require that where 
qualified climbers are used, they must be protected by an appropriate 
fall protection system upon reaching their work positions.
    In paragraph (b)(11), OSHA proposes requirements to protect 
employees from falling off stairway landings and from stairs. This 
paragraph addresses fall hazards from both the stairway landing and the 
exposed sides of the stairway. The requirements are essentially the 
same as the existing requirements in Sec.  1910.24(h) to protect 
employees from falls from stairways.
    In paragraph (b)(11)(i), OSHA is proposing that each employee 
exposed to a fall of 4 feet or more to lower levels from an unprotected 
side or edge of a stairway landing be protected by a stair rail or 
guardrail system. The proposal is essentially the same as the existing 
requirement in Sec.  1910.24(h) and the construction industry standard 
for stairway landings in Sec.  1926.1052(c)(12). Unlike proposed Sec.  
1910.28(b)(1) which addresses unprotected sides and edges in general, 
and allows the use of several systems to protect employees from falls, 
unprotected sides and edges of stairway landings must have stair rails 
or guardrails installed. OSHA believes that limiting the fall 
protection options to stair rails or guardrails is necessary because 
the other options listed in proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(1), such as 
safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems, would not be 
appropriate at stairway landings where employees are regularly and 
routinely exposed to falls from the unprotected sides and edges. Stair 
rail or guardrail systems provide for continuous protection.
    In paragraph (b)(11)(ii), OSHA is proposing that employees exposed 
to falls from stairs having three treads and four or more risers be 
protected by stair railing systems and hand rails. Included with the 
proposed provision is a table that sets out the type/number of stair 
rails and handrails required based on the stair width and configuration 
of the stairway. An exception to the table is that handrails must be 
provided on both sides of ship stairs and alternating-tread type 
stairs. The proposed requirements are essentially the same as existing 
Sec.  1910.23(d)(1).
    In proposed paragraph (b)(12), OSHA establishes requirements to 
protect employees on scaffolds and rope descent systems from falls. As 
discussed earlier, OSHA is proposing to remove all the scaffold 
requirements from the general industry standards and require employers 
to comply with the construction industry standards for scaffolds. In 
view of that, OSHA is proposing in paragraph (b)(12)(i) to require that 
employers protect employees from falls from scaffolds by meeting the 
requirements for fall protection already set out in the construction 
industry standards of subpart L, Scaffolds (29 CFR 1926). In general, 
those requirements provide for fall protection whenever employees are 
exposed to falls of 10 feet (3 m) or more above lower levels. The 
existing requirements in subpart D already set the duty to have fall 
protection from scaffolds at or above 10 feet (3 m) from grade, so 
effectively there is no change.
    In proposed paragraph (b)(12)(ii), OSHA requires that employees 
using a rope descent system be protected from falling 4 feet (1.2 m) or 
more to lower levels by a personal fall arrest system meeting the 
requirements in proposed Sec.  1910.140 of subpart I of this part. OSHA 
notes that paragraph (c)(3) of proposed Sec.  1910.140 requires that 
ropes used for fall protection be separate from ropes used to suspend 
the rope descent system. The principle of using independent fall 
protection systems is also reflected in Sec.  1926.502(d)(15).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(13) is a "catch all" provision applicable 
to walking-working surfaces not otherwise addressed and is intended to 
ensure that Sec.  1910.28 covers all fall hazards in general industry. 
It sets forth clearly that all employees exposed to falls of 4 feet 
(1.2 m) or more to lower levels must be protected by a guardrail 
system, safety net system, personal fall arrest system, or travel 
restraint system, except where otherwise provided by proposed Sec.  
1910.28 or by fall protection provisions in other subparts of part 
1910. This provision is intended to facilitate compliance for employers 
who do not fit any of the specific categories set by proposed Sec.  
1910.28. OSHA used this same approach in its fall protection 
requirements for the construction industry at Sec.  1926.501(b)(15). 
The proposed new language expresses the current enforcement practice of 
the Agency, making it clear that employers must address all fall 
hazards in the workplace.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(14) addresses fall protection for floor 
holes such as stairway floor holes and ladderways, and is consistent 
with existing requirements found in Sec.  1910.23(a). Accordingly, as 
with existing Sec.  1910.23(a) (and ANSI A1264.1-2007, Safety 
Requirements for Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces and Their Access; 
Workplace, Floor, Wall and Roof Openings; Stairs and Guardrails 
Systems), some, but not all, of the provisions in this proposed 
paragraph require toeboards when using fixed or removable guardrail 
systems. OSHA requests comment on whether toeboards should be required 
as a part of the guardrail systems used for all floor holes regulated 
under this proposed paragraph. If possible, the comments should provide 
information regarding the need for such a requirement, current industry 
practice, the effectiveness of toeboards in these situations, and the 
cost associated with adding this requirement to provisions of this 
paragraph not proposing to use toeboards.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(14)(i) requires stairway floor holes to be 
guarded by a guardrail system. The railing must be provided on all 
exposed sides except at the entrance to the stairway. For infrequently 
used stairways where traffic across the hole prevents the use of a 
fixed guardrail system (as when located in an aisle), the employer has 
an option to use a guard that consists of a hinged floor-hole cover of 
standard strength and construction and a removable guardrail system on 
all exposed sides except at the entrance to the stairway.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(14)(i) differs slightly from existing Sec.  
1910.23(a) in that it clarifies that use of a hinged floor-hole cover 
is an alternative to using fixed guardrail systems, which is only 
implied in existing Sec.  1910.23(a). The proposed provision also 
defines the term "infrequently" in a manner that is consistent 
proposed Sec.  1910.265, which defines the term "routinely" as "on a 
daily basis." OSHA believes the proposed definition will provide 
employers with helpful information about when use of a hinged floor-
hole cover may be appropriate. With regard to the option to use a 
hinged floor- opening cover, OSHA requests information and comment on 
the use of automatically rising railings that come into position with 
the opening of a load-bearing cover on some infrequently used stairways 
as specified by the explanatory paragraph E3.1 of ANSI/ASSE A1264.1-
2007, Safety Requirements for Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces and 
Their Access; Workplace, Floor, Wall and Roof Openings; Stairs and 
Guardrails Systems. The comments should provide, if possible, 
information regarding the availability of such guardrail systems, the 
prevalence of their use, the cost of the systems (including 
installation), and the protection such systems afford employees 
compared to fixed systems.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(14)(ii) requires that ladderway floor holes 
or platforms be guarded by a guardrail system with toeboards on all 
exposed sides, except at the entrance opening, with passage through the 
railing provided by a swinging gate or offset so that an employee 
cannot walk directly into the hole.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(14)(iii) requires that hatchway and chute-
floor holes be guarded using one of three options. The first option, 
specified in proposed (b)(14)(iii)(A), provides for hinged floor-hole 
covers of standard strength and construction and equipped with 
permanently attached guardrails that only leave one exposed side. When 
the hole is not in use, the cover must be closed, or the exposed side 
must be guarded by a removable guardrail system with top and mid rails. 
The second option, found in proposed paragraph (b)(14)(iii)(B), 
specifies a removable guardrail system with toeboards on not more than 
two sides of the hole and a fixed guardrail with toeboards on all other 
exposed sides. The removable guardrail system must remain in place when 
the hole is not in use. The third option, found in proposed paragraph 
(b)(14)(iii)(C), provides that, when operating conditions require 
feeding material through a hatchway or chute hole, employees be 
protected from falling through the hole by a guardrail system or a 
travel-restraint system meeting the applicable requirements of 29 CFR 
part 1910, subpart I.
    OSHA requests comment on whether there are any other specific 
surfaces, operations, or work activities (e.g., satellite dish 
realignment, chimney cleaning, and sky light maintenance) not addressed 
here in proposed paragraph (b) that should be treated separately. For 
each surface, operation, or activity, please provide the types of fall 
protection that OSHA should permit and provide the reasons why the 
surface, operation, or activity should be treated separately.
    In paragraph (c) of Sec.  1910.28, OSHA proposes to require 
employers to protect employees from injury from falling objects both by 
ensuring the use of head protection, and by complying with one of the 
following provisions: (1) Using toeboards, screens, or guardrail 
systems; (2) erecting a canopy structure over the potential fall area 
and keeping potential falling objects far enough from the edge of the 
higher level so those objects are unlikely to fall, even if they are 
accidentally displaced; or (3) barricading the area into which objects 
could fall, prohibiting employees from entering the barricaded area, 
and keeping objects far enough away from the edge of a higher level so 
those objects are unlikely to fall even if they are accidentally 
displaced. The proposed requirements, patterned after OSHA's 
construction industry standards in Sec.  1926.501(c), clarify the 
intent of the existing general industry requirements in Sec.  
1910.23(b)(5) and (c)(1) pertaining to falling object hazards.
Section 1910.29 Fall Protection Systems Criteria and Practices
    This section of the proposal provides the requirements for fall 
protection systems required by proposed Sec.  1910.28 and by other 
subparts in part 1910 where criteria and practices are not specifically 
required. However, proposed Sec.  1910.29 does not apply where another 
standard in part 1910 already specifies the criteria for a required 
fall protection system. For example, Sec.  1910.269(g) sets a duty to 
use fall protection and also specifies the criteria for some of the 
required systems.
    As explained in proposed Sec.  1910.28, Duty to have fall 
protection, employers who are required by that section to provide fall 
protection must choose a fall protection measure from the options 
provided for the particular activity or operation. Then the employer 
must ensure that the chosen system or practice meets the criteria 
established in proposed Sec.  1910.29. Additionally, as required by 
proposed Sec.  1910.30 and Sec.  1910.132(f), employees must be trained 
in how to use the system, including, where applicable, the installation 
and maintenance of the fall protection system.
    The requirements proposed here, like the requirements proposed in 
Sec.  1910.28, are patterned after the requirements in OSHA's 
construction industry standards. OSHA believes that this approach will 
bring consistency to its fall protection standards and make it easier 
for employers to comply, especially employers who perform work covered 
by both the construction and general industry standards. The criteria 
for personal fall protection systems are located at newly proposed 
Sec.  1910.140 of subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment, which is 
being published as part of this proposal.
Paragraph (a)--General Requirements.
    Proposed paragraph (a) sets general requirements applicable to all 
fall protection systems covered by part 1910. In paragraph (a)(1), OSHA 
proposes that all fall protection systems required throughout part 1910 
conform to the requirements of this section or, where personal fall 
protection systems are used, to subpart I of this part. In proposed 
paragraph (a)(2), OSHA requires that employers provide and install all 
fall protection systems required by this subpart and comply with all 
other pertinent requirements of this subpart (including training) 
before any employee begins work that necessitates the use of fall 
protection. OSHA notes that under existing Sec.  1910.132(h), with few 
exceptions (such as non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear), 
personal protective equipment, including fall protection equipment, 
must be provided by the employer at no cost to the employee.
    OSHA's intent is that fall protection systems be installed, 
permanently where possible, so that the systems are in place and 
available for use whenever there is a potential exposure to fall 
hazards. Because most general industry employers are at fixed sites, 
OSHA envisions that employers will take a proactive approach to 
managing fall hazards and will want to have fall protection systems in 
place at all times. That is, OSHA believes employers will anticipate 
the need for employees to walk or work on surfaces where a potential 
fall hazard exists and install a permanent fall protection system 
(e.g., guardrail system) or attachment (tie-off) point so that fall 
protection is readily available when needed. OSHA believes such 
planning is part of the standard operating procedures for many 
employers as they plan for overall safety at the workplace. Planning 
eliminates the need to use a less protective measure, like a safe work 
practice, when a more conventional method such as a guardrail system, 
restraint system, or personal fall arrest system would be more 
appropriate. OSHA, however, recognizes that there may be some, limited 
situations where the use of less protective, but nonetheless effective, 
measures may be warranted; for example, when the work to be performed 
is of a short term or temporary nature. To illustrate, OSHA does not 
envision that employers will put a permanent guardrail system around 
the perimeter of an entire roof when work on the roof is non-routine. 
When the work is non-routine, they may erect a permanent guardrail 
system on one small area of the roof, or, most likely, establish a 
designated area meeting the criteria in proposed paragraph (d).
Paragraph (b)--Guardrail Systems.
    In paragraph (b), OSHA proposes that all guardrail systems (except 
those used on scaffolds which must comply with applicable part 1926 
requirements) comply with the criteria set forth in proposed paragraphs 
(b)(1) to (b)(15) of this section. The 15 proposed requirements are 
essentially the same as the existing requirements in subpart D, and 
they are nearly identical to the construction industry requirements for 
guardrail systems found in Sec.  1926.502(b). OSHA notes that the 
preamble to the final rule establishing Sec.  1926.502 (59 FR 40733) 
contains explanatory material for each of the provisions proposed for paragraph 
(b) and may provide additional information to assist employers in 
complying with the proposed rules.
    Existing subpart D refers to both "standard railings" and 
"guardrails." In this proposal, the term "standard railings" will 
not be used. OSHA believes that the proposed revisions to the guardrail 
requirements are easier to understand, reflect current work practices, 
and ensure consistency among OSHA rules applicable to guardrails.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(1) requires that the top edge of guardrail 
systems be 42 inches (107 cm), plus or minus 3 inches (8 cm), above the 
walking-working surface.\2\ It also states that, when conditions 
warrant, the top edge of the guardrail system may exceed 45 inches (114 
cm) provided all other conditions of proposed paragraph (b) have been 
met to protect employees from falling through openings in the guardrail 
system. The proposed provision is essentially the same as the existing 
requirement in Sec.  1910.23(e)(1), except that the existing 
requirement does not specifically allow for exceeding the 45-inch (114 
cm) top height requirement. The new language is added because OSHA has 
already adopted this approach in its construction industry standards at 
Sec.  1926.502(b)(1). In the preamble to the final rule for the 
construction industry standard OSHA noted that it was allowing 
employers to exceed the 45-inch (114 cm) height requirement because it 
was aware that there will be situations where work conditions 
necessitate erecting the guardrail so the top edge height is greater 
than 45 inches (114 cm). OSHA believes such conditions may also exist 
in general industry; if so, exceeding the 42-inch (107 cm) height 
requirement would not impact employee safety. For that reason, OSHA is 
proposing the revised language.
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    \2\ OSHA notes that the two previous proposals on walking-
working surfaces included a "grandfather provision" permitting a 
guardrail height of 36 inches, rather than the proposed 42 inches, 
for guardrails installed within 60 days of the effective date of the 
final rule. (See proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(3), 55 FR 13360 (April 
10, 1990) and 68 FR 23528 (May 2, 2003).) The 36-inch grandfather 
provision is not included in this proposal, nor does OSHA consider 
it to be equally safe to the "42 inches nominal" height currently 
required under existing Sec.  1910.23(e). Therefore, to the extent 
that any previous OSHA letters of interpretation characterized a 36-
inch guardrail height as a de minimis violation because of the 
grandfather provision in the two previous proposals, those 
interpretations are hereby superseded. (See, e.g., 08/27/2008 Letter 
to Bryan Cobb and 03/08/1995 Memorandum from John Miles to Byron 
Chadwick.)
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    OSHA is considering a new provision that would allow the use of 
barriers as the functional equivalent of guardrails. This provision 
would permit barriers, such as parapets, to be as low as 30 inches (76 
cm) in height, provided the sum of the depth of the top of the barrier 
and the height of the top edge of the barrier is at least 48 inches 
(1.2 m). For example, at the minimum height of 30 inches, an 18-inch 
width would be required. The Agency requests comment regarding the 
technological feasibility of this proposed provision requiring other 
means of fall protection (e.g., travel restraint systems) in these 
applications. Please include supporting rationale, as well as 
information on the costs and benefits of such a provision.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2) requires midrails, screens, mesh, 
intermediate vertical members, or equivalent intermediate structural 
members to be installed between the top edge of the guardrail system 
and the walking-working surface when there is no wall or parapet wall 
at least 21 inches (53 cm) high to keep employees from falling through 
the opening. The proposed provision is essentially the same as the 
existing requirements in Sec.  1910.23(e)(1) and (e)(3)(v)(c), and in 
the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.502(b)(2).
    In proposed paragraphs (b)(2)(i) through (iv) OSHA establishes 
requirements for midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical 
members, and other structural members. Proposed paragraph (b)(2)(i) 
specifies that when midrails are used to comply with proposed paragraph 
(b)(2), they must be installed midway between the top edge of the 
guardrail system and the walking-working level. Proposed paragraphs 
(b)(2)(ii), (iii), and (iv) address the proper placement of screens, 
mesh, intermediate vertical members, and other structural members when 
they are used in lieu of midrails in the guardrail system.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(3) requires guardrail systems to be capable 
of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 200 pounds (890 
N) applied within 2 inches (5 cm) of the top edge, in any outward or 
downward direction at any point along the top edge. Proposed paragraph 
(b)(4) requires that when the 200-pound load is applied in a downward 
direction, the top edge of the guardrail must not deflect to a height 
less than 39 inches (99 cm) above the walking-working level. Deflection 
is specified for the top edge because that is the point an employee is 
most likely to fall against and it must be high enough, at all times, 
to prevent the employee from falling over the top rail. The proposed 
provisions are essentially the same as the existing requirements in 
Sec.  1910.23(e)(3)(v)(b). and in the construction industry standard at 
Sec.  1926.502(b)(3) and (b)(4).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(5) requires midrails, screens, mesh, 
intermediate vertical members, solid panels, and equivalent structural 
members to be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at 
least 150 pounds (667 N) applied in any downward or outward direction 
at any point along the midrail or other member. The existing standard 
does not contain a strength requirement for midrails and this omission 
has caused confusion among employers. The proposed provision is nearly 
identical to OSHA's construction industry standard at Sec.  
1926.502(b)(5). In that rule, OSHA explained that it chose the 150 
pound strength test because it had determined that midrails need not be 
as strong as top rails to provide appropriate protection. OSHA also 
determined that a limit on deflection was not needed for midrails and 
other members.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(6) requires guardrail systems to be surfaced 
to prevent injury to an employee from punctures or lacerations and to 
prevent snagging of clothing. The provision is based on existing Sec.  
1910.23(e)(1) and (e)(3)(v)(a) and OSHA's construction industry 
standard at Sec.  1926.502(b)(6).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(7) requires employers to ensure that the 
ends of all top rails and midrails do not overhang the terminal posts, 
except where such overhang does not constitute a projection hazard. The 
proposed provision is essentially the same as existing Sec.  
1910.23(e)(1) and OSHA's construction industry standard at Sec.  
1926.502(b)(7).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(8) prohibits steel banding and plastic 
banding from being used as top rails or midrails. While this banding 
can often withstand a 200-pound load, it can tear easily if twisted. In 
addition, banding often has sharp edges which can cut a hand if seized. 
This proposed requirement is similar to a requirement found in OSHA's 
construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.502(b)(8).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(9) requires top rails and midrails of 
guardrail systems to have at least a 0.25-inch (0.6 cm) diameter or 
thickness. OSHA believes that the minimum thickness requirement is 
needed to prevent the use of rope that could cause cuts or lacerations. 
This requirement is based on the construction industry standard at 
Sec.  1926.502(b)(9). The proposed requirement supplements the strength
requirement proposed in (b)(3), (4), and (5) of this section. The 
purpose of this requirement is to assure that top rails and midrails 
made of high strength materials are not so thin that a worker grabbing 
a rail is injured by cuts or lacerations because of the small size of 
the rail.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(10) requires that when guardrail systems are 
used at hoisting areas, a chain gate or removable guardrail section 
must be placed across the access opening between guardrail sections 
when hoisting operations are not taking place. The proposed requirement 
simply clarifies the requirements of existing Sec.  1910.23(a)(3)(ii) 
and (b)(1)(i). It is identical to OSHA's construction industry standard 
at Sec.  1926.502(b)(10).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(11) requires that when guardrail systems are 
used at holes, they must be erected on all unprotected sides or edges 
of the hole. This requirement is identical to OSHA's construction 
industry standard at Sec.  1926.502(b)(11).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(12) requires that when guardrail systems are 
used around floor holes used for the passage of materials, the hole 
must have not more than two sides provided with removable guardrail 
sections to allow for the passage of materials. When the hole is not in 
use, it must either be closed over with a cover, or a guardrail system 
must be provided along all unprotected sides or edges. This requirement 
is based on existing Sec.  1910.23(a)(8)(ii) and is the same as the 
construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.502(b)(12). It is intended 
to prevent employees from falling into the hole.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(13) requires that when guardrail systems are 
used around holes used as points of access (such as ladderway 
openings), they must either be provided with a gate, or be offset so 
that a person cannot walk directly into the hole. This requirement is 
essentially the same as the existing standard at Sec.  1910.23(a)(2), 
the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.502(b)(13), and the 
national consensus standard, ANSI A1264.1-2007, American National 
Standard--Safety Requirements for Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces 
and Their Access; Workplace, Floor, Wall and Roof Openings; Stairs and 
Guardrail Systems.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(14) requires that guardrail systems used on 
ramps and runways be erected along each unprotected side or edge. This 
requirement is essentially the same as the construction industry 
standard at Sec.  1926.502(b)(14) for ramps and runways.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(15) requires manila, plastic, or synthetic 
rope being used for top rails or midrails to be inspected as frequently 
as necessary to ensure that it continues to meet the strength 
requirements of proposed paragraph (b)(3) of this section. OSHA 
believes frequent inspection is necessary for ropes made of these 
materials to ensure that they do not deteriorate and lose strength. 
This requirement is the same as OSHA's construction industry standard 
at Sec.  1926.502(b)(15).
    Proposed paragraph (b)(16) requires guardrail systems used on 
scaffolds to meet the applicable requirements set forth in part 1926 of 
this chapter. As discussed above in proposed Sec.  1910.27, Scaffolds 
and rope descent systems, OSHA is proposing to remove the general 
industry requirements for scaffolds, and instead require compliance 
with the construction industry requirements for scaffolds. The 
construction industry requirements specifying the criteria for 
guardrails used on scaffolds differ from the requirements proposed for 
guardrails used on other surfaces. Therefore, OSHA proposes to add new 
paragraph (b)(16) for consistency, and to promote compliance and 
eliminate confusion since many employers who use scaffolds perform both 
general industry and construction work.
Paragraph (c)--Safety Net Systems
    Proposed paragraph (c) requires safety net systems used in general 
industry to meet the criteria and use requirements for safety net 
systems already promulgated for the construction industry at Sec.  
1926.502(c). There are no requirements in existing subpart D or 
elsewhere in part 1910 (the general industry standards) that address 
safety net systems. OSHA believes, however, that there are situations, 
especially in maintenance work, where, due to the unsuitability of 
guardrail systems or personal fall protection systems, the use of a 
safety net system is an appropriate means of employee protection. OSHA 
believes that safety net systems used in general industry should be 
subject to the same requirements already promulgated for the 
construction industry. Those requirements were based on the national 
consensus standard for safety nets (i.e., ANSI A10.11-1989). Rather 
than repeating all of those requirements here, OSHA proposes to simply 
require that where safety net systems are used, they meet the 
requirement of Sec.  1926.502(c). A complete discussion of each of the 
requirements and an explanation of their meaning can be found in the 
preamble to the construction fall protection rule of August 9, 1994, at 
59 FR 40699 to 40702.
    OSHA requests comment on whether requiring compliance with the 
construction rule is appropriate or whether OSHA should repeat each of 
those requirements in the general industry standard. OSHA believes 
safety net systems will not be used in general industry as often as 
other fall protection systems and, therefore, it would not be an 
inconvenience to require employers to follow the construction industry 
rules in part 1926 without repeating them here. This is the same 
approach OSHA is proposing for scaffolds used in general industry; see 
the discussion at Sec.  1910.27 above. OSHA notes that the requirements 
for safety net systems codified in part 1926 are essentially the same 
as those prescribed in the most current version of ANSI A10.11-1989 
(R1998), American National Standard for Construction and Demolition 
Operations--Personal and Debris Nets.
Paragraph (d)--Designated Areas
    OSHA is proposing new requirements in paragraph (d) regarding the 
use of "designated areas." OSHA is proposing to allow the use of 
designated areas, in some instances, as an alternative to providing 
conventional fall protection. A designated area, defined in proposed 
Sec.  1910.21, is a section of a walking-working surface around which a 
perimeter line has been erected so that employees within the area are 
warned, when they see or contact the line, that they are approaching a 
fall hazard. As required by proposed Sec.  1910.30(a)(2)(iii), 
employees working in designated areas must be trained in how to work 
safely inside those area.
    Designated areas may only be used for temporary, relatively 
infrequent work; for instance, when employees are sent to the center of 
the roof of a structure to perform maintenance on machinery, such as 
air conditioning equipment. The Agency anticipates that setting up and 
maintaining a warning line system, as specified in this proposed 
paragraph, around a designated area will ensure that affected employees 
can perform their work free from fall hazards. The construction 
industry standard, Sec.  1926.501(b)(10), provides for use of a warning 
line system (in conjunction with other protection) when employees are 
performing roofing work on low-sloped roofs, and Sec. Sec.  
1926.501(b)(9) and 1926.502(k), permit the use of "controlled access 
zones" in other situations. To ensure OSHA standards regulate 
comparable work situations consistently, the Agency is basing
proposed paragraph (d) on the construction industry standards for 
warning line systems. The Agency requests comments and supporting 
rational on the appropriateness of using the construction industry 
requirements for controlled access zones (found at Sec.  1926.502(g)) 
in lieu of its use of the construction industry requirements for 
warning lines. Among other differences, warning line systems require 
the line between stanchions to have a 500-pound tensile strength, 
whereas the controlled access zone only requires a 200-pound tensile 
strength.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(1) sets conditions for the use of designated 
areas, requiring that employers ensure that employees remain in the 
designated area during work operations, that the work be of a temporary 
nature, that the slope of the surface be 10 degrees or less from the 
horizontal, and that the designated area be surrounded by a rope, wire, 
or chain supported by stanchions meeting the criteria in proposed 
paragraphs (d)(2) through (d)(4). The 10 degree slope limitation 
reflects OSHA's belief that the designated area approach is only 
appropriate for surfaces that have a slight slope (pitch) or 
unevenness. In particular, OSHA is concerned that a warning line system 
would not work on a surface that has a slope of more than 10 degrees 
because visibility and the employee's ability to stop when the warning 
line is contacted could not be ensured.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(2), which is consistent with Sec. Sec.  
1926.502(f)(2) and 1926.502(g)(3), provides criteria for the materials 
used to establish designated areas. Proposed paragraph (d)(2)(i) 
requires that stanchions with rope, wire, or chain attached be capable 
of resisting, without tipping over, a force of at least 16 pounds (71 
N) applied horizontally against the stanchion at a height of 30 inches 
(76 cm) above the working surface, perpendicular to the designated area 
line, and in the direction of the exposed edge. OSHA believes that the 
ability to resist a force of 16 pounds (71 N) ensures that an employee 
is adequately warned that the edge of the designated area has been 
reached.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(2)(ii) requires that the rope, wire, or 
chain used to demarcate designated areas have a minimum breaking or 
tensile strength of 500 pounds (2.2 kN). In addition, after being 
attached to the stanchions, the line must support, without breaking, 
the 16 pound (71 N) force applied to the stanchion. This performance 
requirement assures that the line is durable and capable of functioning 
as intended, regardless of how far apart the stanchions are placed. In 
addition, the minimum tensile strength of 500 pounds (2.2 kN) assures 
that the line is made of material more substantial than string, such as 
wire, chain, rope, or heavy cord. OSHA believes that this minimum 
tensile strength is not an unreasonable burden on employers; however, 
comments are requested on the appropriateness of this requirement.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(2)(iii) requires that the line be attached 
at each stanchion in such a way that pulling on one section of the line 
between stanchions will not result in slack being taken up in adjacent 
sections before a stanchion tips over. To maximize the warning 
capabilities of the line demarcating the designated area, the proposal 
limits the amount of potential slack in the system. Slack in the line 
decreases its warning properties.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(2)(iv), which is also consistent with 
Sec. Sec.  1926.502(f)(2) and 1926.502(g)(3), requires that the height 
of the designated area line be no less than 34 inches (86 cm) nor more 
than 39 inches (99 cm) from the work surface. This height is low enough 
to warn a short employee while the worker is stooped over, and at the 
same time, it is high enough not to be a tripping hazard for taller 
workers.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(2)(v) requires the perimeter of the 
designated area to be readily visible from a distance up to 25 feet 
(7.6 m) away, or at the maximum distance a worker may be positioned 
away from the line, whichever is less. This criterion is provided so 
that the lines will be readily apparent and can effectively warn 
employees to stay away from fall hazards. OSHA does not believe that 
flagging, as required in Sec. Sec.  1926.502(f)(2)(i) and 
1926.502(g)(3)(i), is necessary for a designated area. In general 
industry, work is usually performed at a fixed location, while in 
construction there is a greater need for aids to visibility (such as 
flagging) because the work location, including the fall hazard, shifts 
from one part of the roof to another.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(3) sets forth how the designated area is to 
be established. Proposed paragraph (d)(3)(i) requires that stanchions 
be erected as close around the work area as permitted by the work task. 
This criterion is included to make the stanchions as obvious as 
possible without interfering with the work.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(3)(ii), which is consistent with Sec. Sec.  
1926.502(f)(1)(i) and 1926.502(g)(1), requires that the perimeter of 
the designated area be erected at least 6 feet (1.8 m) from the exposed 
edge of the fall hazard. OSHA believes that the 6-foot (1.8 m) distance 
is sufficient to allow an employee to stop moving toward the fall 
hazard after realizing that the perimeter line has been contacted. This 
distance would also provide an adequate safety zone should an employee 
trip and fall at the edge of the designated area.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(3)(iii), which is consistent with Sec.  
1926.502(f)(1)(ii), requires that when mobile mechanical equipment is 
being used, the line be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 m) from the 
unprotected side or edge which is parallel to the direction of 
mechanical equipment operation, and not less than 10 feet (3 m) from 
the unprotected side or edge perpendicular to the direction of 
mechanical equipment operation. The proposed criterion provides 
additional distance for the employee to stop moving towards the hazard, 
taking into account the extra momentum of the equipment being used.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(4) requires that access to the designated 
area be made by a clear path formed by two warning lines attached to 
stanchions that meet the strength, height, and visibility requirements 
of proposed (d)(2) above. This proposed provision was adopted from the 
requirements in the construction industry standard at Sec.  
1926.502(f)(1)(iii). That standard requires access paths when warning 
line systems are used during roofing work performed on low sloped 
roofs. As discussed earlier, the concept of "designated areas" is 
based on the construction industry requirements for warning line 
systems and controlled access zones. OSHA requests comment on whether 
an access path is reasonably necessary to protect employees in general 
industry as they travel to and from designated areas. Specifically, 
should OSHA remove, keep, or alter this provision in the final rule?
Paragraph (e)--Covers
    Proposed paragraph (e) sets requirements for covers used to protect 
employees from falling into holes in floors, roofs, roadways, and other 
walking-working surfaces. Except for proposed (e)(4), the proposed 
requirements are a consolidation and revision of existing requirements 
related to covers found in Sec. Sec.  1910.23(a)(7), (8), and (9) and 
1910.23(e)(7) and (8). They are consistent with the requirements for 
covers found in the construction industry standards at Sec.  
1926.502(i). The proposed requirements are written in performance 
language and replace the specification language of the existing 
standard.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(1) requires that covers located in roadways 
and vehicular aisles be capable of supporting, without failure,
at least twice the maximum axle load of the largest vehicle expected
to cross over the cover. The proposed requirement is a revision 
of the existing requirements in Sec.1910.23(e)(7)(i) and (e)(7)(ii)  
and has been rewritten in favor of the performance-oriented approach 
used in the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.502(i)(1).
    Proposed paragraph (e)(2) requires that all other covers must be 
capable of supporting at least twice the weight of employees, 
equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one 
time. OSHA believes that compliance with the proposed paragraph would 
adequately protect employees who traverse covers. The provision is 
identical to the construction industry requirement at Sec.  
1926.502(i)(2). The Agency requests comment on whether the distinction 
made between (e)(1) and (e)(2) is useful, or if proposed paragraph 
(e)(1) should be removed because of the apparent redundancy between it 
and paragraph (e)(2).
    Proposed paragraph (e)(3) requires that covers be secured when 
installed so as to prevent accidental displacement, e.g., by wind, 
equipment, or employees. This provision clarifies the requirement in 
existing Sec.  1910.23(a)(9) that floor opening covers be held firmly 
in place and ensure that employers anticipate and take precautions 
against all possible causes of cover displacement. The proposed 
requirement is nearly identical to the construction industry standard 
at Sec.  1926.502(i)(3).
    Proposed paragraph (e)(4) requires that covers be color-coded or 
marked with the word "HOLE" or "COVER" to provide warning of the 
hazard. An exception to proposed paragraph (e)(4) states that the 
provision does not apply to cast iron manhole covers or steel grates 
such as those used on streets or roadways. This is a new requirement 
based on the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.502(i)(4). 
OSHA is proposing to add the requirement to the general industry 
standard for the same reason it was added to the construction industry 
standard. Many commenters to the construction industry standard noted 
that covers should be color-coded or marked because alerting employees 
that the cover is over a hole could prevent them from accidentally 
walking into the hole. OSHA requests comment on the need to include 
proposed (e)(4) in the final rule, and also for information on the 
extent to which employers are already marking or color-coding covers.
Paragraph (f)--Handrail and Stair Rail Systems
    Proposed paragraph (f) would set requirements for handrail and 
stair rail systems to protect employees from falling. Proposed 
paragraph (f)(1) establishes height requirements for handrails and 
stair rail systems. Proposed paragraph (f)(1)(i) requires that the 
height of handrails be between 30 inches (76 cm) and 37 inches (94 cm), 
from the top of the handrail to the surface of the tread in line with 
the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread. Existing Sec.  
1910.23(e)(5)(ii) requires that handrails be between 30 and 34 inches 
(76 and 86 cm) in height. The proposed requirement is consistent with 
the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.1052(c)(6). OSHA 
intends that the proposed change will not require any change to 
handrails that meet the existing standard.
    Proposed paragraph (f)(1)(ii) is a revision of existing Sec.  
1910.23(e)(2) and requires the height of stair rails installed 90 days 
after the effective date of the final rule to be not less than 36 
inches (91 cm). The existing standard sets a limit between 30 (76 cm) 
and 34 inches (86 cm), and the proposed rule would continue to allow 
stair rails installed before the new requirement takes effect to be at 
least 30 inches (76 cm) from the upper surface of the tread. The 
proposed paragraph raises the minimum height of new stair rails 6 
inches (15 cm) and removes the existing maximum height requirement. The 
proposed requirement is consistent with the construction industry 
requirement at Sec.  1926.1052(c)(3). Like the construction rule, it is 
based on a recommendation in a study conducted by the University of 
Michigan (OSHA-S041-2006-0666-0004). As discussed in the preamble to 
the construction industry final rule (55 FR 47668), that study showed 
that the minimum height for stair railings should be 42 inches (107 cm) 
and suggests that even 42 inches may be too low. Additionally, the 
applicable national consensus standard, ANSI A1264.1-2007, prescribes 
that the minimum height of stair rails be 34 inches (86 cm) and the 
upper height at 42 inches (107 cm). OSHA believes that setting the 
minimum height at 36 inches (91 cm) will afford a reasonable level of 
safety to employees. However, OSHA requests comment on whether it 
should raise the minimum height to 42 inches (107 cm) to be within the 
recommended range of the University of Michigan study.
    OSHA also requests comment on whether it should set a maximum 
height for stair rail systems. OSHA is proposing to delete the current 
upper height limit of 34 inches (86 cm) because an upper height limit 
serves no purpose. The purpose of the stair rail system is to prevent 
employees from falling over the edge of open-sided stairways. 
Eliminating the upper limit would allow employers flexibility to 
install safer systems.
    Proposed paragraph (f)(1)(iii) is a new provision which permits a 
stair rail to serve as a handrail when the height of the top edge is 
not more than 37 inches (94 cm) nor less than 36 inches (91 cm) when 
measured at the forward edge of the tread surface. OSHA believes a 
single system may perform the function of both a stair rail and 
handrail provided the rail is at the appropriate height. The proposed 
requirement is consistent with a similar requirement in the 
construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.1052(c)(7) and provides 
greater flexibility without reducing safety.
    Proposed paragraph (f)(2) continues the existing requirement in 
Sec.  1910.23(e)(6) that there be a minimum clearance of 3 inches (8 
cm) between a handrail and any obstructions. The existing rule is 
consistent with the construction industry requirement at Sec.  
1926.1052(c)(11). In the earlier (1990) rulemaking, OSHA proposed that 
the requirement be revised to require 1.5 inches (4 cm) of clearance. 
OSHA's basis for the 1990 proposal was to be consistent with many local 
building codes; the applicable national consensus standard at the time, 
ANSI A12.1-1973; the draft revision to it, ANSI A1264.1; and ANSI 
A117.1-1986, Providing Accessibility and Usability for Physically 
Handicapped People (Ref. 52 in Docket S-041). However, the 2007 
revision to the ANSI A1264.1 standard sets 2.25 inches (6 cm) rather 
than 1.5 inches (4 cm) as the appropriate clearance; no reason is 
provided. OSHA does not believe that \3/4\ inch (2 cm) represents a 
significant difference and is of the opinion that consistency between 
the construction and general industry provisions will eliminate 
potential confusion and ease compliance. Nonetheless, OSHA requests 
comment on whether it should revise this provision to set the minimum 
clearance at 2.25-inch (6 cm) as does the national consensus standard.
    In paragraph (f)(3), OSHA proposes a minor revision to existing 
Sec.  1910.23(e)(1) for stair rails and Sec.  1910.23(e)(5)(i) for 
handrails. The proposed provision, like the existing provisions, would 
require the rails to be smooth-surfaced to prevent injury from 
puncture, laceration, or snagging hazards. The revised provision is 
written in clearer language. A similar provision has been proposed 
in Sec.  1910.29(b)(6) for the top rail of guardrail systems.
The proposed requirement is consistent with the construction 
industry  standard at Sec.  1926.1052(c)(8).
    Proposed paragraph (f)(4), based on existing Sec.  1910.23(e), 
requires that the openings in stair rail systems be a maximum of 19 
inches (48 cm) in their least dimension. The proposed requirement is 
consistent with the requirement for openings in guardrail systems in 
proposed paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section, which in turn is based 
on a study by the former National Bureau of Standards (now known as the 
National Institute of Standards and Technology) (Ref. 11 to Docket S-
041). It is also consistent with the construction industry standards at 
Sec.  1926.1052(c)(4) for openings in stair rails and with Sec.  
1926.502(b)(2)(iii) and (iv) pertaining to the size of openings in 
construction guardrail systems.
    Proposed paragraph (f)(5), which is based on existing Sec.  
1910.23(e)(5)(i), requires handrails to provide a firm handhold for 
employees. The proposed provision is consistent with the construction 
industry standard at Sec.  1926.1052(c)(9).
    Proposed paragraph (f)(6), which is also based on existing Sec.  
1910.23(e)(5)(i), requires stair rail systems to be designed and 
constructed so that their ends do not present a projection hazard into 
which employees may inadvertently walk. The proposed provision is 
consistent with the construction industry standard at Sec.  
1926.1052(c)(10).
    Proposed paragraph (f)(7) requires handrails and the top rails of 
stair rail systems to be capable of withstanding, without permanent 
deformation or a loss of support, a force of at least 200 pounds (890 
N) applied within two inches (5 cm) of the top edge, in any downward or 
outward direction, at any point along the top edge. This is a minor 
revision of existing Sec.  1910.23(e)(3)(iv) and (e)(5)(iv), and 
clarifies the design criteria for handrails and stair rails. It is 
consistent with the construction industry standards for stair rail 
systems in Sec.  1926.1052(c)(5).
Paragraph (g)--Cages, Wells, and Platforms Used With Fixed Ladders
    Proposed paragraph (g) establishes criteria for cages, wells, and 
platforms used with fixed ladders. The proposed requirements are a 
revision of the existing criteria located at Sec.  1910.27(d).
    Proposed paragraph (g)(1) requires that where cages and wells are 
installed on fixed ladders, they must be designed to permit easy access 
to or egress from the ladders that they enclose. The cages and wells 
must be continuous throughout the length of the fixed ladder except for 
access, egress, and other transfer points. Cages and wells must be 
designed and constructed to contain employees in the event of a fall 
and to direct them to a lower landing. The current standards, in Sec.  
1910.27(d), provide detailed specifications for the construction of 
cages and wells used on fixed ladders. OSHA has eliminated these 
specifications in this proposal in favor of performance requirements 
that address the necessary characteristics for providing proper cages 
and wells. OSHA believes that the existing specifications are too 
design restrictive, and that the use of performance language will allow 
employers the flexibility to install cages and wells that fit a 
particular situation, without compromising employee protection.
    Proposed paragraph (g)(2) requires that the landing platforms on 
fixed ladders have a horizontal surface of at least 24 inches by 30 
inches (61 cm by 76 cm). The criteria for the platform size in the 
proposed requirement is the same as existing Sec.  1910.27(d)(2)(ii) 
and is also found in ANSI A14.3-2002. Platforms used on fixed ladders, 
like other platforms, must conform to the requirements set forth in 
proposed Sec.  1910.22(b). That is, platforms must be strong enough to 
support the loads imposed on them.
Paragraph (h)--Qualified Climbers
    Proposed paragraph (h) sets forth the criteria that employees must 
meet to be considered qualified climbers. The option to use a qualified 
climber in lieu of providing positive fall protection is only permitted 
in certain outdoor advertising operations, as established in proposed 
Sec.  1910.28(b)(10). As provided in proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(10), 
upon reaching the platform, an employee must use fall protection. The 
criteria and performance requirements proposed here are based on the 
criteria requirements OSHA has enforced in the outdoor advertising 
industry as part of a variance originally granted to Gannett Outdoor 
Advertising on March 1, 1991 (56 FR 8801). The policy expressed in that 
variance was later extended to all employers engaged in outdoor 
advertising under a compliance directive (i.e., STD 01-01-014) (Ex. 4).
    Proposed paragraph (h)(1) requires that a qualified climber be 
physically capable of performing the duties that may be assigned, as 
demonstrated through observations of actual climbing activities or by a 
physical examination.
    Proposed paragraph (h)(2) requires that a qualified climber have 
successfully completed a training or apprenticeship program that 
included hands-on training for the safe climbing of ladders, and that 
the climber be retrained as necessary to ensure the critical skills are 
maintained. This requirement is in addition to the training 
requirements in proposed Sec.  1910.30.
    Proposed paragraph (h)(3) requires the employer to ensure, through 
performance observations and formal classroom or on-the-job training, 
that the qualified climber has the skill to safely perform the climb.
    Proposed paragraph (h)(4) requires that qualified climbers have 
climbing duties as one of their routine work activities. This is 
necessary to assure that they maintain climbing proficiency.
Paragraph (i)--Ladder Safety Systems
    Proposed paragraph (i) establishes system performance and use 
criteria applicable to ladder safety systems. Existing subpart D, at 
Sec.  1910.27(d)(5), permits the use of ladder safety systems (formerly 
called ladder safety devices), but does not specify criteria for them. 
The criteria proposed are based on the requirements for ladder safety 
systems in the construction industry standard for fixed ladders at 
Sec. Sec.  1926.1053(a)(22) and (23) and the applicable national 
consensus standard for fixed ladders, ANSI A14.3-2002, Safety Standards 
for Ladders--Fixed.
    Proposed paragraph (i)(1) specifies that ladder safety systems must 
permit the employee using the system to ascend or descend without 
continually having to hold, push, or pull any part of the system, 
leaving both hands free for climbing. The proposed requirement is 
consistent with ANSI A14.3 and the construction industry standard at 
Sec.  1926.1053(a)(22)(ii).
    Proposed paragraph (i)(2) specifies that the connection between the 
carrier or lifeline and the point of attachment to the body belt or 
harness must not exceed 9 inches (23 cm) in length. The proposed 
requirement is consistent with ANSI A14.3 and the construction industry 
standard at Sec.  1926.1053(a)(22)(iv).
    Proposed paragraph (i)(3) specifies that mountings for rigid 
carriers must be attached at each end of the carrier, with intermediate 
mountings, as necessary, spaced along the entire length of the carrier 
to provide the strength necessary to stop employee falls. The proposed 
requirement is consistent with ANSI A14.3 and the construction industry 
standard at Sec.  1926.1053(a)(23)(i). OSHA notes that the 
manufacturer's recommendations should indicate the need for, and number 
of, intermediate mountings; for that reason, OSHA uses
the phrase "as necessary" rather than the use of more specific 
terminology.
    Proposed paragraph (i)(4) requires mountings for flexible carriers 
to be attached at each end of the carrier. It further requires that 
cable guides utilized with a flexible carrier be installed at a minimum 
spacing of 25 feet (7.6 m) and a maximum spacing of 40 feet (12.2 m) 
along the entire length of the carrier. The proposed requirement is 
consistent with ANSI A14.3 and the construction industry standard at 
Sec.  1926.1053(a)(23)(ii).
    Proposed paragraph (i)(5) specifies that the design and 
installation of mountings and cable guides must not reduce the design 
strength of the ladder. The proposed requirement is consistent with 
ANSI A14.3 and the construction industry standard at 
1926.1053(a)(23)(iii).
    Proposed paragraph (i)(6) sets the performance criteria for ladder 
safety systems, requiring that ladder safety systems and their support 
systems be capable of withstanding, without failure, a drop test 
consisting of an 18-inch (46 cm) drop of a 500-pound (227 kg) weight. 
The proposed requirement is consistent with ANSI A14.3 and the 
construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.1053(a)(22)(i).
    OSHA notes that where personal fall protection systems are used to 
protect employees from falls from ladders, those systems must meet the 
requirements of subpart I of this part.
Paragraph (j)--Personal Fall Protection Systems
    Proposed paragraph (j) requires that body belts, body harnesses, 
and other components used in personal fall arrest systems, work 
positioning systems, travel restraint systems, or other fall protection 
systems meet the applicable requirements of subpart I of this part.
Paragraph (k)--Protection From Falling Objects
    Proposed paragraph (k) sets forth the performance criteria for 
toeboards, guardrails, and canopies used to provide employee protection 
from falling objects. Paragraph (c) of Sec.  1910.28 requires employers 
to protect employees from falling objects. The proposed requirements 
reflect existing criteria in Sec.  1910.23(e)(4) for toeboards and 
other measures used to provide this protection and include new criteria 
that must be met when canopies are used to provide protection. The 
proposed requirements are identical to those in the construction 
standards at 29 CFR 1926.502(j).
    Proposed paragraph (k)(1) requires that where toeboards are used, 
they must be erected along the edge of overhead walking-working 
surfaces for a distance sufficient to protect any employee working 
below.
    Proposed paragraph (k)(2) specifies that toeboards must be a 
minimum of 3.5 inches (9 cm) in vertical height from their top edge to 
the level of the walking-working surface. Additionally, toeboards must 
have a clearance of not more than 0.25 inch (0.5 cm) above the walking-
working surface, and the toeboards must be solid or have no opening 
over 1 inch (3 cm) in the greatest dimension. An exception to this 
requirement applies when toeboards are used around repair, service, and 
assembly pits. In those cases, the toeboards must be at least 2.5 
inches (6 cm) high. When employers can demonstrate that toeboards would 
prevent access to vehicles over pits, the toeboards may be omitted.
    Proposed paragraph (k)(3) specifies that where tools, equipment, or 
materials are piled higher than the top edge of a toeboard, then 
paneling or screening must be erected from the walking-working surface 
or toeboard to the top of a guardrail system's top rail or midrail for 
a distance sufficient to protect employees below.
    Proposed paragraph (k)(4) specifies that toeboards must be capable 
of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 50 pounds (222 N) 
applied in any downward or outward direction at any point along the 
toeboard.
    Proposed paragraph (k)(5) requires that, when guardrails are used 
as falling object protection, openings must be small enough to prevent 
passage of potential falling objects that could injure workers below.
    Proposed paragraph (k)(6) requires that when canopies are used, 
they must be strong enough to prevent collapse or penetration when 
struck by falling objects.
Paragraph (l)--Grab handles
    In paragraph (l), OSHA proposes that where grab handles are used, 
they be at least 12 inches (30 cm) in length and be mounted to provide 
at least 3 inches (8 cm) of clearance from the side framing or the 
opening area. Grab handles must be capable of withstanding a maximum 
horizontal pull-out force equal to two times the intended load, or 200 
pounds (890 N), whichever is greater. OSHA notes that it has proposed 
to require the use of grab handles in Sec.  1910.28(b)(2), Hoist areas. 
The proposed requirement is essentially the same as the existing 
requirement in Sec.  1910.23(e)(10). OSHA requests comment on whether 
it should further simplify this requirement by eliminating that portion 
of the requirement that pertains to the length and the clearance space 
of grab handles, leaving only that portion of the proposed requirement 
concerned with pull-out force.
Section 1910.30 Training Requirements
    In Sec.  1910.30, OSHA proposes to add new requirements for 
employers to train, and where necessary, to retrain employees in the 
subject areas covered by revised subpart D. Specifically, employers 
will have to ensure that employees are trained to recognize fall 
hazards, know what do about the hazards, and how to use the equipment 
provided to them for protection. In addition, the new requirements call 
for employees to receive training about the hazards associated with 
certain equipment.
    OSHA believes these new training requirements are necessary to 
ensure that employees are familiar with hazards, especially fall 
hazards, pertinent to the various walking-working surfaces in their 
workplace. Unlike OSHA's construction industry standards, there is no 
"generic" training section in the general industry standards. OSHA 
believes that effective training is vital in preventing and reducing 
work-related injuries, especially those caused by falls. OSHA also 
believes that educating employees provides a proactive approach to 
injury prevention.
    OSHA notes that existing Sec.  1910.132(f) sets training 
requirements for employees using certain types of PPE. In proposed 
Sec.  1910.140, OSHA specifies that existing Sec.  1910.132(f) apply to 
PPE used for fall protection. As a result, some of the requirements in 
Sec.  1910.132(f) may overlap with the training requirements in this 
paragraph. It is not OSHA's intent, however, that employers provide 
duplicate training to meet their obligations under proposed subparts D 
and I.
    Paragraph (a) Fall hazards.
    Proposed paragraph (a) addresses fall hazards. Proposed paragraph 
(a)(1) requires the employer to provide training for each employee who 
uses personal fall protection equipment and those required to be 
trained as indicated elsewhere in this subpart. The training must 
enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and the 
procedures to be followed to minimize these hazards. The purpose of the 
training is to enable the employee to recognize fall hazards and to 
learn how to minimize these hazards. OSHA believes that it is important 
for employees to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and ability to 
protect themselves before they are exposed to a fall hazard.
    The training required in proposed Sec.  1910.30 is directed to 
employers whose employees use personal fall protection equipment and 
those who otherwise are required to be trained as specifically 
indicated in this subpart (e.g., employees working near unprotected 
sides and edges at loading docks).
    Are there any other instances in this subpart where training under 
Sec.  1910.30 should specifically be required? Should employees exposed 
to fall hazards over four feet (including those using ladders) be 
trained? Do employees who use portable guardrails (e.g., around floor 
holes or at hoist areas) need to be trained? Do employees who use 
portable ladders need to be trained on hazard recognition and proper 
use of the ladder? Do employees who use fixed ladders need to be 
trained in hazard recognition and proper climbing techniques? Since BLS 
data (http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcdnew.htm) indicate falls to the same 
level (such as slips and trips resulting in a fall to the surface on 
which the employee was walking) are a significant source of injury, 
would additional training requirements for these hazards better protect 
employees? Are there circumstances where walking-working surfaces pose 
hazards, because of the nature of the work, which are infeasible to 
eliminate (e.g., a wet floor in a carwash bay) and training would help 
minimize the risk of slips, trips, or falls?
    Proposed paragraph (a)(2) requires that each employee be trained by 
a qualified person, and identifies four specific areas that the 
training must cover, including:
    (i) The nature of fall hazards in the work area; 
    (ii) The correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, 
disassembling, and inspecting the fall protection systems to be used; 
    (iii) The use and operation of guardrail systems, safety net 
systems, warning lines used in designated areas, and other protection; 
and
    (iv) The use, operation, and limitations of personal fall 
protection systems including proper hook-up, anchoring and tie-off 
techniques, methods of use, and proper methods of equipment inspection 
and storage as recommended by the manufacturer.
    The performance-oriented approach to training proposed in paragraph 
(a)(2) provides flexibility for the employer in designing the training. 
While the proposed paragraph specifies topics that must be covered, it 
does not specify how the training is to be provided nor does it specify 
any particular number of hours. The proposed paragraph is written to 
require training to be provided by a "qualified person." OSHA 
believes that the involvement of a qualified person who is 
knowledgeable in the subject area and industry hazards, in conjunction 
with the specific requirements of proposed paragraphs (a) and (c), 
provides appropriate assurance that employees will be adequately 
trained.
    Paragraph (b) Equipment hazards.
    Proposed paragraph (b) addresses training with regard to equipment 
regulated by proposed subpart D. Proposed paragraph (b)(1) requires 
employers to ensure that employees are trained in the proper care, use, 
and inspection of all equipment covered by this subpart before using 
it.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(2) requires that employees be instructed in 
the proper placing and securing of dockboards to prevent unintentional 
movement. Compliance with this provision will help employers meet their 
obligations under proposed Sec.  1910.26. The hazards associated with 
dockboards becoming dislodged are significant, and OSHA believes that 
proper employee training will help to reduce these hazards.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(3) requires the employer to ensure that all 
employees who use rope descent systems are trained and retrained as 
necessary in the proper rigging and safe use of that equipment. 
Compliance with this provision will help employers meet their 
obligations under proposed Sec.  1910.27 for rope descent systems. 
Improper use of rope descent system equipment can lead to serious 
injuries and fatalities. OSHA believes that training employees to use 
the equipment properly minimizes the risks of equipment failure and 
employee falls.
Paragraph (c) Retraining.
    Proposed paragraph (c) requires employees to be retrained whenever 
the employer has reason to believe that the employee does not have the 
understanding and skill required by proposed paragraphs (a) and (b). 
Specifically, OSHA requires retraining whenever changes in the 
workplace or changes in the fall protection systems or equipment render 
previous training obsolete; or when an employee has not retained the 
understanding or skill required by proposed paragraphs (a) and (b) of 
this section. The training requirements in this section have been 
written to indicate clearly that employers have an ongoing 
responsibility to maintain employee proficiency in the use and care of 
fall protection equipment, and to ensure employees are trained in safe 
work practices and can recognize hazards associated with certain 
equipment.
Paragraph (d) Training Must Be Understandable
    Proposed paragraph (d) requires employers to provide information 
and training in a manner that is understandable to each employee. 
Differences in language, reading capabilities, and physical challenges 
may create communication issues in a workplace. It is essential that 
employers adapt their training methods so that all of their employees 
comprehend the information and training provided.
Other revisions to part 1910
    The proposed changes to subparts D and I result in the need to make 
conforming changes to subparts F, N, and R in 1910. These changes, 
which are presented at the end of this proposal, are self-explanatory 
and do not substantially affect the requirements of these subparts.
References
     Consumer Product Safety Commission Offers Safety Tips to 
Prevent Ladder Injuries, Ladder Safety Alert; U.S. Consumer Product 
Safety Commission, Washington, DC 20207, undated (Web address: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/ladder.html).
     Injury Facts; National Safety Council, 1121 Spring Lake 
Drive, Itasca, IL 60143-3201; 2005-2006 edition.
     Murphy, Patricia J. Get a Leg Up on Ladder Safety; Family 
Safety & Health, Spring 2001. Available through the National Safety 
Council at the following web address: http://www.nsc.org/issues/firstaid/ladder.htm.
     Overview of BLS Statistics on Worker Safety and Health, 
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC (Web address: http://www.bls.gov/bls/safety.htm).
     Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls, Professional 
Development Series, Participant's Guide (Kit Number 12466-0000). 
National Safety Council, 444 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 
60611, 2006.
     Portable Ladders; Quick Card, Occupational Safety and 
Health Administration, Washington, DC, 2005.
     Stairways and Ladders, A Guide to OSHA Rules; Occupational 
Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC, 2003.
     U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for 
Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational 
Safety and Health, Worker Deaths by Falls,
A Summary of Surveillance Findings and Investigative Case Reports,
Cincinnati, Ohio 45226-1998, November 2000.
    Useful Web sites providing information on safety include:
     OSHA's public page (contains many useful safety and health 
topics): http://www.osha.gov/.
     National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health: 
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/.
     National Safety Council: http://www.nsc.org/. 
     U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov/.
    The following industry codes and standards were used in the 
development of this proposed rule:
    Industry codes and standards for ladders:
     ANSI \3\ A14.1-2000, American National Standard for 
Ladders--Wood Safety Requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ ANSI: American National Standards Institute.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     ANSI A14.2-2000, American National Standard for Ladders--
Portable Metal--Safety Requirements.
     ANSI A14.3-2002, American National Standard for Ladders--
Fixed--Safety Requirements.
     ANSI A14.4-2002, American National Standard Safety 
Requirements for Job-Made Wooden Ladders.
     ANSI A14.5-2000, American National Standard for Ladders--
Portable Reinforced Plastic--Safety Requirements.
     ANSI A14.7-2006, American National Standard for Mobile 
Ladder Stands and Mobile Ladder Stand Platforms.
    Industry standards and codes for step bolts and manhole steps:
     ASTM \4\ C 478-07, American Society for Testing and 
Materials Standard Specification for Precast Reinforced Concrete 
Manhole Sections.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     ASTM A394-07, American Society for Testing and Materials 
Standard Specification for Steel Transmission Tower Bolts, Zinc-Coated 
and Bare.
     ASTM C 497-05, American Society for Testing and Materials 
Test Methods for Concrete Pipe, Manhole Sections, or Tile.
     IEEE \5\ 1307-2004, IEEE Standard for Fall Protection for 
Utility Work.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     ANSI/TIA \6\ -222-G-2005, Structural Standard for Antenna 
Supporting Structures and Antennas.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ TIA: Telecommunications Industry Association.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Industry codes and standards for stairs and stairways:
     ANSI A1264.1-1995 (R2002), American National Standard for 
Safety Requirements for Workplace Floor and Wall Openings, Stairs and 
Railing Systems.
     ANSI A1264.1-2007, American National Standard Safety 
Requirements for Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces and Their Access; 
Workplace, Floor, Wall and Floor Openings; Stairs and Guardrail 
Systems.
     NFPA 101-2006, National Fire Protection Association Life 
Safety Code.
     ICC-2003, International Code Council International 
Building Code.
    Industry codes and standards for dockboards (bridgeplates):
     ASME B56.1-2000, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 
Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks.
     ASME B56.1-2004, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 
Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks.
     ANSI/MH30.1-2000, American National Standard For the 
Safety Performance, and Testing of Dock Leveling Devices Specification.
     ANSI/MH30.2-2005, Portable Dock Loading Devices: Safety, 
Performance, and Testing.
    Industry codes and standards for scaffolds and rope descent 
systems:
     ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001, Window Cleaning Safety.
     ANSI/ASCE 7-2005, American National Standard for Minimum 
Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures.
     ANSI A1264.1-1995 (R2002), American National Standard for 
Safety Requirements for Workplace Floor and Wall Openings, Stairs and 
Railing Systems.
     ANSI A1264.1-2007, American National Standard Safety 
Requirements for Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces and Their Access; 
Workplace, Floor, Wall and Floor Openings; Stairs and Guardrail 
Systems.
    Industry codes and standards for fall protection (duty, systems 
criteria, and practices) and training requirements:
     ANSI A10.11-1989 (R1998), American National Standard for 
Construction and Demolition Operations--Personnel and Debris Nets.
     ANSI A14.3-2002, American National Standard for Ladders--
Fixed--Safety Requirements.
     ANSI A14.7-2006, American National Standard for Mobile 
Ladder Stands and Mobile Ladder Stand Platforms.
     ANSI A1264.1-1995 (R2002), American National Standard for 
Safety Requirements for Workplace Floor and Wall Openings, Stairs and 
Railing Systems.
     ANSI A1264.1-2007, American National Standard, Safety 
Requirements for Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces and Their Access; 
Workplace, Floor, Wall and Floor Openings; Stairs and Guardrail 
Systems.
     ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001, Window Cleaning Safety.
     ANSI Z359.0-2007, American National Standard, Definitions 
and Nomenclature Used for Fall Protection and Fall Arrest.
     ANSI Z359.1-2007, American National Standard, Safety 
Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems and 
Components.
     ANSI Z359.2-2007, American National Standard, Minimum 
Requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program.
     ANSI Z359.3-2007, American National Standard, Safety 
Requirements for Positioning and Travel Restraint Systems.
     ANSI Z359.4-2007, American National Standard, Safety 
Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems 
and Components.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The following studies, cited in OSHA's April 10, 1990, proposed 
rulemaking (55 FR 13421), provide useful and relevant information, and 
are a valuable archival resource. These studies provide information 
that may be helpful in understanding and implementing the proposed 
standards for walking-working surfaces being proposed today.
I. General References
     Accident Prevention Manual for Industrial Operations; 
National Safety Council, 444 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 
60611, 1980.
     A History of Walkway Slip-Resistance Research at the 
National Bureau of Standards, Special Publication 565; National Bureau 
of Standards, National Technical Information Service, Springfield, 
Virginia 22151, December 1979.
     A New Portable Tester for the Evaluation of the Slip-
Resistance of Walkway Surfaces, Technical Note 953; National Bureau of 
Standards, National Technical Information Service, Springfield, 
Virginia 22151, July 1977.
     Miller, James et al. Work Surface Friction: Definitions, 
Laboratory and Field Measurements, and a Comprehensive Bibliography; 
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, February 1983. 
(NTIS *PB 83-243634, PE 83-243626, PB 84-175926).
     Chaffin, Don B. et al. An Ergonomic Basis for 
Recommendations Pertaining to Specific Sections of OSHA Standard
, 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart D--Walking and Working Surfaces; 
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,Michigan 48109, March 1978.
     Ayoub, M. and Gary M. Bakken. An Ergonomic Analysis of 
Selected Sections in Subpart D, Walking/Working Surfaces; Texas 
University, Lubbock, Texas 79409, August 1978.
     An Overview of Floor-Slip-Resistance Research with 
Annotated Bibliography, Technical Note 895; National Bureau of 
Standards, National Technical Information Service, Springfield, 
Virginia 22151, January 1976.
     A Bibliography of Coefficient of Friction Literature 
Relating to Slip Type Accidents; Department of Industrial and 
Operations Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, 
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104, February 1983.
     Falls from Elevations Resulting in Injuries; U.S. 
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Technical 
Information Service, Springfield, Virginia 22151, June 1984.
     English, William. Slips, Trips and Falls--Safety 
Engineering Guidelines for the Prevention of Slips, Trip and Fall 
Occurrences; Hanrow Press, Inc., P.O. Box 847, Del Mar, California 
92014, 1989. (Also, telephone 800-235-5588 or e-mail at 
heg101@msn.com.)
II. Ladder References
     Chaffin, Don B. and Terrence J. Stobbe. Ergonomic 
Considerations Related to Selected Fall Prevention Aspects of Scaffolds 
and Ladders as Presented in OSHA Standard 29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart D; 
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104, September 1979.
     Ergonomics Considerations Related to Selected Fall 
Prevention Aspects of Scaffolds and Ladders as Presented in OSHA 
Standard 29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart D; The University of Michigan, Ann 
Arbor, Michigan 48104.
III. Stair References
     Archea, John et al. Guidelines for Stair Safety; NBS 
Building of Science Series 120, National Bureau of Standards, National 
Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia 22151.
     Carson, D. H. et al. Safety on Stairs; National Bureau of 
Standards, National Technical Information Service, Springfield, 
Virginia 22151.
     Nelson, Gary S. Engineering--Human Factors Interface in 
Stairway Treadriser Design; Texas A&M University of Texas, Agricultural 
Extension Service, College Station, Texas 77843, May 1973.
IV. Fall Protection References
     Personnel Guardrails for the Prevention of Occupational 
Accidents, NBSIR 76-1132; National Bureau of Standards, National 
Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia 22151, July 1976.
     Investigation of Guardrails for the Protection of 
Employees from Occupational Hazards, NBSIR 76-1139; National Bureau of 
Standards, National Technical Information Service, Springfield, 
Virginia 22151, July 1976.
     A Model Performance Standard for Guardrails, NBSIR 76-
1131; National Bureau of Standards, National Technical Information 
Service, Springfield, Virginia 22151, July 1976.
     National Technical Information Services (NTIS), 5285 Port 
Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161. (Telephone: (703) 605-6000; Web 
address: http://www.ntis.gov/.)
C. Proposed Changes to Subpart I
    OSHA is proposing to add a new section to existing subpart I, 
Personal Protective Equipment. The new section will be numbered Sec.  
1910.140 and titled: Personal fall protection equipment. It will 
contain five paragraphs, covering the following topics:
    Paragraph (a) will contain the scope and application for the new 
section.
    Paragraph (b) will contain terms and definitions applicable to 
personal fall protection systems.
    Paragraph (c) will contain general requirements applicable to all 
types of personal fall protection systems covered and will contain 
inspection requirements and design criteria common to components used 
in all systems.
    Paragraph (d) will contain additional, specific requirements for 
personal fall arrest systems and will address equipment such as body 
harnesses, lifelines, deceleration devices (i.e., rope grabs and rip-
stitch lanyards), and lanyards.
    Paragraph (e) will contain additional, specific requirements for 
positioning device systems. This is equipment, such as a window 
cleaner's belt, that is used to support an employee in a work position.
    In addition, OSHA proposes to add two non-mandatory appendices (C 
and D) to proposed Sec.  1910.140 to help employers select appropriate 
equipment and use it properly. (Note: Existing Appendices A and B to 
subpart I are not affected by this rule and remain unchanged.) Proposed 
Appendix C provides useful information and guidance concerning the use 
of personal fall arrest systems. Proposed Appendix D provides examples 
of test methods for personal fall arrest and positioning device 
systems. The following discussion provides a more detailed explanation 
of the new provisions.
Section 1910.140 Personal Fall Protection Systems
Paragraph (a) Scope and Application
    Proposed paragraph (a) explains that all personal fall protection 
systems used to comply with part 1910 must comply with the care and use 
criteria established by proposed Sec.  1910.140.
    Currently, there are a number of standards throughout part 1910 
that require or permit the use of personal fall protection systems. In 
addition, the proposed revision of subpart D contains a number of new 
requirements allowing employers to choose to use personal fall 
protection systems in lieu of guardrail systems that are mandated under 
the existing rules. With few exceptions, the existing standards do not 
specify the criteria for the design, operation, performance, or use of 
fall protection systems. Without such criteria, OSHA believes there is 
risk that personal fall protection systems, especially personal fall 
arrest systems, will fail. Such failure may occur for a number of 
reasons, including: use of the wrong system (especially one that is not 
strong enough for its purpose); use of a system that was not inspected 
or tested before use; use of a system that is not rigged properly; use 
of a system with non-compatible components; or use of a system for 
which the employee is not properly trained. While the vast majority of 
fall protection systems currently in use meet national consensus 
standards, OSHA believes that, because of the absence of specific 
general industry standards, there is likely insufficient awareness of 
appropriate criteria for their use. When this rule is promulgated, 
employers who choose to use personal fall protection systems would have 
to ensure that those systems meet the criteria in this proposed 
provision.
Paragraph (b) Definitions
    Paragraph (b) defines key terms used in the proposed standard. Most 
of the terms are already used in existing OSHA fall protection 
standards, including Appendix C of Sec.  1910.66, Powered platforms for 
building maintenance, of the general industry standards; Sec.  
1926.502, Fall protection systems criteria and practices, of the 
construction standards; and Sec. Sec.  1915.159, Personal fall arrest 
systems (PFAS), and 1915.160, Positioning
device systems, of the shipyard employment standards.\7\ OSHA believes 
that employee safety will be enhanced by having the terms and 
definitions applicable to personal fall protection systems 
substantially identical whenever possible. This is particularly 
important because the same employees may be engaged in both general 
industry and construction activities. Having different meanings for the 
same terms could lead to confusion by employers, employees, and OSHA 
compliance staff. When a proposed definition differs from a definition 
used in the construction and shipyard employment standards, the 
difference is identified and explained in the discussion below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Referred to hereafter as the "general industry, 
construction, and shipyard employment standards on fall 
protection."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    OSHA has also reviewed the terms and definitions used in national 
consensus standards that are applicable to personal fall protection 
systems covered by the proposed rule, including ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007, 
Definitions and Nomenclature Used for Fall Protection and Fall Arrest; 
and other standards in the Z359 series. All of the terms and 
definitions used in this proposed rulemaking are based on existing OSHA 
standards or have their source in national consensus standards.
    The following terms are defined in the proposed rule: anchorage, 
belt terminal, body belt, body harness, buckle, carrier, competent 
person, connector, D-ring, deceleration device, deceleration distance, 
equivalent, free fall, free fall distance, lanyard, lifeline, personal 
fall arrest system, personal fall protection system, positioning 
system, qualified person, rope grab, self-retracting lifeline/lanyard, 
snaphook, travel restraint (tether) line, travel restraint system, 
window cleaner's belt, window cleaner's belt anchor, window cleaner's 
positioning system, and work positioning system. Each term is discussed 
below.
    Anchorage. OSHA proposes to define "anchorage" to mean a secure 
point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards, or deceleration devices. 
The definition is nearly identical to the definition in OSHA's general 
industry, construction, and the shipyard employment standards on fall 
protection. One variation is that the definition used in the general 
industry standard on fall protection goes beyond just defining the 
term, and also includes a requirement that the anchorage must be 
"independent of the means of supporting or suspending the employee." 
OSHA did not include this latter language in the proposed definition, 
but did include similar language in the appropriate requirement (see 
proposed Sec.  1910.140(c)(12)).
    The proposed definition is also consistent with the definitions in 
the national consensus standards, i.e., ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007, 
Definitions and Nomenclature Used for Fall Protection and Fall Arrest; 
and ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001, Standard for Window Cleaning Safety; and it 
is identical to the definition used in ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004, Fall 
Protection Systems.
    Belt terminal. OSHA proposes to define "belt terminal" to mean an 
end attachment of a window cleaner's positioning system used for 
securing the belt or harness to a window cleaner's belt anchor. The 
term is used in the proposed requirements specific to fall protection 
for window cleaning operations. It is not currently defined in OSHA 
standards, nor is the term specifically defined in ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-
2001, although its meaning is clear--that the belt terminal is the end 
part of a window cleaner's belt. OSHA is including the definition to 
clarify the intent of the requirements in proposed paragraph (e) 
relating to the attachment of belt terminals to window cleaner's belt 
anchors (window anchor). OSHA requests comment on whether this term and 
definition are needed to clarify the provision. That is, is the term's 
meaning in proposed paragraph (e) clear enough that a definition is not 
needed?
    Body belt. OSHA proposes to define "body belt" to mean a strap 
with means both for securing about the waist and for attaching to other 
components such as a lanyard or lifeline, and that is used in 
positioning systems, travel restraint systems, and ladder safety 
systems. The definition is consistent with those in the OSHA general 
industry, construction, and shipyard employment standards on fall 
protection, as well as with the ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE 
A10.32-2004 national consensus standards.
    Body harness. OSHA proposes to define the term "body harness" to 
mean straps which may be secured about the employee in a manner to 
distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, 
waist, chest, and shoulders with means for attaching it to other 
components of a personal fall arrest system. The definition is 
identical to the one in OSHA's general industry standards on fall 
protection, and nearly identical to that in the construction industry 
standard on fall protection. OSHA's shipyard employment standard on 
fall protection contains a similar definition, but that definition does 
not include the word "waist" in it.
    The national consensus standard, ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007, has several 
definitions for various types of harnesses, including: harness, chest; 
harness, chest-waist; harness, evacuation; harness, full body; harness, 
positioning. The definition for full body harness (in section 2.74 of 
ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007) is essentially the same as the proposed subpart 
I definition. The proposed definition is also consistent with ANSI/IWCA 
I-14.1-2000, with one exception: the ANSI/IWCA consensus standard 
allows the use of body harnesses that permit the arresting forces to be 
distributed over any combination of the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest, 
and shoulders, rather than all combined. Including this phrase in the 
OSHA definition would allow the fall arrest forces to be distributed 
over the waist and chest only; therefore, OSHA has not adopted this 
aspect of the ANSI/IWCA consensus definition. OSHA believes the dangers 
of concentrating arresting forces in one anatomical area (for example, 
waist and chest only) are real and well documented. For example, Dr. 
Maurice Amphoux, et. al. (Ex. OSHA-S057-2006-0680-0070) conducted 
research into the use of thoracic harnesses for fall arrest. They 
concluded that these types of harnesses should not be used for fall 
arrest because the forces transmitted to the body during post-fall 
suspension constrict the rib cage and could cause asphyxiation. There 
is also an increased danger of falling out of the assembly.
    OSHA solicits comments on this matter, as well as on whether there 
is a need to define other types of harnesses. For example, some types 
of body harnesses do not use a waist component but still distribute the 
forces over the torso. These harnesses have assemblies that prevent the 
shoulder straps from separating enough to allow the employee to fall 
out of the harness. OSHA does not intend to prohibit the use of this 
type of harness.
    Buckle. OSHA proposes to define the term "buckle" to mean any 
device for holding the body belt or body harness closed around the 
employee's body. The definition is identical to the definition used in 
the general industry and construction standards on fall protection, and 
it is consistent with the ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-
2004 national consensus standards on fall protection.
    Carrier. OSHA proposes to define a "carrier" to mean the track of 
a ladder safety system consisting of a flexible cable or rigid rail 
which is secured to the ladder or structure by mountings. The 
definition is identical to ANSI/ALI
A14.3-2002, American National Standards for Ladders--Fixed.
    Competent person. OSHA proposes to define a "competent person" to 
mean a person who is capable of identifying hazardous or dangerous 
conditions in any personal fall protection system or any component 
thereof, as well as in their application and uses with related 
equipment. The definition is essentially the same as the one in OSHA's 
general industry powered platform standard (Sec.  1910.66), but it 
differs from the definition of competent person in OSHA's construction 
industry standard at Sec.  1926.32. It also differs from both the ANSI/
ASSE Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004 national consensus standards 
in that the national consensus standards, like OSHA's construction 
industry definition, define a competent person as one who has the 
"authority to take prompt corrective action" to eliminate the hazards 
in the surroundings or working conditions.
    OSHA's proposed definition does not require the competent person to 
have the authority to take prompt corrective action because the Agency 
believes that the competent person assigned to inspect personal fall 
protection systems serves a role different from that of the person that 
typically is designated as the competent person on construction jobs. 
In general industry the competent person will most likely be an outside 
contractor that specializes in fall protection, and which both designs 
the system, and provides training, usually at a remote location. It is 
unlikely that an outside contractor would be granted authority over 
work operations and, thus, OSHA believes the definition proposed allows 
the employer more flexibility in designating an appropriate competent 
person.
    Connector. OSHA proposes to define "connector" to mean a device 
that is used to couple (connect) parts of the fall protection system 
together. The definition is essentially the same as OSHA's general 
industry, construction, and shipyard employment standards on fall 
protection. The proposed definition is also consistent with national 
consensus standards, including ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE 
A10.32-2004. These other definitions also include some explanatory 
language stating that connectors may be independent components of the 
system, such as a carabiner; or may be integral components or parts of 
the system, such as a buckle or D-ring sewn into a body support (a body 
belt or body harness), or a snaphook spliced or sewn into a lanyard. 
The proposed definition does not include such explanatory language 
because OSHA believes it is not necessary.
    D-ring. OSHA proposes to define a "D-ring" as a connector used 
integrally in a harness as an attachment element or fall arrest 
attachment, and in a lanyard, energy absorber, lifeline, and anchorage 
connector as an integral connector. Also, a D-ring means a connector 
used integrally in a positioning or travel restraint system as an 
attachment element. The term is not defined in existing OSHA standards 
but is defined, consistent with the proposed definition, in the 
national consensus standards ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE 
A10.32-2004. ANSI/ASSE A10.32 also defines "integral" to mean not 
removable from the component, system, or subsystem without mutilating 
any element or without use of a special tool. This definition expresses 
OSHA's intent in using the term "integral" in the proposed definition 
of D-ring.
    Deceleration device. OSHA proposes to define "deceleration 
device" to mean any mechanism that serves to dissipate energy during a 
fall. The definition is identical to the national consensus standard 
ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004, but differs from the definition in OSHA's 
general industry, construction, and shipyard employment standard on 
fall protection. These OSHA standards expand on the definition by 
citing examples of devices that may be used to either dissipate a 
substantial amount of energy during a fall arrest, or otherwise limit 
the energy imposed on an employee during a fall. These devices include 
rope grabs, rip-stitch lanyards, specially woven lanyards, tearing and 
deforming lanyards, or automatic self-retracting lifelines/lanyards. 
ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004 includes the same examples in its explanatory 
material, but not within the definition itself. ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 
does not define the term "deceleration device," but does define the 
terms "energy (shock) absorber," "fall arrester," and "self-
retracting lanyard." OSHA notes that, in the preamble to the final 
rule for the construction industry fall protection standard (59 FR 
40677), there is an extensive discussion about the definition of 
"deceleration device," including a discussion of commenter 
suggestions requesting that instead of defining the term "deceleration 
device," OSHA define the terms "shock absorber," "fall arrester," 
and "self-retracting lanyard." One of those comments was from an ANSI 
Z359 Committee representative:

    Comments were received on the definition of "deceleration 
device" [citations omitted]. It was suggested that this term be 
eliminated and replaced with three terms, "fall arrester," 
"energy absorber," and "self-retracting lifeline/lanyard" 
because the examples listed by OSHA in its proposed definition of 
deceleration device serve varying combinations of the function of 
these three suggested components. In particular, it was pointed out 
that a rope grab may or may not serve to dissipate a substantial 
amount of energy in and of itself. The distinction that the 
commenter was making was that some components of the system were 
"fall arresters" (purpose to stop a fall), others were "energy 
absorbers" (purpose to brake a fall more comfortably), and others 
were "self-retracting lifeline/lanyards" (purpose to take slack 
out of the lifeline or lanyard to minimize free fall). OSHA notes, 
however, that it is difficult to clearly separate all components 
into these three suggested categories since fall arrest (stopping) 
and energy absorption (braking) are closely related. In addition, 
many self-retracting lifeline/lanyards serve all three functions 
very well (a condition which the commenter labels as a "subsystem" 
or "hybrid component"). OSHA believes that the only practical way 
to accomplish what is suggested would be to have test methods and 
criteria for each of the three component functions. However, at this 
time, there are no national consensus standards or other accepted 
criteria for any of the three which OSHA could propose to adopt.
    In addition, OSHA's approach in the final standard is to address 
personal fall arrest equipment on a system basis. Therefore, OSHA 
does not have separate requirements for "fall arresters," "energy 
absorbers," and "self-retracting lifeline/lanyards" because it is 
the performance of the complete system, as assembled, which is 
regulated by the OSHA standard. OSHA's final standard does not 
preclude the voluntary standards writing bodies from developing 
design standards for all of the various components and is supportive 
of this undertaking.

OSHA invites comment on whether the Agency should remove the term 
"deceleration device" from subpart I and instead define the terms 
"fall arrester" and "energy absorber." The term "self-retracting 
lifeline/lanyard" is already defined in this proposed subpart I rule.
    Deceleration distance. OSHA proposes to define the term 
"deceleration distance" to mean the vertical distance a falling 
employee travels before stopping, from the point at which the 
deceleration device begins to operate to the stopping point, excluding 
lifeline elongation and free fall distance. It is measured as the 
distance between the location of an employee's body harness attachment 
point at the moment of activation of the deceleration device during a 
fall (i.e., at the onset of fall arrest forces), and the location of 
that attachment point after the employee comes to a full stop.
    The proposed definition is identical to the definition in OSHA's 
general industry, construction, and shipyard employment standards on 
fall protection, except that the reference to body belts has been removed. 
It is consistent with the ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-
2004 consensus standards.
    Equivalent. OSHA proposes to define "equivalent" to mean 
alternative designs, materials, or methods to protect against a hazard, 
which the employer can demonstrate will provide an equal or greater 
degree of safety for employees compared to the methods, materials, or 
designs specified in the standard. The proposed definition is identical 
to the definitions in OSHA's general industry and construction 
standards on fall protection. It is essentially the same as the 
definition in the shipyard employment standard on fall protection. A 
crucial element of the definition is that it places the burden on the 
employer to demonstrate equivalence. The term is not defined in the 
national consensus standards pertinent to fall protection.
    Free fall. OSHA proposes to define the term "free fall" to mean 
the act of falling before the personal fall protection system begins to 
apply force to arrest the fall. The proposed definition is essentially 
the same as the definition in OSHA's general industry, construction, 
and shipyard employment standards on fall protection. It is also 
consistent with national consensus standards, including ANSI/ASSE 
Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004. OSHA notes that it proposes to 
use the phrase personal fall protection system in this proposed rule, 
rather than personal fall arrest system which is used in some of the 
above-mentioned standards, to indicate clearly that the requirements, 
when the term is used, apply to both personal fall arrest systems and 
positioning systems.
    Free fall distance. OSHA proposes to define the term "free fall 
distance" to mean the vertical displacement of the fall arrest 
attachment point on the employee's body belt or body harness between 
onset of the fall and just before the system begins to apply force to 
arrest the fall. This distance excludes deceleration distance as well 
as lifeline and lanyard elongation, but includes any deceleration 
device slide distance or self-retracting lifeline/lanyard extension 
before the devices operate and fall arrest forces occur. The proposed 
definition is essentially the same as the definition in OSHA's general 
industry, construction, and shipyard employment standards on fall 
protection. It is also consistent with the national consensus 
standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004.
    Lanyard. OSHA proposes to define the term "lanyard" to mean a 
flexible line of rope, wire rope, or strap which generally has a 
connector at each end for connecting the body belt or body harness to a 
deceleration device, lifeline, or anchorage. The proposed definition is 
identical to the definition in OSHA's construction and shipyard 
employment standards on fall protection, and is consistent with the 
general industry standard on fall protection. It is also essentially 
the same as the national consensus standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 and 
ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004.
    Lifeline. OSHA proposes to define a "lifeline" to mean a 
component consisting of a flexible line for connection to an anchorage 
at one end to hang vertically (vertical lifeline), or for connection to 
anchorages at both ends to stretch horizontally (horizontal lifeline), 
and which serves as a means for connecting other components of a 
personal fall protection system to the anchorage(s). The proposed 
definition is essentially the same as OSHA's general industry, 
construction, and shipyard employment standards on fall protection. 
Those standards use the words "fall arrest" rather than "fall 
protection" as used in this proposed rule because they were only 
applicable to fall arrest systems whereas this proposed rule has 
application to other personal fall protection systems. It is also 
essentially the same as the national consensus standards ANSI/ASSE 
Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004.
    Personal fall arrest system. OSHA proposes to define the term 
"personal fall arrest system" to mean a system used to arrest an 
employee in a fall from a work level. It consists of an anchorage, 
connector, and a body harness, and may include a lanyard, deceleration 
device, lifeline, or suitable combination of these. The definition 
proposed is identical to OSHA's general industry, construction, and 
shipyard employment standards on fall protection, except that those 
standards included a body belt as a part of the definition of a 
personal fall arrest system. Body belts, which have been phased out due 
to safety reasons, were included in those definitions to allow their 
use until they were banned. The ban on body belts as part of a personal 
fall arrest system, took place on January 1, 1998, for the construction 
industry and shipyard employment. The proposed definition is also 
consistent with the national consensus standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 
and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004. These consensus standards, like the existing 
OSHA standards and the proposed standard, require the use of body 
harnesses in personal fall arrest systems. OSHA notes that a ladder 
safety system is not considered a personal fall arrest system within 
the meaning of this proposed definition even though it is designed to 
arrest a fall. Therefore, the use of a body belt in a ladder safety 
system is permitted.
    Personal fall protection system. OSHA proposes to define the term 
"personal fall protection system" to mean a system used to protect an 
employee from falling, or that safely arrests an employee's fall, 
should a fall occur. Examples include: a personal fall arrest system, a 
positioning system, or a travel restraint system. The term is not 
defined in either the existing OSHA standards or in the national 
consensus standards.
    Positioning system (sometimes called a work positioning system). 
OSHA proposes to define the term "positioning system" to mean a 
system of equipment and connectors that, when used with its body belt 
or body harness, allows an employee to be supported on an elevated 
vertical surface, such as a wall or windowsill, and to work with both 
hands free. The proposed definition is essentially the same as the 
definition in OSHA's construction and shipyard employment standards on 
fall protection. It is also essentially the same as the national 
consensus standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004.
    Qualified. The proposed definition of "qualified" describes a 
person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or 
professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training,\8\ and 
experience has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve or 
resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the 
project. The proposed definition is consistent with the definition in 
the OSHA's construction industry standards at Sec.  1926.32(m), and the 
shipyard employment standard for PPE at Sec.  1915.151(b). It is also 
consistent with the definition being proposed today for the general 
industry standards in subpart D, Walking-Working Surfaces. The 
definition differs from that used in the general industry standard at 
Sec.  1910.66. Specifically, the definition in Appendix C of Sec.  
1910.66 requires that the qualified person have a degree, certification 
or professional standing and (as opposed to "or") also have extensive 
knowledge, training, and experience. To meet the definition, a person 
would most likely need to be an engineer; this is not the case with the 
definition proposed in this standard. Like the definition in the 
construction and the shipyard employment rules, OSHA is emphasizing the need to be 
qualified in the subject matter--personal fall protection 
systems[horbar]which, in some cases, may involve their design and use. 
As long as the individual meets the elements of the definition, he or 
she may be considered a qualified person for the purpose of subpart I. 
The proposed definition is also identical to that used in the national 
consensus standard, ANSI/ASSE A10.32, but differs from ANSI/ASSE 
Z359.0-2007 standard which also appears to require that the qualified 
person be an engineer. The language proposed here will ensure 
consistency with the definitions in OSHA's fall protection rules for 
construction and shipyard employment.
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    \8\ "Training" may include informal, or on-the-job, training.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rope grab. OSHA proposes to define the term "rope grab" to mean a 
deceleration device that travels on a lifeline and automatically, by 
friction, engages the lifeline and locks to arrest the fall of an 
employee. A rope grab usually employs the principle of inertial 
locking, cam/lever locking, or both. The definition proposed is the 
same as the definition in OSHA's general industry, construction, and 
shipyard employment standards on fall protection. It is also the same 
as the national consensus standard, ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004. The term 
"rope grab" is not individually defined in ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007; 
however, that consensus standard defines the term "fall arrester" 
using essentially the same definition OSHA uses here. Additionally, the 
consensus standard identifies a "rope grab" as one example of a fall 
arrester.
    Self-retracting lifeline/lanyard. OSHA proposes to define the term 
"self-retracting lifeline/lanyard" to mean a deceleration device 
containing a drum-wound line which can be slowly extracted from, or 
retracted onto, the drum under slight tension during normal movement by 
the employee, and after onset of a fall, automatically locks the drum 
and arrests the fall. The proposed definition is consistent with the 
definition in OSHA's general industry and construction standards on 
fall protection, and is also consistent with the national consensus 
standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004. OSHA notes 
that the ANSI/ASSE Z359.0 standard defines the term "self-retracting 
lanyard" rather than "self-retracting lifeline/lanyard."
    Snaphook. OSHA proposes to define a "snaphook" to mean a 
connector comprised of a hook-shaped body with a normally closed gate 
or similar arrangement that may be manually opened to permit the hook 
to receive an object and that, when released, automatically closes and 
locks to retain the object. Opening the snaphook requires two separate 
actions. The proposed definition includes a note explaining that there 
are two types of snaphooks--the locking type (also called self-locking, 
double-locking, or automatic-locking) and the non-locking type (or 
manual locking). The locking type snaphook is one with a self-closing 
and self-locking gate that remains closed and locked until 
intentionally unlocked and opened for connection or disconnection. The 
non-locking type has a self-closing gate that remains closed, but not 
locked (unless purposely locked by the user), until intentionally 
opened for connection or disconnection. This rule would not allow use 
of non-locking type snaphooks.
    The proposed definition is consistent with OSHA's general industry 
and construction standards on fall protection, and is also consistent 
with the national consensus standards ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 and ANSI/
ASSE A10.32-2004. These other OSHA standards also only allow use of 
locking-type snaphooks.
    Travel restraint (tether) line. The proposed definition of the term 
"travel restraint line" is a rope, wire rope, or lanyard used to 
transfer forces from a body support to an anchorage or anchorage 
connector in a travel restraint system. The proposed definition is new 
to general industry and is based on the ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 standard, 
and is consistent with the similar term "restraint (tether) line" 
used in OSHA's shipyard employment standard on fall protection and in 
the national consensus standard, ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004. The purpose of 
a travel restraint line is to prevent an employee from reaching a fall 
hazard. These lines need not be designed to withstand forces resulting 
from a fall. (See "travel restraint system.")
    Travel restraint system. OSHA proposes to define the term "travel 
restraint system" to mean a combination of an anchorage, anchorage 
connector, lanyard (or other means of connection), and body support 
intended to be used by an employee to limit travel in such a manner as 
to prevent exposure to a fall hazard. Travel restraint systems must be 
used such that they do not support any portion of the employee's 
weight. The proposed definition is new to the general industry 
standards, and is based on the ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2007 standard, and is 
consistent with similar terms (i.e., "restraint (tether) line") used 
in OSHA's shipyard employment standard on fall protection and in the 
national consensus standard, ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004. The term is not 
defined in the OSHA's construction industry standard on fall 
protection.
    Window cleaner's positioning system. OSHA proposes to define the 
term "window cleaner's positioning system" to mean a system 
consisting of a window cleaner's belt and window cleaner's belt 
anchors.
    Window cleaner's belt. OSHA proposes to define the term "window 
cleaner's belt" to mean a belt that consists of a waist-belt, an 
integral terminal runner or strap, and belt terminals. The end 
terminals of the belt are attached to the window cleaner's belt anchors 
(window anchors).
    Window cleaner's belt anchors (window anchors). OSHA proposes to 
define "window cleaner's belt anchors" to mean specifically designed 
fall-preventing attachment points, permanently affixed to a window 
frame or to a building part immediately adjacent to the window frame, 
for direct attachment of the terminal portion of a window cleaner's 
belt. The proposed definitions of terms related to window cleaner's 
fall protection systems are based on the national consensus standard 
for Window Cleaning Safety, IWCA I-14.1-2001. The term "belt 
terminal" which is also a part of the window cleaner's belt was 
discussed above. These terms are not used in existing OSHA standards 
because there are no standards specifically applicable to window 
cleaning operations.
Paragraph (c) General Requirements
    Proposed paragraph (c) contains general provisions applicable to 
all personal fall protection systems. This proposed paragraph 
establishes criteria for the most generic, common components, such as 
belts, lanyards, and harnesses used in fall protection systems. More 
specific criteria are established in proposed paragraphs (d) and (e) of 
Sec.  1910.140 for personal fall arrest and positioning systems. All of 
the provisions proposed in paragraph (c) are based on requirements in 
either existing OSHA standards pertinent to fall protection or national 
consensus standards. The OSHA standards used include Appendix C of 
Sec.  1910.66, Powered platforms for building maintenance, of the 
general industry standards; Sec.  1926.502, Fall protection systems 
criteria and practices, of the construction standards; and Sec. Sec.  
1915.159, Personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), and 1915.160, 
Positioning device systems, of the shipyard employment standards.\9\ 
The national consensus standards used in developing proposed paragraph (c) include 
ANSI/ASME Z359.1-2007, Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest 
Systems, Subsystems and Components; ANSI/ASME Z359.3, Safety 
Requirements for Positioning and Travel Restraint Systems; ANSI/ASME 
A10.32-2004, Fall Protection Systems (for Construction); and ANSI/IWCA 
I-14.1-2001, Window Cleaning Safety.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Referred to hereafter as the "general industry, 
construction, and shipyard employment standards on fall 
protection."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2), OSHA is proposing that connectors 
used in personal fall protection systems be made of drop-forged, 
pressed, or formed steel or equivalent materials, and that the 
materials be protected from corrosion. In addition, the surfaces and 
edges of connectors are to be smooth. These requirements are intended 
to ensure that connectors retain the necessary strength characteristics 
for the life of the fall protection system under expected use 
conditions and that the surfaces and edges do not cause damage to the 
attached belt or lanyard. OSHA has already adopted this approach in 
paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2), section I, Appendix C of Sec.  1910.66; 
paragraphs (d)(1), (d)(2), (e)(3), and (e)(4) of Sec.  1926.502; and 
paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of Sec.  1915.159. Similar requirements 
are also found in the national consensus standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-
1992 (R2002) and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004.
    In paragraph (c)(3) OSHA is proposing that where vertical lifelines 
are used, each employee must be attached to a separate lifeline. OSHA 
believes that allowing more than one employee on the same vertical 
lifeline would create additional hazards. For example, if one employee 
fell, the other attached employee might be pulled off balance, causing 
him or her to fall. OSHA has already adopted this approach in 
paragraphs (c)(3) and (e)(5), section I, Appendix C of Sec.  1910.66; 
paragraph (d)(10) of Sec.  1926.502; and paragraph (b)(1) of Sec.  
1915.159. A similar requirement is also found in the national consensus 
standard, ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004.
    Proposed paragraphs (c)(4) through (c)(6) relate to the strength of 
lanyards and lifelines. In paragraph (c)(4) OSHA is proposing that 
lanyards and vertical lifelines have a minimum breaking strength of 
5,000 pounds (22.2 kN). Paragraphs (c)(5) and (c)(6) address self-
retracting lifelines and lanyards. In paragraph (c)(5) OSHA proposes 
that self-retracting lifelines and lanyards that limit free fall to 2 
feet (0.61 m) or less be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load 
of 3,000 pounds. In paragraph (c)(6) OSHA proposes that self-retracting 
lifelines and lanyards that do not limit free fall to 2 feet (0.61 m) 
or less, as well as rip-stitch lanyards, and tearing and deforming 
lanyards must be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 
pounds. The different strengths are appropriate because the dynamic 
forces associated with falls increase with the distance of the free 
fall, and OSHA believes the proposed levels provide a reasonable factor 
of safety. OSHA has already adopted this approach in the general 
industry, construction, and shipyard employment standards on fall 
protection. The proposed requirements are also consistent with the 
requirements in ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004. 
However, neither of the consensus standards contain a separate 
provision (as OSHA does in proposed paragraph (c)(6)) directed to self-
retracting lanyards and lifelines that do not limit free fall to 2 feet 
or less. OSHA requests specific comment on whether the requirement in 
paragraph proposed (c)(6) is necessary, since it is essentially the 
same as the requirement in proposed paragraph (c)(4). That is, if OSHA 
did not finalize the requirement proposed at paragraph (c)(6), would it 
be clear from (c)(4) that all lanyards and lifelines, except those that 
limit free fall to 2 feet or less, must have a breaking strength of 
5,000 pounds?
    One commenter to the 1990 proposal suggested that the high strength 
requirements for lanyards and lifelines would be hard to maintain. OSHA 
realizes some wear will occur during normal use of lanyards and 
lifelines in the workplace. Ultraviolet radiation, water, and dirt 
reduce the strength of lanyards and lifelines. However, wear must never 
be allowed to reach the point where equipment performance might be 
compromised. This is one reason why it is important to inspect 
equipment before each use (and, if necessary, remove it from use) as 
required in proposed paragraph (c)(18), and to protect certain 
components, including lanyards, from being cut, abraded, or melted, as 
required in proposed paragraph (c)(20).
    Another concern related to strength reduction is the use of knots 
in lanyards and lifelines. OSHA is aware that the use of knots in 
lanyards and vertical lifelines can sometimes reduce breaking strength. 
For this reason, OSHA considered proposing a ban on knots, with the 
exception of knots at the ends of the components. Such a ban would be 
consistent with requirements in the national consensus standards. For 
example, ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 (section 7.2.1) prohibits knots, 
stating, "No knots shall be tied in lanyards, lifelines, or anchorage 
connectors. Sliding-hitch knots shall not be used in lieu of fall 
arresters." Likewise, ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004 (section 3.7.3) prohibits 
the use of knots, except as a "stop" at the end of a lifeline. Rather 
than proposing an outright ban on the use of knots, OSHA is requesting 
comments on whether it should prohibit knots or require that a 
competent person inspect all knots. Commenters should provide suggested 
language and rationale to support their positions.
    Comments and testimony from the 1990 rulemaking on the use of knots 
both supported and objected to the use of knots. For example, some 
commenters (Exs. OSHA-S057-2006-0680-0048, -0083, and -0061) objected 
to the use of knots and suggested that OSHA require that ends of 
lanyards and lifelines be terminated in swedges or splices. These 
commenters felt that knots significantly reduced the strength of the 
line and that it is difficult for employees to learn to tie reliably.
    Other commenters (Ex. OSHA-S057-2006-0680-0118) supported the use 
of knots, reasoning that some knots will retain up to 90 percent of the 
original rope strength. Commenters also noted that some ropes could 
lose more than 10 percent of their original breaking strength and still 
meet OSHA's proposed 5,000 pound (22.2 kN) requirement. Testimony at 
the public hearing also supported the idea that knots could be used to 
terminate lifelines and lanyards safely (Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-1252, 
p. 389-391, 416-419). The proposal reflects the information currently 
available to the Agency--that knots can be used safely in some 
circumstances, so employers should be allowed the flexibility to use 
knots as long as they verify that proposed strength requirements for 
the entire rope have been met.
    Proposed paragraphs (c)(7) through (c)(10) establish criteria for 
D-rings and snaphooks. In paragraph (c)(7) OSHA is proposing that D-
rings and snaphooks be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 
5,000 pounds (22.2 kN). In paragraph (c)(8), OSHA proposes that all D-
rings and snaphooks be proof-tested to 3,600 pounds (16 kN) without 
cracking, breaking, or incurring permanent deformation. The 3,600 
pounds (16 kN) criterion is based on the need to meet a 2:1 safety 
factor for the use of these components with body harnesses (which limit 
maximum arresting forces to 1,800 pounds (8 kN)). OSHA has already 
adopted this approach in the general industry, construction, and 
shipyard employment standards on fall protection. Similar requirements 
are also found in the national consensus standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 
and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004.
    In paragraph (c)(9) OSHA proposes to require the use of locking 
snaphooks, thus prohibiting non-locking snaphooks for any personal fall 
protection systems. Locking snaphooks require two separate, consecutive 
actions to open, which reduces the likelihood of inadvertent opening. 
OSHA has already adopted this approach in the construction and shipyard 
employment standards on fall protection. The prohibition on the use of 
non-locking snaphooks in existing OSHA standards for the construction 
and shipyard employment sectors went into effect on January 1, 1998. In 
addition, national consensus standards, including ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 
and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004, only permit the use of locking snaphooks. 
Evidence in the 1990 rulemaking also showed widespread support for a 
prohibition on non-locking snaphooks, which is particularly significant 
in light of the fact that these comments were made more than 17 years 
ago. Therefore, OSHA believes that there is no reason to propose any 
type of extended or delayed effective date for this provision. If there 
are reasons for an extended or delayed effective date, they should be 
submitted to the record.
    Paragraph (c)(10), like other existing OSHA standards, proposes to 
require that, unless the snaphook is designed for the following 
connections, it shall not be engaged directly to: webbing, rope, or 
wire rope; another snaphook; a D-ring to which another snaphook or 
connector is attached; a horizontal lifeline; or any object that is 
incompatibly shaped or dimensioned in relation to the snaphook such 
that unintentional disengagement could occur if the connected object 
depresses the snaphook gate and causes it to open. OSHA has already 
adopted this approach in the construction and shipyard employment 
standards on fall protection. Both ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 and ANSI/ASSE 
A10.32-2004 consensus standards also contain a number of separate 
requirements prohibiting these connections. In addition, section 7.2 
(Equipment Rigging and Use) of ANSI/ASSE Z359.1 addresses snaphook and 
carabiner connections and other concerns. Explanatory notes in that 
section contain additional, helpful material about connections.
    In paragraph (c)(11) OSHA proposes to require that horizontal 
lifelines be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a 
qualified person, and that they be part of a complete personal fall 
arrest system that maintains a safety factor of two. OSHA believes the 
safety factor of two provides adequate protection and has already 
adopted this approach in the general industry, construction, and 
shipyard employment standards on fall protection. An essentially 
similar requirement is also found in the national consensus standard, 
ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004. The other consensus standard pertinent to fall 
protection, ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007, does not include specific 
requirements for horizontal lifelines because the standard does not 
cover them. However, the Z359.1 standard (section 3.1.4) states, "A 
PFAS [personal fall protection system] which incorporates a horizontal 
lifeline (outside the scope of this standard) shall be evaluated in 
accordance with acceptable engineering practice to determine that such 
system will perform as intended." OSHA notes that horizontal lifelines 
present special problems in application. For example, they allow a 
potentially longer fall distance than some other fall protection 
devices. In addition, forces applied in a perpendicular direction to a 
horizontal lifeline create much larger forces at the anchorages. These 
and other concerns relative to the use of horizontal lifelines support 
the need for proposed paragraph (c)(11). As a point of clarification, 
OSHA notes that there could be more than one qualified person involved 
in the process; i.e., the qualified person who designs and installs the 
system may be different than the qualified person who supervises the 
use of the system.
    In paragraph (c)(12) OSHA proposes to require that anchorages used 
for attachment to personal fall protection equipment be independent of 
any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms. This 
requirement is intended to ensure that if the anchorage holding other 
equipment (such as a powered platform) fails, the employee will be 
still be protected by the separate, independent anchorage to which the 
fall protection system is secured.
    In paragraph (c)(13), OSHA proposes that anchorages be capable of 
supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) for each employee attached 
or that they be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of 
a qualified person as part of a complete fall protection system 
maintaining a safety factor of two. The proposed provision does not 
apply to window cleaner's belt anchors, addressed separately in 
proposed paragraph (e) of this section, because those positioning 
systems are unique. OSHA has already adopted the approach proposed here 
in the general industry, construction, and shipyard employment 
standards for fall protection. Similar requirements are also found in 
the national consensus standards pertinent to fall protection, 
including ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004, as well as 
the ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001 standard for window-cleaning safety. In 
particular, section 7.2.3 of the Z359.1 standard states:

    Anchorages selected for PFAS shall have a strength capable of 
sustaining static loads, applied in the directions permitted by the 
PFAS, of at least: (a) two times the maximum arrest force permitted 
on the system, or (b) 5,000 pounds (22.2kN) in the absence of 
certification. When more than one PFAS is attached to an anchorage, 
the anchorage strengths set forth in (a) and (b) above shall be 
multiplied by the number of personal fall arrest systems attached to 
the anchorage.

In the explanatory material for this provision, ANSI notes: "The 5,000 
pound (22.2kN) anchorage referred to here is the same as that required 
by OSHA in Sec.  1910.66--Powered platforms for building maintenance. 
An assumption is made that the 5,000 pound (22.2kN) strength level has 
been established and, therefore, certification is not required."
    The strength of fall protection anchorages has generated 
considerable comment in previous OSHA rulemakings. OSHA's position at 
this time is the same as it was in the earlier rulemakings: the level 
of strength required by this proposal is necessary to provide a 
reasonable margin of safety for employees. For clarification, OSHA 
notes that it is not requiring a 5,000 pound (22.2 kN) anchorage point 
in every situation. If an employer cannot find or develop an anchor 
point capable of supporting a 5,000 pound (22.2 kN) load, then an 
anchor point of lesser strength may be used only if it is both part of 
a complete fall protection system maintaining a safety factor of at 
least two, and it is designed, installed, and used under the 
supervision of a qualified person. The Agency anticipates that 
employers who cannot achieve a 5,000 pound (22.2 kN) anchorage strength 
will be able to meet the two to one safety factor. As OSHA noted above 
with respect to proposed paragraph (c)(11), an employer may use more 
than one qualified person to comply with this requirement. For example, 
some employers may choose to have an outside firm design an appropriate 
system, and an in-house qualified person supervise its use.
    In paragraph (c)(14) OSHA proposes that restraint lines used in 
travel restraint systems be capable of supporting at least a 5,000 
pound (13.3 kN) tensile load. The Agency is proposing the 5,000 pound requirement 
to be consistent with other requirements in this section. (For example, 
see proposed paragraphs (c)(4), (c)(6), and (c)(7).) This requirement 
provides an important safety factor if a restraint line is ever used as 
a lifeline; for example, if it is not rigged properly and a fall 
occurs, the restraint line would effectively become a lifeline and 
would have to meet the 5,000 pound requirement. Existing OSHA standards 
pertinent to fall protection do not include specific requirements for 
travel restraint lines, but section 3.11 of the ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004 
standard specifies that component parts of travel restraint systems, 
including anchorages, be designed to meet the requirements of personal 
fall arrest equipment. The ANSI/ASSE Z359.3-2007 standard for 
positioning and travel restraint systems similarly requires that 
positioning and travel restraint lanyards have a minimum breaking 
strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2kN).
    In paragraph (c)(15) OSHA proposes to require that lifelines and 
carriers be made of materials other than natural fiber rope. 
Additionally, proposed (c)(15) requires that where polypropylene rope 
is used, it must contain an ultraviolet (UV) light inhibitor. The 
proposed provision is consistent with OSHA's general industry standard 
on powered platforms and the shipyard employment standard. Both of 
these standards require that ropes and straps (webbing) used in 
lanyards, lifelines, and strength components of body belts and body 
harnesses be made from synthetic fibers or wire rope. OSHA's 
construction industry standard is the same except that it does not make 
reference to wire rope.
    None of the existing OSHA standards, however, address carriers, nor 
do they require that the polypropylene rope contain a UV light 
inhibitor. The proposed provision is consistent with requirements in 
section 3.2.3 of ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 and with section 3.8 of ANSI/
ASSE A10.32-2004. Section 6.8 of the national consensus standard for 
window-cleaning safety, ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001, prohibits ropes made 
entirely of polypropylene. Also, section 14.2.3 of ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-
2001 standard requires all rope and webbing used in suspending the seat 
board (of rope descent systems) be synthetic fiber, preferably nylon or 
polyester, with a rated strength of 5,000 pounds. For fall protection, 
the ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001 standard requires compliance with ANSI/ASSE 
Z359.1 standard.
    The UV light inhibitor provision was added to this proposal in 
response to comments received in the 1990 proposed rulemaking (Ex. 
OSHA-S057-2006-0680-0083), pointing out that sunlight can cause severe 
deterioration in polypropylene rope. OSHA recognizes that ultraviolet 
degradation can be a serious problem, but also believes that 
polypropylene rope has some advantages over other synthetic materials. 
Polypropylene is strong, flexible, and may be less costly than ropes 
made of some other materials. Many of the newer polypropylene ropes are 
made with an UV light inhibitor which reduces the strength degradation 
problem. For these reasons, the Agency believes the proposed provision 
offers an appropriate level of safety without unnecessarily sacrificing 
flexibility.
    In paragraph (c)(16), OSHA proposes that all personal fall 
protection systems and their components be used for employee fall 
protection only, and not for any other purpose, such as hoisting 
equipment or materials. This means that those systems or components may 
not be used as material or equipment hoist slings, bundle ties, or for 
other such purposes. OSHA has already adopted this approach in its 
general industry, construction, and shipyard employment standards on 
fall protection. In the powered platform standard, OSHA did not include 
the phrase "and not used to hoist materials," which appears in the 
shipyard employment and construction standards. OSHA believes the added 
phrase clarifies the intent of the provision.
    In paragraph (c)(17), OSHA proposes that all fall protection 
systems or any of their components that have been subjected to impact 
loading (as distinguished from static load testing) be removed from 
service immediately. A removed system or component may not be used 
again until a competent person inspects the equipment and determines 
that it is undamaged and suitable for reuse. By this proposed language, 
OSHA is recognizing that impact loading may adversely affect the 
integrity of a fall protection system, but that there are many factors 
that can affect a system's potential capacity for reuse as fall 
protection. These include the employee's weight and the type of 
deceleration device used, among others. This proposed provision is 
intended to ensure that employers will implement procedures for 
inspection and evaluation of equipment that will prevent the reuse of 
damaged equipment. OSHA has not, however, adopted the suggestion of one 
commenter in the 1990 proposed rulemaking (Ex. OSHA-S057-2006-0680-
0048) that the standard allow only the manufacturer to inspect systems 
to determine if they are suitable for reuse. OSHA believes that any 
competent person could inspect the system effectively because all 
competent persons must be capable of determining dangerous or hazardous 
conditions in any fall protection system or component. OSHA has already 
adopted the proposed approach in the general industry, construction, 
and shipyard employment standards on fall protection. The proposed 
requirement is also consistent with the ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 (section 
5.3.4) and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004 (section 3.4) consensus standards.
    OSHA solicits comments on whether the proposed approach provides 
adequate protection, or whether the final standard should require the 
destruction of ropes, lanyards, belts, and harnesses once they have 
been subjected to impact loading. Impact loading can cause damage to 
fibers that cannot be easily discovered, and these components are 
relatively inexpensive. OSHA is therefore still considering revising 
the proposed requirement to require the destruction and removal of 
ropes, lanyards, belts, and harnesses once they have been subject to 
impact loading.
    In paragraph (c)(18) OSHA proposes that fall protection equipment 
be inspected for mildew, wear, damage, and other deterioration before 
each use. Components showing such damage must be removed from service 
if their function or strength has been adversely affected. The intent 
of this requirement, like that of proposed paragraph (c)(17), is to 
ensure that defective or weakened equipment is removed from service if 
the equipment's performance could be adversely affected. OSHA has 
already adopted this approach in its general industry, construction, 
and shipyard employment standards on fall protection. The proposal is 
also consistent with the consensus standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 
(section 6.1) and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004 (section 6.3).
    In paragraph (c)(19), OSHA proposes that ropes, belts, lanyards, 
lifelines, and harnesses be compatible with all connectors used. OSHA 
is proposing this requirement because it believes the use of 
incompatible equipment leads to rollout. Rollout is a process by which 
a snaphook or carabiner unintentionally disengages from another 
connector or object to which it is coupled, possibly resulting in 
injury or death. OSHA has already adopted this approach in its shipyard 
employment standards on fall protection. Additionally, both the ANSI/
ASSE Z359.1-2007 and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004 consensus standards address 
the need for compatibility of equipment. For example, the explanatory 
material for section 3.2.6.2 of the Z359.1 standard states, "An effort 
should be made to encourage compatible connector couplings." 
Requirements in sections 7.1 and 7.2 of that standard also address the 
issue of compatibility, as do requirements in the ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004 
standard (sections 4.1.1 and 4.4.2).
    In paragraph (c)(20), OSHA proposes that ropes, belts, lanyards, 
and harnesses used for personal fall protection be protected from being 
cut, abraded, melted, or otherwise damaged. These types of damage could 
cause the components to lose strength and fail. OSHA has already 
partially adopted this approach in its construction and shipyard 
employment standards on fall protection. The general industry standard 
on fall protection for powered platforms provides guidelines (see 
Appendix C, section III, paragraph (f) of Sec.  1910.66) for the 
inspection of personal fall arrest equipment, and emphasizes the need 
to remove equipment that has been subject to cuts, abrasion, and other 
damage. Similar provisions are found in ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 (section 
7) and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004 (section 3.7) standards pertinent to 
lifelines and lanyards. The existing OSHA requirements apply to 
lifelines and lanyards only, whereas the proposed requirement would 
apply to all ropes, belts, and harnesses because OSHA believes all of 
these components should be protected from being cut, abraded, melted or 
exposed to similar hazards.
    Because an employee suspended after a fall may be exposed to 
serious injury, including suspension trauma, OSHA is proposing in 
paragraph(c)(21) to require the employer to provide for prompt rescue. 
To meet this requirement, the employer must evaluate the availability 
of rescue personnel, ladders, or other rescue equipment. In some 
situations, it may be appropriate to use equipment; for example, a 
mechanical device that has descent capability which allows employees to 
rescue themselves after a fall has been arrested. In other situations, 
a suspended employee may not be able to reach a work level 
independently, so the employer must ensure the ability to rescue the 
employee promptly.
    In recognition of hazards confronting employees, OSHA developed a 
Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) addressing the hazards 
associated with suspension trauma/orthostatic intolerance (SHIB 03-24-
2004).
The SHIB states in part:

    Orthostatic intolerance may be experienced by workers using fall 
arrest systems. Following a fall, a worker may remain suspended in a 
harness. The sustained immobility may lead to a state of 
unconsciousness. Depending on the length of time the suspended 
worker is unconscious/immobile and the level of venous pooling, the 
resulting orthostatic intolerance may lead to death. While not 
common, such fatalities often are referred to as "harness-induced 
pathology" or "suspension trauma."

OSHA has already adopted this approach in the general industry, 
construction, and shipyard employment standards on fall protection. The 
proposal is also consistent with the national consensus standard, ANSI/
ASSE A10.32-2004 (section 6.2.1). Additionally, section 7.3 of the 
ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 standard addresses the need to be trained in 
rescue. Finally, the need for rescue is evident by the development of a 
new American National Standard entitled "Safety Requirements for 
Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, ANSI/ASSE Z359.4-2007."
    In paragraph (c)(22), OSHA proposes to require all personal fall 
protection systems to be worn with the attachment point in the center 
of the wearer's back near the shoulder level or above the wearer's 
head. An exception is provided that allows the attachment point to be 
located in the pre-sternal position if the free fall distance is 
limited to 2 feet (0.6 m) or less and the fall arrest forces are 
limited to 900 pounds (4 kN). OSHA has already adopted this approach in 
the general industry, construction, and shipyard employment standards 
on fall protection, except that none of these OSHA standards permit the 
attachment point to be located in the pre-sternal position. The 
exception for the pre-sternal position proposed in this standard 
reflects the new language in ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 (section 3.2.2.5a). 
The proposal is also consistent with ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001.
    OSHA believes the exception is necessary to allow flexibility to 
attach in front during certain activities (such as climbing or using 
rope descent systems for window washing) are underway to make self-
rescue possible, as some commenters argued in the 1990 proposed 
rulemaking. One witness, Mr. Terry Schmidt, testified that European 
standards already allowed an attachment point in the pre-sternal 
position (Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-1252, p. 216). Another witness, Mr. 
Weinel, commented:

    I'm very much a believer in the front, I think the term used was 
"mid-sternal" connection. This will keep me, as the person in 
trouble, oriented upright, facing the rope, where I can perform 
self-rescue. (Tr. 363.)

OSHA believes that an attachment point in the pre-sternal position 
(when the free fall distance is limited to 2 feet (0.6 m) or less) 
would have only a minimal effect on the distribution of arresting 
forces, yet would provide an overall advantage of easier self-rescue in 
some specialized applications such as confined spaces, window cleaning, 
and climbing activities. Again, the location of the attachment point in 
the pre-sternal position is limited to those situations in which the 
free fall distance is kept to 2 feet (0.6 m) or less and the maximum 
arresting forces are limited to 900 pounds (4 kN), thereby reducing 
risk of serious neck and back injury.

Paragraph (d) Personal Fall Arrest Systems
    Proposed paragraph (d) establishes specific requirements applicable 
when personal fall arrest systems are used. These new, specific 
requirements are in addition to the general requirements in proposed 
paragraph (c) that apply to all types of personal fall protection 
equipment. The proposed requirements are consistent with the national 
consensus standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 (section 3) and ANSI/ASSE 
A10.32-2004.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(1) establishes criteria for the performance 
of personal fall arrest systems. Proposed paragraph (d)(2) establishes 
criteria for the use of personal fall arrest systems. The requirements 
proposed in paragraph (d) are based on requirements in existing OSHA 
general industry, construction, and shipyard employment standards on 
fall protection, as well as national consensus standards, including 
ANSI/ASME Z359.1-2007, Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest 
Systems, Subsystems and Components; and ANSI/ASME A10.32-2004, Fall 
Protection Systems (for construction) standards.
    The performance criteria proposed in paragraph (d)(1) are nearly 
identical to those that are already required by other OSHA fall 
protection standards. For the most part, they were first promulgated by 
OSHA in Appendix C to Sec.  1910.66 (see 54 FR 31445, July 28, 1989). 
The preamble to that standard anticipated that those criteria would 
eventually be used in a more broadly applicable general industry 
standard:

    The comments and data on fall arrest systems which were 
submitted to the record of the powered platforms rulemaking are also 
being used in the development of the generic rule. OSHA anticipates 
that the provisions on personal fall arrest systems in Appendix C,
section I, of the powered platforms standard will be consistent with 
the proposed requirements for those systems in the proposed generic 
rule. (54 FR 31450)

The preamble also provides detailed explanations of the performance 
criteria proposed here, and of their bases.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(1)(i) limits the maximum arresting force on 
an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when a body harness is used. The 
maximum arrest force of 1,800 pounds (8 kN) criterion is discussed 
extensively in the preamble to the final rulemaking for Sec.  1910.66. 
In this preamble, OSHA noted that the proposal (at 50 FR 2890) included 
"a force limit of 10 times the worker's weight or 1,800 pounds (8 kN) 
whichever is less," and that "[t]his was consistent with ANSI A10.14-
1975 (Ex. 11-1), and a NBS [National Bureau of Standards, now the 
National Institute for Science and Technology] report (Ex. 11-2)." 
OSHA also described in the final rule (at 54 FR 31450) a comment from 
the United States Technical Advisory Group (USTAG), an advisory group 
representing both government and private interests:

    USTAG recommended that maximum arrest force for body belts not 
exceed 900 pounds. USTAG states that "empirical data from impact 
loading of humans and animals suggests that injury threshold may be 
in the neighborhood of 10 g's or even lower depending on many 
variables" (Ex 8-33). USTAG cited British standards which restrict 
the use of body belts to 5 g's for a 180 pound (82 kg) person (the 
equivalent of 900 pounds (4 kN) of force). Based on the record, OSHA 
agrees with USTAG that a maximum arresting force of 1,800 pounds (8 
kN) is acceptable when using a body harness but not acceptable when 
using a body belt.
    OSHA notes that USTAG's recommendation applied to the maximum 
permitted force for positioning systems, not to fall arrest 
equipment * * * however, that there is no reason to distinguish 
these applications in terms of the permitted force limit.

(See 54 FR 31450.)
    At the time Sec.  1910.66 was promulgated, the ANSI Z359.1-1992 
standard covering personal fall arrest systems did not yet exist. When 
the ANSI standard was published in 1992 and reaffirmed in 2002, it 
contained (section 3.1.2) the same requirement limiting maximum 
arresting forces to 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when a body harness was used in 
the personal fall arrest system. Both the 1992 and 2002 ANSI standards 
provide the following explanation of the 1,800-pound (8-kN) maximum 
arresting force (MAF) limit:

    E3.1.2 * * * The 1,800 pound (8 kN) MAF criteria included in 
this standard is based on the following considerations. In the mid-
1970's medical information developed in France confirmed earlier 
United States research which observed that approximately 2,700 
pounds (12 kN) is the threshold of significant injury incidence for 
physically fit individuals subjected to drop impacts when wearing 
harnesses. The French arbitrarily halved the above force and 
established 1,350 pounds (6 kN) as their national standard for MAF 
in PFAS. Canada's Ontario Ministry of Labor reviewed this 
information and elected to establish 1,800 pounds (8 kN) for MAF. 
This MAF has been in effect since 1979 in the Ontario Provincial 
standard. Since that time there have been no reported deaths or 
serious injuries associated with the arresting of accidental falls 
of individuals. In addition, ISO/TC94/SC4, in working drafts, has 
established the 1,800 pounds (8 kN) limit on MAF. On the basis of 
this information, 1,800 pounds (8 kN) is considered the appropriate 
MAF for inclusion in this standard where harnesses are to be used in 
arresting falls.

Thus, the most current ANSI Z359.1 standard (section 3.1.2) continues 
to prescribe the 1,800 pound (8 kN) limit for the same reasons 
explained above.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(1)(ii) limits the maximum deceleration 
distance to 3.5 feet (1.07 m). The deceleration distance of 3.5 feet 
(1.07 m) would be in addition to the free fall distance which OSHA 
proposes to limit to 6 feet (1.8 m), meaning that a total fall of 9.5 
feet (2.9 m) could result. OSHA has already adopted this approach in 
the general industry, construction, and shipyard employment standards 
on fall protection. The proposed requirements are also consistent with 
the national consensus standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 (section 3.1.4) 
and ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004.
    Proposed paragraph (d)(1)(iii) requires the personal fall arrest 
system to have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential 
impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of 6 feet (1.8 m), 
or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less. 
Compliance with this requirement means that the system will not fail if 
subjected to twice the design shock load. For example, if a body 
harness is being used as part of the personal fall arrest system, 
proposed paragraph (d)(1)(i) of the standard specifies that the 
arresting force be limited to 1,800 pounds (8 kN). Therefore, the 
system would have to be capable of withstanding an impact force of 
3,600 pounds (16 kN), which is twice the potential arresting force of 
the employee using the system. The Agency believes that a safety factor 
of two is necessary because of normal wear on the system. In practice, 
arresting forces should never approach the design shock load because 
the free fall distance will be less than 6 feet (1.8 m), and because 
lifelines, which absorb energy, will often be used. Again, this 
requirement is consistent with OSHA's existing general industry, 
construction, and shipyard employment standards on fall protection.
    A note to proposed paragraph (d) makes it clear that personal fall 
arrest systems that meet the criteria and protocols set out in Appendix 
D to proposed Sec.  1910.140 will be deemed to be in compliance with 
the requirements of proposed paragraphs (d)(1)(i) through (iii) when 
used by an employee with a combined tool and body weight of 310 pounds 
(140 kg) or less. The non-mandatory appendix provides one method which 
will allow employers to evaluate the ability of a personal fall arrest 
system to meet the necessary criteria. The appendix is restricted to 
situations in which total tool and body weight is 310 pounds (140 kg) 
or less because the test methods in proposed Appendix D were designed 
for this weight. If a system is needed for a greater or lesser weight, 
the test methods may still be used, provided they are modified, 
possibly by using a heavier or lighter test weight to reflect the 
heavier or lighter weight of the employee.
    In paragraph (d)(2) OSHA is proposing criteria for the use of 
personal fall arrest systems. In paragraph (d)(2)(i) OSHA proposes that 
where employees working on suspended scaffolds or on similar work 
platforms are connected to horizontal lifelines that could become 
vertical lifelines, the device used to connect to the horizontal 
lifeline must be capable of locking in both directions on the lifeline. 
OSHA believes this requirement is necessary because a horizontal 
lifeline could become a vertical lifeline if one end of the scaffold 
support lines fails. For example, a rope grab that does not lock in 
both directions on the lifeline could fail to hold, allowing the 
employee to fall to a lower level. OSHA has already adopted this 
approach in the general industry, construction, and shipyard employment 
standards on fall protection. The hazard addressed in the proposed 
requirement is also addressed in the national consensus standard, ANSI/
ASSE A10.32-2004 (section 4).
    Paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of the proposal requires the personal fall 
arrest system to be rigged so that an employee can neither free fall 
more than 6 feet (1.8 m) nor contact any lower level. The system 
strength and deceleration criteria are based on a maximum free fall 
distance of 6 feet (1.8 m). A longer free fall distance could mean that 
the strength and deceleration requirements would no longer protect 
employees. OSHA has already adopted this approach in the
general industry, construction, and shipyard employment standards on 
fall protection. Similar requirements are also found in the national 
consensus standards, ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 (section 7.2) and ANSI/ASSE 
A10.32-2004 (section 4.2.1).
    Paragraph (d)(3) of the proposal prohibits the use of body belts 
for personal fall arrest systems. Because OSHA is proposing to ban the 
use of body belts as part of personal fall arrest systems, it has not 
proposed maximum arresting forces when body belts are used. OSHA notes 
that both the construction industry and shipyard employment standards 
already prohibit the use of body belts as part of personal fall arrest 
systems.

Paragraph (e) Positioning Systems
    Proposed paragraph (e) establishes specific requirements applicable 
when positioning systems, including window cleaner's positioning 
systems, are used. These new, specific requirements are in addition to 
the general requirements in proposed paragraph (c) which apply to all 
types of fall protection equipment.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(1) establishes performance criteria for 
positioning systems. Proposed paragraph (e)(1)(i) requires that all 
positioning systems, except window cleaner's positioning systems, be 
capable of withstanding, without failure, a drop-test consisting of a 
4-foot (1.2-m) drop of a 250-pound (113-kg) weight.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(A) requires window cleaner's 
positioning systems to be capable of withstanding, without failure, a 
drop-test consisting of a 6-foot (1.8-m) drop of a 250-pound (113-kg) 
weight. In addition, these systems must limit the initial arresting 
forces to not more than 2,000 pounds (8.9 kN), with a duration not to 
exceed 2 milliseconds, with any subsequent arresting forces imposed on 
the falling employee limited to not more than 1,000 pounds (4.5kN). 
These systems must withstand a more rigorous drop test than other 
positioning device systems because of their potential for greater free 
fall distances. OSHA has already adopted this approach in paragraph 
(b)(2) of the shipyard employment standards at Sec.  1915.160, 
Positioning device systems. A note applicable to proposed paragraphs 
(e)(1)(i) and (e)(1)(ii) indicates that window cleaners' positioning 
systems meeting the tests outlined in Appendix D to proposed Sec.  
1910.140 are considered to be in compliance with these provisions.
    Proposed paragraph (e)(1)(iii) addresses criteria for lineman's 
body belt and pole strap systems. Although positioning equipment used 
in electric power transmission and distribution work is not intended to 
be used as insulation from live parts, positioning straps could come 
into contact with live parts while an employee is working. Thus, it is 
still important for this equipment to provide some level of insulation. 
Proposed paragraphs (e)(1)(iii)(A) and (e)(1)(iii)(B) would require 
positioning straps to be capable of passing dielectric and leakage 
current tests. This provision is equivalent to existing Sec.  
1926.959(b)(1). The voltages listed in these paragraphs are alternating 
current. The note following proposed paragraph (e)(1)(iii) indicates 
that equivalent direct current tests would also be acceptable.
    The remaining requirements in proposed paragraph (e)(2) contain 
criteria applicable only to window cleaner's belts, anchorages, and 
other components of window cleaner's positioning systems. There are no 
specific requirements for this type of personal fall protection system 
in existing OSHA standards. Rather, OSHA enforces the general 
requirement to have fall protection, and relies on national consensus 
standards for the criteria for such systems. The proposed requirements 
will enhance compliance and reduce hazards by clarifying exactly what 
requirements apply to positioning systems used for window cleaning. All 
of these requirements are based on the national consensus standard, 
ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001, Window Cleaning Safety, and address the design, 
strength, and installation of window cleaners' positioning systems. 
OSHA believes that these proposed criteria, in conjunction with the 
proposed general criteria for all personal fall protection systems 
(Sec.  1910.140(c)), provide a reasonable and necessary level of safety 
for employees using these systems.
    OSHA notes that all of these requirements were proposed in the 1990 
rulemaking. There was no substantive comment on the proposed revisions 
even though OSHA asked for specific comment as to whether existing 
buildings have window cleaning anchors that meet these standards and, 
if not, what would be the cost of coming into compliance. OSHA 
particularly raised concern about one proposed provision--paragraph 
(e)(2)(iii) of the current proposal--which requires that window 
cleaning anchors and the structures to which they were attached support 
a 6,000 pound (26.5 kN) load, noting that there was some concern that 
the 6,000 pounds (26.5 N) might be too restrictive. OSHA believes that 
window cleaner's belts and their associated anchors are not used as 
commonly as they once were. However, since there are buildings where 
these systems are still used, OSHA proposes these minimal requirements 
to protect employees.
    Also, OSHA proposes to add two appendices to Sec.  1910.140. These 
appendices, which are non-mandatory, would provide specific information 
and examples pertaining to the types of equipment regulated in this 
proposed standard. Appendix C provides useful information and guidance 
concerning the use of personal fall arrest systems. The information 
concerns the selection and use of personal fall arrest systems 
including considerations for testing, employee training, instruction, 
and inspection. Appendix D provides test methods for personal fall 
arrest systems and positioning device systems. OSHA specifically 
requests comments on whether or not this proposed appendix should 
include any test methods with the final rule; update the test methods 
proposed; or include other testing sources. OSHA also seeks comment on 
whether these proposed appendices will prove helpful in complying with 
the proposed provisions. Additionally, the Agency requests comment 
whether any of the non-mandatory language in Appendix C or D should be 
included in the requirements of Sec.  1910.140.
    Finally, OSHA is proposing to require employers to conduct a hazard 
assessment as required by Sec.  1910.132(d), and to follow the training 
requirements set out in Sec.  1910.132(f).

V. Preliminary Economic and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Screening 
Analysis

A. Introduction

    OSHA has determined that this proposed standard governing 
occupational exposure to slip, trip, and fall hazards on walking and 
working surfaces is significant under Executive Order 12866 (Sept. 30, 
1993). Accordingly, the Office of Regulatory Analysis within OSHA has 
prepared this Preliminary Economic and Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Screening Analysis (PEA) for the proposed standard. In conducting the 
PEA, OSHA has, to the extent possible given the available resources, 
endeavored to meet the requirements of OMB's Circular A-4 (OMB, 2003), 
a guidance document for regulatory agencies preparing economic analyses 
under Executive Order 12866.
    This PEA addresses issues related to the costs, benefits, 
technological and economic feasibility and economic impacts (including 
small business impacts) of the Agency's proposed revisions to subpart 
D, Walking-Working Surfaces, and subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment. 
The analysis also evaluates regulatory alternatives to the final rule. This 
rule has been reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget, as required by 
executive order.
    The purpose of the PEA is to:
     Identify the establishments and industries potentially 
affected by the proposed rule; 
     Estimate current exposures to slip, trip, and fall hazards 
in general industry and assess the technologically feasible methods of 
controlling these exposures; 
     Estimate the benefits of the rule in terms of the 
reductions in the number of deaths and injuries that employers will 
achieve by coming into compliance with the standard; 
     Evaluate the costs and economic impacts that 
establishments in the regulated community will incur to achieve 
compliance with the proposed standard; 
     Assess the economic feasibility of the rule for affected 
industries; and
     Evaluate the principal regulatory alternatives to the 
proposed rule that OSHA has considered.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (as amended in 1996) (SBA, 1996; 5 
U.S.C 601) requires that an initial regulatory flexibility analysis 
(IRFA) be prepared if an agency determines that a proposed rule will 
impose a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. To determine the need for an IRFA, OSHA voluntarily prepared 
an initial regulatory flexibility screening analysis that identifies 
and estimates the impacts of the proposed standard on small businesses. 
In addition to background information on the affected workforce and the 
hazards to which they are exposed, this subsection of the economic 
analysis describes the need for a standard for walking-working surfaces 
and the criteria that guide OSHA in conducting a feasibility analysis 
for a safety standard. On the basis of the screening analysis, 
presented in the last subsection of this PEA, OSHA certifies that the 
proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.
    This PEA contains the following subsections in addition to this 
Introduction:
     Assessing the Need for Regulation.
     Industry Profile.
     Benefits, Net Benefits, and Cost Effectiveness.
     Technological Feasibility.
     Costs of Compliance.
     Economic Impacts.
     Initial Regulatory Flexibility Screening Analysis.
    To develop the PEA, OSHA relied considerably on (1) the record 
created throughout the history of this rulemaking, and (2) an analysis 
by OSHA's contractor, Eastern Research Group (ERG) (ERG, 2007 Ex. 6).
Reasons Why Action by the Agency Is Being Considered
    Earlier in this preamble OSHA discussed the major changes that are 
being proposed to the existing standards for walking-working surfaces 
and personal protective equipment (subparts D and I of part 1910). The 
proposed standards are designed to prevent a significant number of 
slips, trips, and falls that result in injuries and fatalities in 
general industry, including falls from ladders, roofs, scaffolds, and 
stairs. Some examples from OSHA's inspection database (OSHA, 2007) best 
illustrate the kinds of accidents the standards are designed to prevent 
and how the revised standards will prevent them.
    On October 22, 2000, a head repairman for a specialty metals 
producer in Pennsylvania was replacing a water cooling panel 
(approximately 8-ft high by 12-ft long) on a basic oxygen furnace 
vessel. To access the panel, he placed a ladder on an 8-in. diameter 
pipe. When the employee attempted either to gain access to the panel or 
to secure the ladder, he fell 22 feet to the ground. He sustained a 
blunt force trauma injury to his head, and was killed. OSHA cited and 
fined the employer for a violation of Sec.  1910.23(c)(1), Protection 
of open-sided floors, platforms, and runways, and Sec.  
1910.25(d)(2)(i), Use of ladders, along with other standards. OSHA 
believes that the proposed clarifications of the requirements for the 
safe use of ladders and the duty to have fall protection will help to 
prevent accidents such as the one described above.
    In a window cleaning operation on July 20, 2000, two employees were 
working from boatswain's chairs suspended from a roof by two 
transportable roof rollers, and lowering their chairs down the side of 
the building using controlled descent devices. A third employee was on 
the roof pushing the rollers back and forth to move his coworkers from 
window to window. The third employee was moving the roller on one end 
of the building when one of its wheels slipped off the edge of the 
parapet wall, causing the rollers, which were tied together, to fall 
between six and seven stories to the ground. The first two employees, 
whose lifelines were only attached to the suspension point on the 
rollers, also fell to the ground and sustained serious injuries. When 
one of the rollers went over the edge, the third employee was 
catapulted off the roof and fell approximately 84 feet to the ground. 
He died from the fall. In the investigation, OSHA determined that 
neither of the rollers was anchored to the roof, and cited the employer 
for violating the general duty clause (section 5(a)(1)) of the OSH Act. 
OSHA believes that compliance with the requirements for rope descent 
systems in the proposed standard for scaffolds (Sec.  1910.27(c)) will 
help to prevent this type of accident.
    A 49-year-old service technician fractured five vertebrae and 
eventually died from the injuries received when he fell 11 feet from a 
fixed ladder to a concrete landing while performing air conditioning 
service work on the roof of a shopping mall. OSHA's investigation of 
the August 24, 2004, accident identified the likely cause of the 
incident as the absence of uniform spacing between the ladder rungs 
throughout the climb (the space between the top two rungs/steps was 28 
inches whereas the space between lower rungs was much narrower). 
Proposed Sec.  1910.23(b)(2) requires that, with a few exceptions, 
rungs, cleats, and steps of ladders be spaced not less than 10 inches 
(25 cm) apart nor more than 14 inches (36 cm) apart, as measured 
between the center lines of the rungs, cleats, and steps. OSHA believes 
that compliance with this proposed provision will prevent accidents 
such as the one described here.
    As a final example, on October 22, 1999, an employee in a South 
Dakota feed mill was atop a soybean storage bin gauging the level of 
the contents when he fell approximately 24 feet onto a concrete 
surface. The employee suffered head and upper body injuries that 
resulted in his death. The subsequent OSHA investigation resulted in 
citations for violations of the general duty clause and provisions in 
existing subpart D on floors, platforms, and railings. OSHA believes 
that the proposed revisions to subpart D will remove any ambiguity in 
the scope or intent of the rule, which would help to prevent falls from 
storage bins and related surfaces.
    When establishing the need for an occupational safety and health 
standard, OSHA must evaluate available data to determine whether 
workers will suffer a material impairment of their health or functional 
capacity as a result of being exposed to the safety or health hazard at 
issue. Prior to promulgating a standard, the Agency must also determine 
that "a significant risk of harm exists and can be eliminated or 
lessened by a change in practices." See Industrial Union Dep't v. 
American Petroleum Institute, 448 U.S. 607 (1980).
See also 58 FR 16612 (March 20, 1993) (OSHA must conclude that the 
standard it is promulgating will substantially reduce a significant 
risk of material harm).
    OSHA has determined that the best available data for quantitatively 
estimating the risks associated with slips, trips, and falls in general 
industry come from the BLS injury and illness survey and census data. 
OSHA has relied on federal survey and census data from recent years to 
determine the risk to similarly exposed employees across industry in 
other safety standards regulating employee exposure to risks (e.g., 
Confined Spaces in Construction 72 FR 67351 (November 28, 2007)). It is 
also an accepted scientific approach used by other regulatory and non-
regulatory entities in making decisions regarding public safety.
    As previously discussed in section II of this preamble, OSHA has 
preliminarily determined that hazards associated with walking and 
working on elevated, slippery, or other surfaces pose significant risks 
to employees and that the proposed revisions to subparts D and I are 
reasonable and necessary to protect affected employees from those 
risks. The Agency estimates that full compliance with the revised 
walking-working surfaces standards will prevent 20 fatalities and 3,706 
lost workday injuries annually. This constitutes a substantial 
reduction of significant risk of material harm for the exposed 
population of approximately 5.3 million employees in general industry.
Feasibility
    The Agency must show that the standards it promulgates are 
technologically and economically feasible. See 58 FR 16612. A standard 
is technologically feasible if the protective measures required already 
exist, can be brought into existence with available technology, or can 
be created with technology that can reasonably be designed and 
developed.\10\ Protective measures required by safety standards 
generally involve the use of engineering and work practice controls. 
Engineering controls include, for example, guardrails, toeboards, or 
other barriers that protect employees from exposures to slip, trip, and 
fall hazards. Work practice controls are techniques that employees use 
to perform their jobs (for example, safe climbing techniques on 
ladders). Administrative controls (such as job rotation) and personal 
protective equipment (PPE) (such as harnesses and lanyards) may also be 
used to comply with safety standards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ See Society of the Plastics Industry v. OSHA, 509 F.2d, 
1301, 1309 (1975); USWA v. Marshall, 647 F.2d, 1189 (1980); American 
Textile Manufacturers v. Donovan, 452 U.S. 490 (1981); and Building 
and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO v. Brock, 838 F.2d 1258 
(1988).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A standard is economically feasible if the cost of meeting the 
standard does not threaten the existence or competitive structure of an 
industry. An OSHA standard may be economically feasible even if it 
imposes costs that will put some marginal firms out of business.\11\ As 
discussed in more detail below, OSHA has preliminarily concluded that 
the proposed revisions to subparts D and I are both economically and 
technologically feasible.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ See Industrial Union Dept. v. Hodgson, 499 F.2d 467 (1974); 
USWA v. Marshall, 647 F.2d, 1189 (1980); and American Textile 
Manufacturers v. Donovan, 452 U.S. 490 (1981).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Methodology
    OSHA has developed an economic analysis to estimate the benefits 
and costs of the proposed revisions to subparts D and I. Since 2002, 
under the direction of the Office and Management and Budget, the Agency 
has "monetized" the value of the injuries, illnesses, and fatalities 
expected to be prevented through the promulgation of new standards, 
i.e., it has monetized the value of expected benefits. This provides a 
common metric for comparing expected benefits and costs.
    For all of its occupational safety and health standards, OSHA 
estimates benefits and costs as annual figures. The Agency believes 
that this is the simplest and best way to assess the impact of its 
standards. Computing annual estimates focuses the Agency's analysis on 
information from current conditions and recent years, which the Agency 
deems the best, i.e., most accurate and reliable, information. OSHA 
typically uses a time period of ten years for its analysis, unless 
there are significant long-term effects not captured within a ten-year 
timeframe. In the case of this proposed rule for subparts D and I, 
adding additional years to the timeframe of the analysis would not 
change any major policy conclusions.
    To isolate and describe only the effects of a new standard, the 
Agency carefully distinguishes, for both benefits and costs, the change 
induced by the new standard without regard to the ongoing level of 
compliance with existing standards. Injuries or fatalities preventable 
through compliance with existing regulations are not included in OSHA's 
assessment of the benefits expected from compliance with the new 
standard. Similarly, the Agency does not include the cost of complying 
with existing standards in its assessment of what it will cost 
employers to comply with the new standard. To make a standard's costs 
and benefits consistent for comparison, the Agency assumes that all 
employers will fully comply with the proposed standard. OSHA's analysis 
also assumes that all costs are incurred in the first year following 
promulgation of the final standard (ongoing costs are incurred annually 
beginning in Year 1) and that benefits result immediately.
    The Agency employs a "willingness-to-pay" (WTP) approach in 
estimating benefits. This is a two-step process in which, for the 
proposed revisions to subparts D and I, 16 years of accident data 
collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics were studied to estimate 
the number of fatalities and injuries associated with slips, trips, and 
falls, and also the number of such accidents that would be avoided by 
full compliance with the proposed standard. Secondly, the Agency uses 
values from the WTP approach to produce a monetary value of benefits. 
The WTP approach applied by many economic studies estimates the "value 
of a statistical life" (VSL) based on data collected about job risks 
and the "risk premium" in wages that is paid to employees in riskier 
jobs. The VSL is used as a metric by many government regulatory 
authorities, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
and the Environmental Protection Agency, but is particularly 
appropriate for occupational regulations since it is derived from 
occupational risks and wages.
    The Agency's calculation of benefits and costs, summarized in the 
table on net benefits (Table V-14 in this PEA), is implicitly one that 
looks at society as a whole. Estimated costs are borne by all affected 
employers, while benefits from the WTP approach are market-derived 
estimates of employees' valuations of job risk and reward (economic 
feasibility, discussed in Subsection G below, focuses on employer and 
industry economic impacts without regard to benefits). The VSL 
represents to some extent the value to an employee of taking on 
additional job risks and describes the value to employees of avoiding 
injury and death.
    The primary alternative to a WTP approach is a "cost-of-injury" 
(COI) approach. A COI approach accounts for the various costs to all 
parties associated with an injury or fatality, including medical costs, 
the costs of work disruption from accidents and accident 
investigations, indirect costs to employers (e.g., absenteeism, hiring 
costs), lost wages or job opportunities,and rehabilitation expenses.
 The COI approach results in ascribing costs and benefits to many
involved entities: The employer, the employee, workers' 
compensation programs, medical insurance, Federal disability 
programs, governmental bodies, and taxpayers, for example. A 
COI approach does not capture a value for loss of life, pain and 
suffering, impacts on families, or similar parameters, and for that 
reason the Agency believes that the VSL is more consistent with the 
purposes of the OSH Act.

B. Assessing the Need for Regulation

Introduction
    Employees throughout general industry are exposed to slip, trip, 
and fall hazards that can and do cause serious injury and death. As 
detailed below, OSHA estimates that, on average, approximately 216,000 
serious (lost-workday) injuries and 279 fatalities occur annually among 
these workers; of these totals, 63,000 lost-workday injuries and 230 
fatalities would be directly affected by the proposed standard. 
Although some of these incidents may have been prevented with better 
compliance with existing safety standards, research and analyses 
conducted by OSHA have found that many preventable injuries and 
fatalities would continue to occur even if employers were fully 
complying with the existing standards. Relative to full compliance with 
the existing standards, OSHA estimates that an additional 3,706 lost-
workday injuries and 20 fatalities would be prevented each year through 
full compliance with the proposed standards.
    An additional benefit of this rulemaking is that it will provide 
updated, clear, and consistent safety standards for walking and working 
surfaces and personal fall protection equipment. Most of the existing 
OSHA standards for walking-working surfaces are over 30 years old and 
inconsistent with both national consensus standards and more recently 
promulgated OSHA standards addressing fall protection.
    Presently, OSHA's standards for fall protection on walking-working 
surfaces in general industry differ from the comparable standards for 
construction work. In most instances, employees use similar work 
practices to perform similar tasks, irrespective of whether they are 
technically doing construction or general industry work. Whether OSHA's 
construction or general industry standards apply to a particular job 
depends upon whether the employer is altering the system (construction 
work) or maintaining the system (general industry work). For example, 
replacing an elevated ventilation system at an industrial site would be 
construction work if it involves upgrading the system, but general 
industry work if it involves replacing the system with the same model. 
Since the work practices used by the employees would most likely be 
identical in both situations, it is desirable for OSHA's general 
industry and construction standards to be as consistent as possible. 
Under OSHA's existing requirements, however, different requirements 
might apply to similar work practices, e.g., an employer overhauling 
two or more ventilation systems may have to comply with two different 
sets of OSHA requirements if one project is considered construction and 
another general industry. The existing inconsistencies between the 
construction and general industry standards create difficulties for 
employers attempting to develop appropriate work practices for their 
employees. For this reason, employers and employees have told OSHA that 
they would like the two standards to match more closely. This proposal 
attempts to achieve that result.
    Other benefits of the proposal that OSHA has neither quantified nor 
monetized include the following. First, OSHA has not attempted to 
estimate the number of fall injuries prevented that do not result in 
lost workdays. Second, OSHA has not attempted to estimate the 
improvements in efficiency of compliance associated with clarifying the 
existing rule and bringing it into closer correspondence with current 
voluntary standards.
    OSHA's benefits estimates are most sensitive when it comes to 
estimating the percentage of current injuries and fatalities that can 
be avoided by full compliance with the proposed standard. The true 
benefits of the proposal depend on how well the cases reviewed 
represent actual fall-related fatalities in general industry.
    The Agency believes that its estimate of annual fatalities 
involving slips, trips, and falls (about 230) in general industry is 
much less sensitive than the estimate of the percentage of fatalities 
avoided, because the estimate of the annual number of baseline 
fatalities is derived from 2 years of recent accident data with 
averages corroborated by 11 prior years of data. Furthermore, because 
OSHA believes that its benefits estimates are conservatively low, 
training and work practices specified in this proposal would likely 
improve the use and application of safety equipment, thereby further 
reducing fatalities and injuries.
    In addition to estimating annualized costs using a discount rate of 
seven percent, OSHA, for sensitivity purposes, applied an alternative 
discount rate of three percent to up-front costs. Under the alternative 
scenario of a three-percent discount rate, OSHA estimates that 
annualized costs would decline from $173.2 million to $168.8 million. 
For both this scenario and for the primary (seven-percent rate) 
scenario, OSHA assumed that all costs (first-year and recurring) will 
be incurred upon implementation of the final standard (i.e., there are 
no phase-in provisions). OSHA is also assuming that the benefits 
outlined in this section will accrue once the rule takes effect. Other 
cost-related uncertainties are described in greater detail below in 
section D of this PEA, and concern OSHA's estimates of the number of 
buildings affected by, and the number of employees who would require 
training under, this proposed standard.
    Before reaching the preliminary conclusion that this proposal is 
necessary to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries occurring 
among workers involved in activities that expose them to slips, trips, 
and falls, and to make the applicable standards more clear and 
consistent, OSHA considered many regulatory and non-regulatory 
alternatives. These alternatives are discussed in the remainder of this 
subsection.
Alternative Regulatory Approaches
    To determine the appropriate approach for addressing the 
occupational risks associated with slips, trips, and falls in general 
industry, OSHA considered many different factors and potential 
alternatives. The Agency examined the incidence of injuries and 
fatalities and their direct and underlying causes to ascertain where 
existing standards needed to be strengthened. OSHA reviewed these 
standards, assessed current practices in the industry, collected 
information and comments from experts, and scrutinized the available 
data and research.
    OSHA faces several constraints in determining appropriate 
regulatory requirements. Under section 3(8) of the OSH Act, OSHA 
standards must be "reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe 
or healthful employment and places of employment." Also, under section 
6(b)(8) of the OSH Act, to the extent an OSHA standard differs 
substantially from existing national consensus standards, the Agency 
must explain why the OSHA standard will better effectuate the purposes 
of the OSH Act. As noted elsewhere, OSHA standards must also be 
technologically and economically feasible and cost effective.
    The table below presents a summary of projected costs and benefits 
for each section of the proposed standard.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Benefits
                                  ---------------------------------------------------------------      Costs
       Proposed requirement          Type of accident        Fatalities                             ($millions)
                                        prevented            prevented        Injuries prevented
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   1910.22 General             Fall from floor,     1.0................  388................           $15.7
 Requirements.                      dock, or ground
                                    level.
                                   Fall from building   0.2................  13.................  ..............
                                    girders or other
                                    structural steel.
Sec.   1910.23 Ladders...........  Fall from ladder...  large fraction of    large fraction of               9.7
                                                         5.5.                 1,871.
                                   Fall from ship,      fraction of 1.4      fraction of 2......  ..............
                                    boat, n.e.c..
Sec.   1910.24 Step Bolts and      Fall from ladder...  small fraction of    small fraction of               3.7
 Manhole Steps.                                          5.5.                 1,871.
                                   Fall down stairs or  0.4................  846................  ..............
                                    steps.
Sec.   1910.27 Scaffolds.........  Fall from scaffold,  large fraction of    large fraction of              73.0
                                    staging.             6.7.                 174.
Sec.   1910.28 Duty to Have Fall   Fall from ladder...  small fraction of    small fraction of              0.09
 Protection.                                             5.5.                 1,871.
Sec.   1910.29 Fall Protection     Fall from building   0.2................  13.................             8.4
 Systems Criteria and Practices.    girders or other
                                    structural steel.
                                   Fall from ship,      fraction of 1.4....  fraction of 2.       ..............
                                    boat, n.e.c..
                                   Fall from scaffold,  small fraction of    small fraction of    ..............
                                    staging.             6.7.                 174.
Sec.   1910.30 Training            Multiple fall        fraction of          fraction of                    44.1
 Requirements.                      categories.          benefits for many    benefits for many
                                                         fall categories.     fall categories.
Sec.   1910.140 Fall Protection..  Multiple fall        fraction of          fraction of                    18.5
                                    categories.          benefits for many    benefits for many
                                                         fall categories.     fall categories.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis, Office of Regulatory Analysis, 2010.

    A full discussion of the basis for the particular regulatory 
requirements chosen is provided in section IV, Summary and Explanation 
of the Proposed Rule, earlier in this preamble. The regulatory 
alternatives considered by OSHA are discussed in the Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Screening Analysis later in this section of the preamble. 
In that section, Table V-34 presents impacts associated with regulatory 
alternatives for selected provisions in the proposed standard. OMB's 
Circular A-4, Regulatory Analysis, recommends that agencies "should 
analyze at least three options: the preferred option; a more stringent 
option that achieves additional benefits (and presumably costs more) 
beyond those realized by the preferred option; and a less stringent 
option that costs less (and presumably generates fewer benefits) than 
the preferred option" (p. 16). The preferred option is presented in 
this NPRM. A less stringent alternative, rejected by OSHA, would 
require training for a more limited number of fall-hazard categories; 
the cost of this alternative would remain significant (but below the 
cost of $44.1 million for the preferred alternative training proposal), 
with a reduction in benefits relative to the preferred alternative.
    A more stringent alternative would require that cages, wells, and 
landing platforms be provided for all fixed ladders, while disallowing 
ladder safety devices; the cost of this alternative would be highly 
significant, while the incremental benefits would be modest relative to 
the preferred alternative. OSHA notes that in the 1990 NPRM, this 
alternative was one of several provisions associated with the existing 
standard for which OSHA provided an estimated cost; the annualized cost 
for cages, wells, and other safety devices for fixed ladders was $1.6 
billion in 1990 dollars. Though OSHA believes use of ladder-safety 
devices has increased considerably since 1990, this more stringent 
alternative would still probably be extremely expensive compared to the 
proposed rule.
Alternative Nonregulatory Approaches
Introduction.
    The stated purpose of the OSH Act is to "assure so far as possible 
every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working 
conditions and to preserve our human resources." (5 U.S.C. 651.) This 
congressional mandate provides the basis for OSHA's proposed rulemaking 
on walking-working surfaces, which is designed to mitigate the 
occupational hazards associated with slips, trips, and falls.
    Before issuing a standard, OSHA must assess whether there are 
other, nonregulatory approaches available that may provide equal or 
greater benefits. Executive Order 12866 directs regulatory agencies to 
assess whether an unregulated private market can achieve the same level 
of social benefits as that expected to result from federal regulation:

    Section 1. Statement of Regulatory Philosophy and Principles. 
(a) The Regulatory Philosophy. Federal Agencies should promulgate 
only such regulations as are required by law, are necessary to 
interpret the law, or made necessary by compelling public need, such 
as material failures of private markets to protect or improve the 
health and safety of the public, the environment, or the well-being 
of the American people. In deciding whether and how to regulate, 
agencies should assess all costs and benefits of available 
regulatory alternatives, including the alternative of not 
regulating.

    The discussion below considers several nonregulatory alternatives 
to OSHA's proposed rulemaking: Private market incentives, information 
dissemination programs, tort liability options, and workers' 
compensation programs.
    Private Market Incentives.
    Economic theory suggests that the need for government regulations 
would be greatly reduced if private markets worked efficiently and 
effectively to provide health and safety protections for employees. At 
issue is whether the private market will be able to produce a level of 
safety and health for employees that will be equal to or greater than 
that potentially afforded by the proposed OSHA standards. In 
particular, OSHA examined whether the level of risk of experiencing an 
injury in an unregulated market would be at least as low as the level 
of risk expected after completion of this proposed rulemaking for 
walking-working surfaces.
    Theoretically, unregulated markets are capable of achieving an 
efficient allocation of resources if certain assumptions are satisfied. 
Necessary assumptions include perfect and free information, perfect and 
costless mobility of labor and other factors of production, and an 
absence of any externalities.
    A major conclusion of the "perfect competition model" of economic 
theory is that, in the presence of full information about market 
choices and outcomes, and with complete mobility of the factors of 
production, the private market would produce an efficient allocation of 
resources. In the presence of perfect and complete information 
regarding occupational risks, labor markets would reflect the presence 
of different degrees of risk across different industries, firms, and 
occupations. In such a market, wage premiums would be paid to 
compensate employees engaged in hazardous occupations for the added 
risk they confront on the job.
    In this theoretical framework, wages would vary directly with the 
riskiness of a job (other things being equal), and employers would have 
an incentive to make investments to reduce occupational health and 
safety risks to the extent employees would demand compensation for 
being exposed to such risks. In other words, because employers would 
have to pay their workers a premium to induce them to work in a risky 
environment, employers would be willing to pay to make that environment 
less risky by introducing technologies and practices that lower risks 
to employees.
    In addition, a perfectly competitive market will theoretically lead 
to the efficient allocation of resources only if all of the costs and 
benefits (pecuniary and nonpecuniary) associated with the behavior of 
market participants and with market transactions are fully borne by 
those directly involved. In economic terms, this implies that there 
will not be any negative externalities associated with economic 
activities.
    If all of the costs associated with occupational safety and health 
risks would in fact be internalized, then market decisions about 
occupational safety and health conditions made by employers and 
employees would be based on a consideration of the full social costs of 
their economic actions. However, if some of the effects of these 
actions are externalized (that is, some costs are not borne by 
employers and employees but by other parties who are external to the 
transaction), then those costs will not be adequately incorporated into 
the decisions of managers and workers. The resultant market allocation 
of resources can then be expected to be less efficient.
    Costs and other impacts that are imposed on society and are not 
borne directly by the economic participants involved in an activity or 
transaction are referred to as externalities. The existence of such 
externalities is one reason why an unregulated private market often 
fails to produce an efficient allocation of resources. The presence of 
these externalities also implies that economic efficiency can 
potentially be improved with regulatory interventions.
    In a theoretically perfect market without externalities, firms 
would decide how much to spend on reducing safety and health risks 
based on the full costs associated with the presence of such risks. The 
costs include pain and suffering, impacts on the quality of the lives 
of families, and effects on society as a whole. Employees would decide 
whether they were willing to work in a particular job based on the 
relative riskiness of the job and the extent to which they believe the 
wages offered to them provide adequate compensation for these risks.
    Research conducted by OSHA and information from several other 
sources show that many firms have responded to the risks posed to 
employees by exposures to slip, trip, and fall hazards. Employers have 
increasingly recognized the costs associated with these risks and have 
implemented measures to reduce the occupational risks faced by their 
employees. In fact, many risk control programs already implemented by 
employers go beyond the requirements of the existing and proposed OSHA 
standards. The fact that employers are implementing these programs 
demonstrates that economic incentives exist, at least to some degree, 
to motivate employers in the direction of reducing the risks associated 
with occupational exposures to slip, trip, and fall hazards in general 
industry.
    However, OSHA notes that many employers continue to fall short of 
providing even minimum safety protections for their employees. Such 
circumstances persist despite ongoing attempts by OSHA and other groups 
to provide information and assistance to employers to increase 
awareness and reduce the risks of working on surfaces where there are 
exposures to slip, trip, and fall hazards. The benefits subsection of 
this preliminary analysis shows that preventable injuries and 
fatalities continue to occur every year. The evidence indicates that 
market forces cannot alone curb occupational slip, trip, and fall risks 
adequately.
    Among employees exposed to the hazards addressed by this proposed 
rule, there does not appear to be any risk premium reflected in wage 
rates that would differentiate between employers based on the extent of 
risks faced by employees. In fact, there is some evidence that in the 
affected industries, wages for employees in similar jobs performing 
similar types of work are negatively correlated with the degree of risk 
involved. For example, employees of host sites tend to earn more than 
their counterparts working for contractors, and yet the fatality and 
injury rate can often be higher among employees of contractors.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ As evidence of this phenomenon, 254,550 general maintenance 
and repair workers employed by manufacturers in 2007 earned a mean 
hourly wage of $19.04 and suffered 4,610 lost-workday injuries and 
illnesses, or 181 injuries or illnesses per 10,000 workers, while 
45,040 general maintenance and repair workers employed in Other 
Services in 2007 earned a mean hourly wage of $14.90 and experienced 
1,150 lost-workday injuries and illnesses, or 255 injuries or 
illnesses per 10,000 workers. See Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 
Occupational Employment Statistics, and BLS, Occupational Injuries 
and Illnesses.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There are a variety of reasons why employees may not be paid the 
risk premiums that would theoretically be necessary to ensure that 
markets provide efficient levels of expenditures on safety and health. 
Employees have imperfect knowledge about the nature and magnitude of 
occupational risk factors. Many employees are not likely to be fully 
aware of the extent and nature of occupational risks associated with 
different jobs and different employers at different points in time.
    Even if employees have adequate information regarding the risks of 
occupational injuries, they may be unable to adequately incorporate 
this information into their decisions about choosing a job or staying 
on the job. Other factors and circumstances may affect employment 
choices, including significant costs associated with job searches and 
changing jobs.
    Assessing occupational risks for the purpose of determining the 
acceptability of wages offered is made even more difficult when 
differences in risk between two firms are significant but cannot be 
readily observed or predicted over the pertinent time periods. If 
differences in occupational risk between various establishments are not 
fully incorporated into the employment decisions of employees, the wage 
premiums paid for risky jobs will not accurately reflect the relative 
occupational risks associated with specific jobs in different firms. 
Thus, firms will have little incentive to individually reduce risk 
beyond levels present in other firms.
    In addition, many employers may simply be unaware of the direct and 
indirect costs associated with occupational risks. Some employers may 
regard these costs as beyond their control or as part of general 
overhead costs. Employers may also not be fully aware of the 
availability of cost-effective ways of ameliorating or eliminating 
these risks and reducing the corresponding costs.
    A significant problem that prevents risk premiums in an unregulated 
market from achieving the theoretical results that may potentially 
reduce occupational risks involves imperfections in the operation of 
labor markets. Changing jobs can be costly, and in some circumstances 
the costs may preclude a decision to change jobs solely on the basis of 
the occupational health risks involved. Factors that may make job 
changes particularly costly include nontransferability of occupational 
skills or seniority within a company, the difficulty of acquiring 
sufficient skills and abilities (i.e., human capital) to seek 
alternative employment opportunities, the costs and uncertainty 
associated with relocating to take advantage of better employment 
opportunities, the existence of institutional factors such as the 
nontransferability of pension plans and seniority rights, and the risk 
of prolonged periods of unemployment.
    Often, differences in occupational risk between two firms must be 
marked before an employee will change jobs on that basis. Therefore, 
wage rates determined by a market in which the protection of 
occupational safety and health is unregulated are unlikely to fully 
compensate employees for occupational health and safety risks, 
including those related to the risks of concern here.
Information Dissemination Programs
    OSHA and other organizations currently produce and disseminate a 
considerable amount of information regarding the risks associated with 
work on walking and working surfaces and the methods that can be used 
to minimize slip, trip, and fall hazards. The dissemination of such 
information would continue in conjunction with the promulgation of the 
proposed standards. Alternatively, in lieu of issuing mandatory 
standards, OSHA could rely on current or expanded information 
dissemination programs to generate the incentives necessary to produce 
further reductions in injuries and fatalities. Better informed 
employees can more accurately assess the occupational risks associated 
with different jobs, thereby facilitating those market interactions 
that result in wage premiums for relatively risky occupations.
    There are several reasons, however, why reliance on information 
dissemination programs will not yield the level of social benefits 
achievable through compliance with the proposed rules for walking-
working surfaces. Foremost, there are no reliable incentives or 
mechanisms that would ensure that appropriate and sufficiently detailed 
information could be produced, or that such information would actually 
be distributed among, and relied upon by, employees. Furthermore, the 
hazards addressed by this proposal are highly specific to individual 
tasks and work environments. The development of accurate knowledge 
about these occupational risks would require each employer to make 
available specific information about the risks present in projects 
expected to be undertaken in the future. The lack of adequate 
incentives or mechanisms and the potentially large costs associated 
with the collection and reporting of the necessary information makes 
effective information dissemination difficult to implement in practice.
    In addition, even if employees are better informed about workplace 
risks and hazards, other factors, such as barriers to labor mobility, 
that contribute to market failure would still remain. Finally, as 
argued above, employees may not be able to evaluate information about 
long-term risks accurately when making employment decisions. Better 
information, therefore, will not ensure that the market will produce 
wage risk premiums in a manner that is consistent with an efficient 
allocation of resources.
    Currently, in addition to the applicable OSHA standards, there are 
consensus standards, voluntary guidelines, and other information 
sources for preventing injuries and fatalities from slips, trips, and 
falls on walking and working surfaces. Although many employers have 
adopted the practices and procedures recommended by these sources, many 
other employers have been less successful in the widespread 
implementation of the recommendations in these voluntary guidelines. 
The Costs of Compliance subsection of this PEA provides further 
information regarding current compliance with specific elements in 
sectors covered by the proposal.
    Thus, OSHA's experience and observations regarding slip, trip, and 
fall hazards on walking-working surfaces show that, while improved 
access to information about occupational risks can provide for more 
rational decision-making in the private market, voluntary information 
programs will not produce an adequately low level of occupational risk.
Tort Liability Options
    Employees are generally restricted from using tort law to force 
employers to pay for costs and damages associated with fatalities and 
injuries that occur on the job. Greater employee use of tort law in 
seeking redress from injuries associated with the occupational hazards 
addressed by this proposal is another possible nonregulatory 
alternative to the proposed rule. If employees were able to effectively 
sue their employers for damages caused by work-related hazards, and if 
other conditions regarding the cost and availability of information, 
knowledge and mobility of employees, and externalities are satisfied, 
then the need for an OSHA standard would potentially be reduced or 
eliminated.
    A tort may be described, in part, as a civil wrong (other than 
breach of contract) for which the courts provide a remedy in the form 
of an action for damages. The application of the tort system to 
occupationally related injuries and illnesses would mean that an 
employee whose disability resulted from exposure to a workplace risk 
would sue the employer to recover damages. The tort system could thus 
shift the liability for the direct costs of occupational injury from 
the employee to the employer, at least under certain specific 
circumstances.
    With limited exceptions, however, the tort system has not been a 
viable alternative to regulation in dealings between employees and 
employers, for a number of reasons. All States have legislation making 
workers' compensation either the exclusive or principal legal remedy 
available to employees. Generally, tort law can be applied only to 
third-party producers or suppliers of hazardous products or equipment, 
for example, asbestos products. It is often difficult, however, to 
demonstrate that workplace injuries have been caused by defective or 
negligently designed products or equipment.
    Moreover, legal proceedings generally fail to fully internalize 
costs because of the substantial legal fees and uncertainties 
associated with bringing court actions. In deciding whether to sue, the 
victim must be sure that the potential award will exceed both the 
expense and hardship of bringing the lawsuit. Legal expenses commonly 
include a contingency fee for the plaintiff's lawyer, plus court fees 
and the costs of accumulating evidence andwitnesses.
The accused firm must also pay for its defense.
    In sum, the use of legal action as an alternative to regulation is 
limited because of the expense, delays, and uncertainties involved, and 
because under current state laws, workers' compensation will normally 
be an exclusive remedy that will prevent an employee from filing a 
suit. The tort system, therefore, does not serve adequately to protect 
employees from exposure to risks in the workplace.
Workers' Compensation Programs
    The existing workers' compensation programs serve to partially 
address the market failures that result in insufficient reductions in 
occupational risks. An alternative to a mandatory standard would be a 
continued reliance on these and other existing programs (including 
possible modifications or enhancements to these programs) to address 
occupational risk. The workers' compensation system was implemented in 
part as a result of the perceived failure of the unregulated market to 
compel employers to sufficiently reduce occupational health and safety 
risks and to compensate employees for bearing those risks. The system 
seeks to shift some of the burden of the costs associated with 
occupational injuries and illnesses from workers to employers. By so 
doing, workers' compensation requirements can ensure that more of the 
costs of occupational injuries and illnesses are incorporated into 
decisions of employers even if employees do not have full information 
regarding their risks or are unable to receive full wage compensation 
for such risks. Originally designed to force more of the social costs 
of occupational injuries and illnesses to be internalized, the workers' 
compensation program has in practice fallen short of fully achieving 
this goal and does not fully compensate employees for occupationally 
related injuries and illnesses.
    Compensation tends to be especially inadequate in permanent 
disability cases, in part because of time limits on benefit 
entitlements and in part because of the failure of the system to adjust 
benefits for changes in an employee's expected earnings over time. 
Several states restrict permanent, partial, and total disability 
benefits either by specifying a maximum number of weeks for which 
benefits can be paid or by imposing a ceiling on dollar benefits. Both 
temporary and permanent disability payments are commonly limited by 
imposing a ceiling on the income per week that can be paid. In 
addition, under workers' compensation, no award is made for pain and 
suffering.
    Although rules vary by state, temporary disability income is 
designed in most states to replace two-thirds of the worker's before-
tax income. However, most states place a maximum and a minimum on the 
amount of money paid out to the employee, regardless of his or her 
actual former income.
    The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) has studied the 
extent to which workers' compensation replaces after-tax income in 19 
states. These studies show that temporary total disability payments 
replace between 80 and 100 percent of the after-tax income of the 
majority of employees in all of the states examined (WCRI, 1993). From 
3 to 44 percent of employees receive less than 80 percent of their 
after-tax income, and from 0 to 16 percent receive more than 100 
percent of their previous after-tax income (as a result of the 
"floor" on payments). In 15 of the 19 states examined, more employees 
receive less than 80 percent of their former after-tax income than 
receive more than 100 percent of their former income. WCRI does not 
provide estimates of the average replacement rates for all employees in 
a State. However, based on these data, it seems reasonable to assume 
that, on average, workers receive no more than 90 percent of their 
after-tax income while on temporary disability.
    In addition to not fully replacing after tax income, workers' 
compensation payments, which are not taxable, provide no replacement 
for tax losses to the Federal, State or local government as a result of 
an illness. This loss is properly considered part of the social losses 
associated with an illness or injury. Typically taxes, including State 
and Federal income taxes and employee and employer contribution to 
social security taxes, will be approximately 30 percent of income. The 
taxes not paid when an individual is unable to work thus add an 
additional 30 percent of worker income as losses associated with 
injuries and illnesses not covered by workers' compensation.
    In summary, workers' compensation often covers less than 65 percent 
of the financial losses associated with the costs of injuries, and does 
not cover any portion of losses due to pain and suffering. Thus, even 
if the financial costs were fully internalized by employers, workers' 
compensation would be insufficient to assure adequate economic 
incentives to address work-related injuries and illnesses. For workers' 
compensation to be able to internalize costs of work-related injuries 
and illnesses, it would be necessary for the costs an employer pays for 
workers' compensation to be directly related to the employer's risk of 
causing work-related injuries or illnesses.
    Most workers' compensation programs nominally include the 
employer's injury experience as a factor in determining the level of 
the employer's insurance premiums. However, the majority of firms are 
not rated individually for their safety and health record; that is, 
they are not "experience rated." For example, small firms often are 
ineligible for experience rating because of the high year-to-year 
variance in their claim rates. Such firms are class rated, and rate 
reductions are granted only if the experience of the entire class 
improves. Segregation of loss experience into classes is somewhat 
arbitrary, and an individual firm may be classified with other firms 
that have substantially different accident rates. Even when firms have 
an experience rating, the premiums paid may not accurately reflect 
their true degree of risk. In addition, a firm's experience rating is 
generally based on the benefits paid to ill or injured workers, not on 
the firm's safety and health record or on the actual risks faced by 
employees. Thus, in some cases employers may have more of an incentive 
to reduce premiums by contesting claims than by initiating safety and 
health measures.
    For employers who rely on workers' compensation insurance, the 
payment of premiums represents the employer's major cost for the 
occurrence of occupational injuries and illnesses. However, the 
mechanism for determining an employer's workers' compensation premium 
frequently fails to reflect the real costs associated with a particular 
employer's record. As a result, efforts made by an employer to reduce 
the incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses are not 
necessarily reflected in reduced workers' compensation premiums. 
Similarly, firms that devote fewer resources to promoting employee 
safety and health often may not incur commensurately higher workers' 
compensation costs. Consequently, the program does not provide direct 
incentives for most employers to reduce the occupational health and 
safety risks in their workplaces.
    Finally, workers' compensation is an insurance mechanism through 
which participants spread and share the risk of injury and illness 
claims, and the costs associated with occupational injuries and 
illnesses are often spread throughout the economy through risk sharing 
stemming from participation in health insurance programs. For
example, some direct costs may not be incurred or attributed to 
employers because many employees go to their private physician rather 
than the company's physician for work-related injuries and illnesses, 
even though there are systemic mechanisms in place to ensure that work-
related injuries are treated through the workers' compensation system. 
The social burden of adverse health effects is also shared by taxpayer-
supported programs such as welfare, Social Security disability and 
death benefits, and Medicare. Employers have, therefore, less incentive 
to avoid such losses than they would if they were directly liable for 
all such claims. This transfer of risk is another reason why the market 
does not fully internalize the social costs of occupationally related 
injuries and illnesses.
    The workers' compensation system provides economic incentives for 
larger firms, especially those that self-insure for workers' 
compensation, because these firms internalize a greater portion of the 
true costs of the work-related injuries and illnesses incurred by their 
employees. Thus, larger firms can generally be expected to do more to 
reduce the costs associated with occupational risks than smaller firms.
    In summary, the workers' compensation system suffers from several 
defects that seriously reduce its effectiveness in providing incentives 
for firms to create safe and healthful workplaces. First, because the 
scheduled benefits are often significantly less than the actual losses 
experienced by injured or ill workers and the social losses experienced 
by tax payers, the existence of workers' compensation programs limits 
an employer's liability to levels significantly below the actual costs 
of the injury or illness. Second, premiums for individual firms are 
often unrelated or only loosely related to that firm's risk 
environment. The firm, therefore, does not receive the proper economic 
incentives and consequently fails to invest sufficient resources in 
reducing workplace injuries and illnesses. The economic costs not borne 
by the employer are imposed on the employee directly or on society 
through social welfare programs.
Summary
    OSHA has determined that certain employees are exposed to 
occupational risks associated with slip, trip, and fall hazards on 
walking and working surfaces. The private market has not been effective 
in sufficiently reducing this level of risk due to a lack of complete 
information about safety risks in specific work environments, limits on 
worker mobility, and other factors that contribute to the failure of 
markets to provide an efficient allocation of resources. Options for 
improving the operations of markets include information dissemination 
programs, tort liability options, and workers' compensation programs. 
After considering each of these options, OSHA has concluded that none 
of them will provide the level of benefits achievable by this proposal 
to amend subparts D and I.

C. Profile of Affected Industries, Firms, and Workers

Introduction
    This subsection presents OSHA's preliminary profile of the firms, 
establishments, and employees within the industries affected by OSHA's 
proposed revision to subparts D and I and is based upon data that were 
assembled and organized by OSHA's contractor, Eastern Research Group 
(ERG, 2007, Ex. 6).
Affected Industries and Employees
    Revised subparts D and I apply to employers and industries covered 
by OSHA's standards for general industry in 29 CFR part 1910. 
Similarly, all other subparts in part 1910 affected by these proposed 
revisions to OSHA's walking-working surfaces standards would impose 
requirements on employers in general industry under OSHA's 
jurisdiction. Excluded are establishments in the agriculture, 
construction, maritime (longshoring, marine terminal, and shipyards), 
and mining industries. Also excluded are employee tasks on surfaces 
that, due to location or operational status, fall outside of OSHA's 
jurisdiction. An example of the latter category is employee exposure to 
fall hazards when railroad rolling stock is traveling on rails, or 
trucks are traveling on highways; those operations are regulated by the 
Department of Transportation.
    The walking and working surfaces covered by the standards are 
present in nearly every establishment. Therefore, OSHA assumes that the 
number of establishments and employees potentially affected by subpart 
D includes all establishments and employees in general industry. Table 
V-1 shows the total number of these establishments and employees 
potentially affected by revisions to subpart D. The data are listed in 
order by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry 
code.
    Table V-1 provides economic profile statistics for the industries 
covered by the proposed standards. Industries are classified and listed 
by 4-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 
industry code (OMB, 2002). Basing its economic profile on the U.S. 
Census' Statistics of U.S. Businesses for 2006 ("Census data"), OSHA 
estimates that 6.7 million establishments employing 112 million 
employees would be affected by the proposed standards.
    These revisions to the fall protection standards are estimated to 
primarily affect approximately 5.3 million employees engaged in 
installation, maintenance and repair operations in general industry. 
While it is possible that some other employees may be affected by the 
revisions to the standards, this represents the main group affected by 
the standards, and not all of these will automatically be affected. To 
identify such employees, OSHA identified general industry employees in 
occupational codes involving construction, installation, maintenance, 
and repair-related occupational codes. This approach assumes that 
employees in construction occupations who are employed by general 
industry employers rather than construction employers are routinely 
engaged in what OSHA labels maintenance, rather than construction, 
activities. The methodology for deriving these estimates is discussed 
in the ERG report (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6).
    OSHA also used Census \13\ data on payroll and receipts to estimate 
average revenue per establishment in 2006 for each 4-digit NAICS 
industry. The methodology for deriving these estimates is discussed 
later in this PEA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ In this PEA, "Census" refers to the U.S. Census Bureau.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

BILLING CODE 4510-29-P- 

Table V-1
Profile of General Industry Establishements Covered by Subparts D and I 

BILLING CODE 4510-29-C

    Parts of the proposed standard that cover ladders, scaffolds, 
manhole steps, and other working surfaces are most likely to directly 
affect employees engaged in maintenance and related activities. To 
estimate the numbers of such employees, OSHA relied on data from Bureau 
of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) 
survey that documents employment by detailed occupation on a 4-digit 
NAICS industry basis. The BLS data represent the only source of 
industry-specific statistics on detailed occupational employment 
totals. OSHA used these data to estimate the numbers of employees in 
construction, and in maintenance, installation, and repair occupations 
in each industry and the overall number of production employees (ERG 
2007, Ex. 6).\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ Production workers include those in building and grounds; 
construction; installation, maintenance, and repair; production; and 
material moving occupations. It is conceivable that employees in 
construction and related occupations, even though not employed by 
establishments in construction industries, might on occasion perform 
work that would be regulated by OSHA under its construction 
standards in Sec.  1926. To the extent this is true, their employers 
might also be required to meet the requirements for fall protection 
and walking and working surfaces as specified in the construction 
standards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because industry employment totals reported by the OES are not 
identical to those estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau, OSHA used the 
ratios of production to total employment as reported by OES and 
multiplied total employment as reported by Census by this ratio to 
estimate the numbers of production employees and employees in 
maintenance-related occupations for each NAICS industry covered by the 
proposed subpart D and I standards. As shown in Table V-1, an estimated 
28.0 million employees are employed in production occupations, while an 
estimated 5.3 million are employed in construction, installation, and 
maintenance and repair occupations.
Profile of Potentially Affected Small Entities
    To assemble the data that are necessary for a screening analysis to 
judge potential impacts as prescribed by the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), OSHA developed profiles of small 
entities in the industries covered by the proposed OSHA standards for 
subparts D and I. First, ERG used the Small Business Administration's 
(SBA) small business criterion for each industry and Census data (taken 
from the Statistics of U.S. Businesses) on employment, payroll, and 
receipts by entity size to estimate the numbers of entities and 
associated employment meeting the SBA definitions (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6). 
Where the SBA small business criterion was specified as a revenue 
threshold, OSHA used the Census data to associate that revenue with a 
given employment size. OSHA's estimates of SBA-based employment-size 
criteria are shown in the first column in Table V-2. The table shows, 
by NAICS category, the number of entities and employees and average 
receipts per entity for business units that meet the employment-size 
criterion. The numbers of at-risk employees are estimated assuming the 
same percentage of total employment as that derived in Table V-1.
    Based on analysis by ERG (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6), OSHA also used the 
Census data to develop a profile of entities that employ fewer than 20 
employees. These estimates are shown in Table V-3.

BILLING CODE 4510-29-P

TABLE V-2
	Profile of General Industry Small Buisness Entities
	
TABLE V-3
Profile of General Industry Entities with fewer than 20 Employees

BILLING CODE 4510-29-C

Employees Using Fall Protection
    Based on analysis by ERG (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6), OSHA estimated the 
numbers of employees using fall protection equipment by extrapolating 
results obtained from OSHA's 1999 PPE Cost Survey. This establishment-
based survey provided industry-specific estimates of the numbers of 
workers who used various types of personal protective equipment, 
including body harnesses and body belts.\15\ The survey reported the 
percent of employees in each industry (SIC classification) that used 
these equipment types. ERG extrapolated the survey findings by first 
associating the SIC industries covered by the survey with 4-digit NAICS 
industries and then multiplying the equipment use percentages by total 
employment (presented above in Table V-1).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ For a description of the survey, see Eastern Research 
Group, PPE Cost Survey: Final Report. Task Order 3, Base Year, DOL 
Contract No. J-9-F-9-0010. June 23, 1999 (Exhibit 14, OSHA Docket S-
042: Costs of Personal Protective Equipment). Back support belts and 
similar ergonomic devices were explicitly excluded from the types of 
personal protective equipment investigated by the survey.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because the same employees might use both body harnesses and body 
belts, OSHA used the maximum value of the two percentages in deriving 
these estimates. For example, if for a given industry, six percent of 
employees were estimated using body harnesses while four percent were 
estimated to use body belts, OSHA used the larger statistic (six 
percent) as its estimate of the share of employees using fall 
protection. Also, the survey's design did not permit industry-specific 
estimates for all industries. For example, only aggregated estimates 
are available for several groups of service, wholesale, and retail 
trade industries. To make the fall protection estimates consistent with 
the numbers of at-risk employees, OSHA constrained the estimated number 
of employees using fall protection in any industry to be less than or 
equal to the numbers of employees in construction, installation, 
maintenance, and repair occupations shown in Table V-1. Table V-4 
presents, by 4-digit NAICS industry, OSHA's estimate of the number of 
employees using fall protection equipment. Overall, an estimated 1.6 
million employees in general industry use fall protection.
Wage Rates
    As will be discussed in detail later in this PEA, OSHA anticipates 
that much of the cost impact of the proposed standard is associated 
with the time requirements for additional training and inspections. 
Estimates for these costs depend on the opportunity cost of the labor 
hours that would otherwise be devoted to productive activities. Such 
opportunity costs are typically valued in terms of employees' hourly 
wages, adjusted for benefit and fringe costs. ERG relied on average 
hourly earnings as reported by the BLS Occupational Employment 
Statistics Survey and constructed a weighted average hourly wage for 
the specific occupations comprising production employment. ERG 
similarly constructed an average hourly production supervisor wage for 
each industry. These wages were then inflated by a factor to account 
for fringe benefits. According to a recent BLS survey, this mark-up 
factor averaged 43.5 percent.\16\ The loaded wage rates applied by OSHA 
in this preliminary economic analysis are shown in Table V-5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ BLS, Employer Costs for Employee Compensation--June 2008. 
Accessed September 10, 2008.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

BILLING CODE 4510-29-P

TABLE V-4
Estimated Number of Employees Using Fall Protection Equipment

TABLE V-5
Wage Rates in Industry Affected by OSHA's Proposed Standard for Walking and Working Surfaces 

BILLING CODE 4510-29-C

D. Benefits, Net Benefits, Cost Effectiveness, and Sensitivity Analysis

    This subsection reviews the populations in general industry that 
are at risk of occupational injury or death due to hazards addressed by 
this proposal, and assesses the potential benefits associated with the 
proposed updates to subparts D and I. OSHA believes that compliance 
with the proposed rule will yield substantial benefits in terms of 
lives saved, injuries avoided, and reduced accident-related costs.
    As described in section C above, the employees affected by the 
proposed standard work largely in construction, installation, 
maintenance, and repair. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 
2008 Occupational Employment Statistics survey, there are approximately 
112.0 million employees in industries within the scope of this 
proposal; 5.3 million employees engaged in construction, installation, 
maintenance, and repair operations in general industry that would be 
directly affected by this proposal; and 1.6 million employees in 
general industry using personal fall protection equipment. As explained 
earlier, to account for all of these employees, OSHA identified 
production employees classified in BLS occupational codes defining 
construction, installation, maintenance, and repair in the following 
industry sectors: Agriculture; oil and gas extraction; utilities; 
manufacturing; wholesale trade; retail trade; transportation; 
information; finance and insurance; real estate; professional, 
scientific, and technical services; management of companies; enterprise 
administration; education; health care; arts, entertainment, and 
recreation; and other services. This approach assumes that employees in 
construction occupations, but employed by general industry rather than 
construction employers, are routinely engaged in what OSHA labels 
maintenance (i.e., a general industry activity) rather than 
construction activities. The methodology for deriving these estimates 
is discussed in the ERG report (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6).
    This subsection first examines the available data on the number of 
baseline injuries and fatalities among affected employees; then 
assesses the extent to which the standard can prevent those injuries 
and fatalities; and finally estimates some of the economic benefits 
associated with the prevented injuries and fatalities. OSHA's proposed 
standards for subpart D, Walking-Working Surfaces, and subpart I, 
Personal Protective Equipment (Personal Fall Protection Systems), would 
produce benefits to the extent compliance prevents injuries and 
fatalities that would not be prevented by the existing OSHA standards.
Profile of Fall Accidents
Fall Fatalities
    OSHA examined fall fatalities using two databases. As a baseline 
for determining the average number of fall fatalities per year, OSHA 
examined data from the BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) 
for 2006 and 2007. To provide a more detailed breakdown of the kinds of 
falls included in this total, OSHA examined CFOI data for the longer 
period of 1992 to 2002.
    As shown in Table V-6, the BLS Census of Fatal Occupational 
Injuries (CFOI) reported 285 and 267 fatal falls to lower levels for 
2006 and 2007, respectively, in industries covered by the proposed 
standard. Distinguished from the larger category of all falls--a set of 
accidents that includes falls on the same level and jumps to a lower 
level--the narrower category of falls to a lower level are the types of 
falls directly addressed by OSHA's proposed standard. For purposes of 
estimating the overall rate of fall fatalities for this benefits 
analysis, OSHA took the average of these two years--276 fall fatalities 
per year. Over the two-year period, industries in the professional, 
scientific, technical, administrative, and support services (NAICS 541 
and 561) accounted for 30 percent of the fatal falls, while the 
manufacturing (NAICS 31-33) and transportation (NAICS 48) sectors 
accounted for 10.9 and 6.0 percent of the fall fatalities, 
respectively. BLS reported the highest number of fatal falls in NAICS 
561, Administrative and Support Services. Although not shown in the 
table, a large majority of these fatalities--82 percent for the two-
year period 2006-2007--occurred in the industry concerned with services 
to buildings and dwellings (NAICS 5617).

                Table V-6--Fatalities From Falls to a Lower Level--General Industry, 2006 & 2007
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       Number of fatalities
                 NAICS                              NAICS description            -------------------------------
                                                                                       2006            2007
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
113....................................  Forestry and Logging...................               3               4
114....................................  Fishing, Hunting and Trapping..........               0               0
115....................................  Support Activities for Agriculture and                0               0
                                          Forestry.
211....................................  Oil and Gas Extraction.................               0               0
213111.................................  Oil and Gas Well Drilling..............               5               4
221....................................  Utilities..............................               0               0
311....................................  Food Manufacturing.....................               5               4
312....................................  Beverage and Tobacco Product                          0               0
                                          Manufacturing.
313....................................  Textile Mills..........................               0               0
314....................................  Textile Product Mills..................               0               0
315....................................  Apparel Manufacturing..................               0               0
316....................................  Leather and Allied Product                            0               0
                                          Manufacturing.
321....................................  Wood Product Manufacturing.............               7               0
322....................................  Paper Manufacturing....................               0               0
323....................................  Printing and Related Support Activities               0               0
324....................................  Petroleum and Coal Products                           0               0
                                          Manufacturing.
325....................................  Chemical Manufacturing.................               3               3
326....................................  Plastics and Rubber Products                          3               0
                                          Manufacturing.
327....................................  Nonmetallic Mineral Product                           3               0
                                          Manufacturing.
331....................................  Primary Metal Manufacturing............               0               0
332....................................  Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing.              10               7
333....................................  Machinery Manufacturing................               0               0
334....................................  Computer and Electronic Product                       0               0
                                          Manufacturing.
335....................................  Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and                  0               0
336....................................  Transportation Equipment Manufacturing.               7               4
337....................................  Furniture and Related Product                         0               0
                                          Manufacturing.
339....................................  Miscellaneous Manufacturing............               0               4
423....................................  Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods....               4               7
424....................................  Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods.              12               6
425....................................  Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents               0               0
                                          and Brokers.
441....................................  Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers........               4               0
442....................................  Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores..               0               0
443....................................  Electronics and Appliance Stores.......               0               0
444....................................  Building Material and Garden Equipment                6               4
                                          and Supplies Dealers.
445....................................  Food and Beverage Stores...............               5               0
446....................................  Health and Personal Care Stores........               0               0
447....................................  Gasoline Stations......................               0               0
448....................................  Clothing and Clothing Accessories                     0               0
                                          Stores.
451....................................  Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book, and Music                0               0
                                          Stores.
452....................................  General Merchandise Stores.............               0               0
453....................................  Miscellaneous Store Retailers..........               0               0
454....................................  Nonstore Retailers.....................               0               0
481....................................  Air Transportation.....................               0               0
482....................................  Railroads..............................               0               0
483....................................  Water Transportation...................               0               0
484....................................  Truck Transportation...................              11              18
485....................................  Transit and Ground Passenger                          0               0
                                          Transportation.
486....................................  Pipeline Transportation................               0               0
487....................................  Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation..               0               0
488....................................  Support Activities for Transportation..               0               4
492....................................  Couriers and Messengers................               0               0
493....................................  Warehousing and Storage................               4               5
511....................................  Publishing Industries (except Internet)               0               0
512....................................  Motion Picture and Sound Recording                    0               0
                                          Industries.
515....................................  Broadcasting (except Internet).........               0               0
516....................................  Internet Publishing and Broadcasting...               0               0
517....................................  Telecommunications.....................               6               3
518....................................  Internet Service Providers, Web Search                0               0
                                          Portals, and Data Processing Services.
519....................................  Other Information Services.............               0               0
521....................................  Monetary Authorities--Central Bank.....               0               0
522....................................  Credit Intermediation and Related                     0               0
                                          Activities.
523....................................  Securities, Commodity Contracts, and                  0               0
                                          Other Financial Investments and
                                          Related Activities.
524....................................  Insurance Carriers and Related                        3               0
                                          Activities.
525....................................  Funds, Trusts, and Other Financial                    0               0
                                          Vehicles.
531....................................  Real Estate............................              10               9
532....................................  Rental and Leasing Services............               0               0
533....................................  Lessors of Nonfinancial Intangible                    0               0
                                          Assets (except Copyrighted Works).
541....................................  Professional, Scientific, and Technical               7              10
                                          Services.
551....................................  Management of Companies and Enterprises               0               0
561....................................  Administrative and Support Services....              66              80
562....................................  Waste Management and Remediation                      5               0
                                          Services.
611....................................  Educational Services...................               0               0
621....................................  Ambulatory Health Care Services........               0               0
622....................................  Hospitals..............................               0               0
623....................................  Nursing and Residential Care Facilities               4               0
624....................................  Social Assistance......................               0               3
711....................................  Performing Arts, Spectator Sports, and                6               3
                                          Related Industries.
712....................................  Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar                0               0
                                          Institutions.
713....................................  Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation                   0               7
                                          Industries.
721....................................  Accommodation..........................               8               5
722....................................  Food Services and Drinking Places......               4               7
811....................................  Repair and Maintenance.................               6               4
812....................................  Personal and Laundry Services..........               0               0
813....................................  Religious, Grantmaking, Civic,                       11               7
                                          Professional, and Similar
                                          Organizations.
                                         Industry not specified \a\.............              57              55
                                                                                 -------------------------------
    Total..............................  .......................................             285             267
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ Includes falls from ship, boat, not elsewhere classified. Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of
  Evaluation and Analysis, Office of Regulatory Analysis, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal
  Occupational Injuries, 2006 and 2007.

    To assess the benefits of this rule, it is necessary to know not 
only the total annual number of fall fatalities, but also the numbers 
of various types of fall fatalities. Quantifying the various types of 
fatal falls is necessary because the
proposal is expected to prevent fall fatalities to different degrees 
for different kinds of falls. Table V-7 shows, for the eleven-year 
period 1992 to 2002, the breakdown of fall fatalities by type of fall 
based on CFOI data. As shown, falls to a lower level (distinguished 
from falls on the same level) accounted for about 78 percent of total 
fall fatalities. Overall, on average, falls to a lower level accounted 
for 217 of the 279 fatal falls per year that occurred in general 
industry establishments. On a sector-by-sector basis, falls to a lower 
level as a percentage of all fatal falls ranged from 59 percent for the 
retail trade sector to 95 percent for the agricultural services sector. 
As the table also shows, fatal falls from ladders averaged 41 per year 
over the eleven-year period, while fatal falls from scaffolds averaged 
15 per year. The category of "other" falls to a lower level includes 
falls from floors, docks, or ground level; falls from nonmoving 
vehicles; and falls from building girders and other structural steel.

                    Table V-7--Fatal Falls by Type of Fall and Industry Sector, 1992 to 2002
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Falls to a lower level
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
          Industry sector            All falls                   From a                    From a
                                                    Total        ladder    From a roof    scaffold      Other
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Total Fatal Falls, 1992 to 2002
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Agricultural services.............          366          348           47           11            3          287
Manufacturing.....................          665          535           80           64           75          316
Transportation, communications,             438          365           55            9            8          293
 electric, gas, and sanitary
 services.........................
Wholesale trade...................          196          163           22           10            0          131
Retail trade......................          318          188           73            9            0          106
Finance, insurance, and real                138          111           37           14            0           60
 estate...........................
                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Services..........................          944          672          141           84           77          370
                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.........................        3,065        2,382          455          201          163        1,563
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Average Fatal Falls per Year
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Agricultural services.............           33           32            4            1            0           26
Manufacturing.....................           60           49            7            6            7           29
Transportation, communications,              40           33            5            1            1           27
 electric, gas, and sanitary
 services.........................
Wholesale trade...................           18           15            2            1            0           12
Retail trade......................           29           17            7            1            0           10
Finance, insurance, and real                 13           10            3            1            0            5
 estate...........................
Services..........................           86           61           13            8            7           34
                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.........................          279          217           41           18           15          142
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Titles for industry sectors are taken from the SIC system of industry categorization. Source: ERG, 2007,
  based on BLS, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 1992-2002.

Fall Injuries
    Table V-8, based on BLS's 2007 Survey of Occupational Injuries and 
Illnesses, shows the total number of lost workday injuries due to falls 
in general industry, by type of fall. This table will form the basis 
for OSHA's estimate of the number of lost-workday injuries prevented by 
the proposal.
    Table V-9, based on BLS's 2007 Survey of Occupational Injuries and 
Illnesses, provides additional details about the lost-workday injury 
rates for the two major categories of falls: falls to a lower level and 
falls to the same level. Excluding industry groups where the data may 
have been incomplete, the combined fall injury rate ranges from a low 
of 2.5 cases per 10,000 workers in NAICS 523 (Securities, Commodity 
Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities) to a 
high of 73.5 per 10,000 employees in NAICS 481 (Air Transportation). Of 
the 78 affected industries with reported fall injury data, 25 had fall 
injury rates in excess of 30 cases per 10,000 employees, while 23 had 
fall injury rates between 20 and 30 cases per 10,000 employees.
    Table V-10, also based on BLS's 2007 Survey of Occupational 
Injuries and Illnesses, shows lost-workday fall-related injury rates by 
specific type of fall, disaggregated by the major industry sectors 
covered by the proposed standard. These statistics show that, unlike 
fall fatalities, falls to a lower level represent a relatively small 
share of injurious, non-fatal falls. For example, in manufacturing, 
falls to the same level accounted for 68 percent of all falls resulting 
in lost-workday injuries, while falls to a lower level accounted for 
only 27 percent. The majority of accidents in the fall-to-same-level 
category are characterized as a fall to a floor, walkway, or other 
surface.
 Table V-8--Estimated Annual Number of Lost-Workday Falls in Workplaces
                    Affected by the Proposed Standard
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Distribution of falls
                 Falls by type                      resulting in lost
                                                         workdays
------------------------------------------------------------------------
All Falls......................................                  215,807
    Fall to lower level........................                   55,706
        Fall down stairs or steps..............                   16,916
        Fall from floor, dock, or ground level.                    3,878
        Fall from ladder.......................                   12,472
        Fall from piled or stacked material....                      283
        Fall from roof.........................                      959
        Fall from scaffold, staging............                      434
        Fall from building girders or other                          131
         structural steel......................
        Fall from nonmoving vehicle............                   11,018
Fall to lower level, n.e.c. (a)................                    8,433
Fall to lower level, unspecified...............                    1,192
Fall on same level.............................                  152,788
    Fall from ship, boat, n.e.c................                       30
    Other falls................................                    7,281
                                                ------------------------
            Total..............................                  215,807
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(a) n.e.c.--Not Elsewhere Classified
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Evaluation and
  Analysis, Office of Regulatory Analysis, 2009, based on Bureau of
  Labor Statistics, Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, 2007.

BILLING CODE 4510-29-P

TABLE V-9
Injuries for Falls -General Industry,2007
(Lost Work Day Cases per 10,000 Workers)

TABLE V-10
Fall Incidents by type of Fall and Sector,2007
(Lost Work Day Cases per 10,000 Workers)

BILLING CODE 4510-29-C

    Among falls addressed by the proposed standards, the annual number 
of falls to a lower level resulting in a lost-workday injury ranges 
from 4.3 per 10,000 employees for the financial activities sector to 
10.3 per 10,000 employees for the trade, transportation, and utility 
sector. Among specific types of falls to a lower level, falls from 
ladders represent 6.7 percent of all falls in manufacturing as 
reflected in an injury rate of 1.3 cases per 10,000 employees. Among 
other sectors, the injury rate from falls from ladders ranges from 0.4 
per 10,000 employees in the education and health services sector to 2.5 
per 10,000 employees in the trade, transportation, and utility sector.
    In several sectors, falls down stairs or steps represent a major 
share of injuries from falls to a lower level. The proposed 
requirements for guardrails, handrails, and training would protect 
employees from these types of falls. Falls from floor holes, loading 
docks, roofs, and scaffolding are directly addressed by the proposed 
standard, but constitute much smaller shares of nonfatal fall 
accidents.
Fatalities and Injuries Prevented by the Proposed Subpart D and I 
Standards
Fatalities Prevented
    OSHA's proposed standards for subparts D and I contain safety 
requirements designed to prevent, among other incidents, falls from 
ladders, scaffolds, unguarded floor holes, and unprotected platform 
edges. These types of falls are classified as "falls to lower level." 
"Falls on the same level" include slips and trips from floor 
obstructions or wet or slippery working surfaces. The proposal has 
relatively few new provisions addressing falls on the same level.
    Combining the data in Tables V-6 and V-7 with other fatality data 
from BLS, Table V-11 shows the estimated number of annual fatalities 
from falls in general industry. Based on 2006 and 2007 data, OSHA 
calculated an average of 276 fatal falls per year. ERG allocated this 
total among the different fall categories based on overall fatal fall 
accident experience from 1992 to 2002 as derived from the BLS Census of 
Fatal Occupational Injuries and summarized in Table V-7. On this basis, 
an estimated 196 fatalities per year result from falls to lower level, 
while the remaining 80 fatalities result from falls on the same level 
or other types of falls.
    In examining the costs of this proposal, ERG found, after reviewing 
inspection results, that employers are generally in compliance with 
existing standards that have been in place for over 30 years (see Table 
V-15). However, this general compliance does not necessarily mean that 
existing fall fatalities are not preventable by the existing standard. 
For example, it could be the case that employers comply with a standard 
99.9 percent of the time, but that all fatalities are the result of the 
0.1 percent of the time employers are not in compliance. Thus, it is 
possible for there to be a high level of compliance with a standard, 
but for all fatalities, nevertheless, to be the result of non-
compliance with that standard.

                 Table V-11--Fatalities Potentially Prevented As a Result of Compliance With the Proposed Standard for Subparts D and I
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Falls by type                 Distribution of    Estimated annual   Incremental preventability of the proposed standard  Annual fatalities
                                             fatal falls by    number of fatal                                                            potentially
                                                  type          falls by type                                                           prevented by the
                                                                                                                                       proposed standard
                                                                                                                                              (a)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fall to lower level......................        100.0%              196
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fall down stairs or steps............               4.2%                  8  Low..............................               5.0%                0.4
    Fall from floor, dock, or ground                    5.1%                 10  High.............................              10.0%                1.0
     level.
    Fall from ladder.....................              18.6%                 36  High.............................              15.0%                5.5
    Fall from piled or stacked material..               0.1%                  0  High.............................              10.0%                  0
    Fall from roof.......................               8.9%                 17  High.............................              15.0%                2.6
    Fall from scaffold, staging..........               8.6%                 17  Very High........................              40.0%                6.7
    Fall from building girders or other                 0.8%                  2  High.............................              10.0%                0.2
     structural steel.
    Fall from nonmoving vehicle..........              15.8%                 31  No...............................               0.0%                  0
    Fall to lower level, n.e.c...........              23.1%                 45  Uncertain........................               2.5%                1.1
    Fall to lower level, unspecified.....              14.6%                 29  Uncertain........................               2.5%                0.7
Fall from ship, boat, n.e.c..............  .................          27         Low..............................               5.0%                1.4
    Other falls..........................  .................          8          Very Low.........................               0.0%                  0
                                          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Totals...........................  .................            230 196  .................................  .................               20.0
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Due to rounding, figures may not sum to totals shown.
(a) Prevented fatalities were calculated as the product of annual fatal falls and incremental preventability rate, by type.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Office of Regulatory Analysis, 2009, based on ERG, 2007; OSHA IMIS, 1995-2001; and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census
  of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 1992-2007.

    For the purposes of this analysis, OSHA did not attempt a 
quantitative analysis of how many fatal falls could be prevented by 
full and complete compliance with the existing standard. However, a 
qualitative examination of the fatal falls to a lower level shows that 
a majority, and perhaps a large majority, could be prevented by full 
compliance with the existing regulations. For this analysis, OSHA and 
ERG have taken the approach that, for current levels of enforcement, 
existing fall fatality rates can be used as a baseline from which to 
measure the impacts of the proposal in reducing falls. This is because 
the existing fall fatality rate reasonably represents what is 
preventable with the existing rules and the existing degree of 
enforcement and compliance with these rules.
    A comparison of the proposed and existing standards shows that the 
new provisions largely concern training and inspections, rather than 
requirements for additional or more stringent engineering or work 
practice controls (see section F below in this PEA). In addition, the 
new standard serves to
simplify and clarify the existing standard and bring the existing 
standard into conformance with various voluntary standards. The 
benefits in terms of reductions in fatal falls can be expected to come 
in the form of the effects of increased training, inspections, and 
certifications in preventing falls, many of which are preventable by 
existing regulations which are not being fully followed. OSHA believes 
that the proposed requirements for training, inspections, and 
certifications can serve to improve safety and also compliance with 
existing requirements.
    OSHA based its analysis of accident preventability on ERG's 
professional judgment and two published studies. The studies show that 
well-designed training programs are an effective means of improving 
workplace safety. A NIOSH review of the literature concerning the 
benefits of training reported that the studies were nearly unanimous in 
showing that improved and expanded training increases hazard awareness 
and promotes the adoption of safe work practices. However, the 
quantitative relationship between increased training and reduced 
accident rates remains uncertain (Cohen and Colligan, 1988, Ex. 7); 
analysis of past OSHA experience shows that requiring training programs 
does not lead to preventing the majority of accidents addressed by the 
training (Seong and Mendeloff, 2004, Ex. 8). For this reason, ERG 
concluded that the incremental benefits from the proposed standards 
would be modest (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6).
    ERG estimated the number of fatal falls that would be prevented 
through compliance with the proposed standards, categorized by type of 
fall. Since proposed subpart D focuses heavily on ladder safety, ERG 
estimated the highest preventability impact--15 percent--for falls from 
ladders. For other types of falls directly addressed in the proposal 
(e.g., falls from floor or dock), ERG estimated a moderately high 
preventability impact of 10 percent. For types of falls less directly 
or comprehensively addressed in the proposal (e.g., falls down stairs 
or steps), ERG estimated a relatively low preventability impact (5 
percent). Several classes of falls are not specifically defined by the 
BLS injury survey, and for these, ERG estimated a low level of 
preventability (2.5 percent). (See ERG, 2007, Ex. 6, p. 4-10 to 4-14.)
    For falls from roofs, ERG assigned a preventability rate of 10 
percent. OSHA believes that compliance with the provisions in proposed 
subpart D addressing safety systems, work practices, and training 
associated with the fall hazards encountered on roof surfaces--
including the requirements referenced in consensus standards such as 
ANSI/ASSE A1264.1-2007, Safety Requirements for Workplace Walking/
Working Surfaces and Their Access; Workplace, Floor, Wall and Roof 
Openings; Stairs and Guardrail Systems--will yield a preventability 
rate comparable to that estimated for ladders: 15 percent. Therefore, 
in this preliminary analysis of benefits, OSHA has applied a 
preventability rate of 15 percent to roof accidents.
    For falls from scaffolds or staging, ERG assigned a preventability 
rate of 10 percent. In light of the substantial strengthening of the 
fall protection requirements for rope descent systems (RDS), specified 
in proposed paragraph 1910.27(b), OSHA believes that a preventability 
rate much higher than 10 percent can be applied to scaffold accidents. 
Because, according to OSHA and BLS accident data, approximately 40 
percent of lost-workday scaffold accidents involve rope descent 
systems, and due to the proposed standard's comprehensive approach to 
RDS fall protection, OSHA estimates that at least 40 percent of deaths 
and injuries associated with scaffolds (including non-RDS scaffolds) 
will be prevented by the proposed standard. OSHA's rationale for 
assigning this preventability rate to scaffolds is discussed 
immediately below. All of the fall preventability factors are presented 
in Table V-11.
    As shown in Table V-11, falls from scaffolds or staging are one of 
the leading types of fall categories in general industry. According to 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls from scaffolds or staging caused 
an annual average of 18 deaths and 1,474 lost-workday injuries over a 
recent eleven-year period (1992-2002). OSHA reviewed a subset of 
scaffold accidents recorded in the Agency's Integrated Management 
Information System (IMIS) inspection database to expand ERG's analysis 
of the extent to which the proposed standard would prevent accidents 
involving commercial window washing, and to gain more general insights 
into the preventability of fatal falls (OSHA, 2009).
    OSHA reviewed 36 incidents (some involving multiple casualties) 
that occurred during the period January 1995 to October 2001 (5 years 
and 10 months), where workers in general industry were either injured 
or killed from a fall from an elevated scaffold or a similar surface 
during commercial window washing operations. OSHA's analysis is 
presented in Table V-12. In reviewing each incident description, OSHA 
evaluated the probability that the incident would have been prevented 
by one of the following:
    1. The existing standard for walking-working surfaces; 
    2. ANSI/IWCA I-14.1, Window Cleaning Safety Standard, an earlier 
version of which is referenced in a 1991 OSHA memorandum to regional 
administrators on the use of descent control devices (rope descent 
systems) by employees performing building exterior cleaning, 
inspection, and maintenance (OSHA, 1991a); or
    3. The proposed standard.
    Table V-12, below, summarizes OSHA's analysis of IMIS window 
cleaning accidents. Of the 36 window washing incidents in the database, 
21 incidents were caused by a malfunction in, or unsafe use of, rope 
descent systems (including lifelines). Because the existing standard 
for walking-working surfaces lacks provisions that directly address 
rope descent systems (RDS), OSHA believes that none of the RDS 
incidents would have been prevented by full compliance with the current 
rule.

             Table V-12--Fall Incidents Associated With the Use of Scaffolds During Window Cleaning
                                             [OSHA IMIS, 1995-2001]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       Incidents potentially preventable by:
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                        Cause of incident                            Existing                        Proposed
                                                                     standard     OSHA 1991 memo     standard
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Malfunction/Mishandling of Rope Descent System or Lifelines.....             N/A              19              21
Anchorage Failure...............................................             N/A               7               8
Inadequate Training.............................................             N/A              12              14
Other Factors (suspension scaffold hardware, manlift, powered                  4             N/A               6
 platform, roof top equipment, safety belt).....................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*N = 36. Some incidents are assigned to more than one category.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, and Office of Regulatory Analysis, 2009.
    Of the 21 RDS incidents in the database, in OSHA's judgment, 19 of 
them would have been prevented if the employer had adhered to the 
safety recommendations specified in OSHA's 1991 window cleaning 
memorandum, which in turn refers to an existing consensus standard. The 
remaining two RDS incidents, in OSHA's estimation, would not be 
prevented by the current OSHA standard and the existing consensus 
standards, but would be prevented by the proposed standard (in addition 
to the other 19 RDS incidents prevented by the proposed standard).
    One of the primary causes of accidents in commercial window washing 
is the failure of the rooftop anchorage to support the suspended 
scaffold. The proposed standard requires that employers use proper 
rigging, including sound anchorages and tiebacks, when rope descent 
systems are used. OSHA identified eight incidents in the IMIS database 
where anchorage failure contributed to the accident. In OSHA's 
judgment, all eight anchorage-related incidents involved factors that 
are addressed by the proposed standard and therefore are potentially 
preventable. All but one of these eight incidents involved factors 
addressed by the 1991 memo.
    As noted earlier in this section, when workers are adequately 
trained--for example in the proper use of harnesses and lifelines--
accidents are less likely to occur. OSHA identified fourteen incidents 
in the IMIS database where, if workers had applied the lessons provided 
in the kind of training prescribed in the proposed standard, death or 
injury to the worker might have been prevented. Of these fourteen 
cases, twelve involved factors that are addressed by the 1991 memo.
    Other factors that led to a fall from elevation, such as equipment 
failure involving suspension scaffolds and powered platforms, 
contributed to the death or injury of workers during window washing 
operations. These incidents are recognized in the fourth row of Table 
V-12.
    OSHA believes that this analysis illustrates some of the 
complexities in assigning benefits to this standard. Chief among these 
complexities is the argument that full compliance with the proposed 
standard will prevent fatalities not preventable by the existing 
standard due to the proposed addition of major provisions addressing 
window washing.
    Secondly, there is the question of the proper baseline for such an 
analysis. OSHA may not have any rule addressing RDS systems or 
anchorages for these and other suspended scaffolds, but there are 
consensus standards and OSHA enforcement policies that apply OSHA's 
general duty clause when existing standards may not apply. The changes 
from a baseline of current enforcement practice are much more marginal 
than if no standards or enforcement initiatives existed for a 
particular hazard. Nevertheless, a simple comparative prevention table 
of this kind may not capture the difference between occasional 
enforcement using the general duty clause and consensus standards, and 
enforcement of an actual standard. Adopting the additional protections 
afforded by consensus standards and materials referenced in general 
duty citations into a standard make the information more available, 
assures that everyone affected can readily consult the relevant rules, 
and simplifies enforcement. These are desirable ends even if no 
additional fatalities are prevented, and probably would serve to 
prevent some current fatalities and injuries.
    Thirdly, there is the issue, already discussed above, of how to 
treat the benefits of training requirements. OSHA normally assumes for 
the purposes of both benefit and cost analysis, that there is full 
compliance with a rule. For some kinds of rules, it can readily be 
determined if full compliance with the rule would have prevented an 
accident. However, for training rules, it is not at all obvious that 
full compliance--assuming training is given--will prevent accidents 
that the training is designed to address (Seong and Mendeloff, 2004). 
OSHA has made a relatively low estimate of the effects of such training 
requirements in Table V-11. The approach used in Table V-12 suggests 
that a much higher estimate might be made if employees are assumed to 
act as they have been trained to act.
    Finally, the proposed standard inevitably builds, for the most 
part, on an existing framework. The existing framework, if fully 
followed, would prevent many accidents. While the new regulation adds 
new kinds of provisions, it also tries to improve compliance with the 
existing regulation in a variety of ways. Ways in which it may improve 
compliance include additional training; additional certification; 
bringing into the regulatory framework materials and ideas from 
consensus standards; and codifying existing enforcement practice. Steps 
of this kind have a variety of desirable, though difficult-to-quantify 
effects.
    Based on ERG's estimates, and applying the preventability rate for 
scaffolds as explained above, OSHA concluded that the proposed 
standards would prevent 20 fall fatalities a year, or approximately 9 
percent of the fatal falls in general industry that would be addressed 
by the proposed standard. OSHA believes that this is a conservative 
estimate, in that the training and work practices specified in this 
proposal would likely improve the use and application of safety 
equipment (including personal fall protection equipment), thereby 
further reducing fatalities and injuries.
    OSHA requests comment on the Agency's analysis of scaffold 
accidents described above and on the various approaches to measuring 
potential benefits achievable from compliance with the proposed 
standard in addition to those described in Tables V-11, V-12 (above), 
and V-13 (below).
Injuries Prevented
    For the purposes of estimating the number of lost workday injuries 
that might be prevented by the proposed standards, OSHA used the same 
preventability factors for the proposal as for fatal falls,
and applied them to lost workday injuries involving falls.
 Table V-13 shows, by type of fall, the distribution of lost-
workday injuries for general industry; these injury categories were 
presented earlier in this section in Table V-8. The BLS data show that, 
for non-fatal falls to a lower level, 30.4 percent of injuries are due 
to falls down stairs or steps, while 22.4 percent are the result of 
falls from ladders. Applying these and other fall injury rates (see 
Table V-10) to the estimates of total employment within affected 
sectors in general industry (see Table V-1), OSHA estimates that, on 
average, 63,028 lost-workday fall injuries occur each year for work 
operations directly affected by the proposed revisions to subparts D 
and I. Using the same preventability estimates that were applied to 
fatal incidents, OSHA estimates that 3,706 lost-workday fall injuries 
would be prevented annually through compliance with the proposed 
revisions to subparts D and I.

       Table V-13--Nonfatal Lost-Workday Injuries Potentially Prevented As a Result of Compliance with the Proposed Standard for Subparts D and I
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Falls by type                  Distribution of  Estimated annual   Incremental preventability of the    Annual nonfatal
                                              falls resulting      number of               proposed standard              injuries
                                                  in lost       nonfatal falls,                                          potentially
                                               workdays, by         by type                                           prevented by the
                                                   type                                                                   proposed
                                                                                                                        standard (a)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fall to lower level........................            100.0%            55,716
    Fall down stairs or steps..............             30.4%            16,916  Low................................              5.0%               846
    Fall from floor, dock, or ground level.              7.0%             3,878  High...............................             10.0%               388
    Fall from ladder.......................             22.4%            12,472  High...............................             15.0%             1,871
    Fall from piled or stacked material....              0.5%               283  High...............................             10.0%                28
    Fall from roof.........................              1.7%               959  High...............................             15.0%               144
    Fall from scaffold, staging............              0.8%               434  Very High..........................             40.0%               174
    Fall from building girders or other                  0.2%               131  High...............................             10.0%                13
     structural steel.
    Fall from nonmoving vehicle............             19.8%            11,018  No.................................              0.0%                 0
    Fall to lower level, n.e.c.............             15.1%             8,433  Uncertain..........................              2.5%               211
    Fall to lower level, unspecified.......              2.1%             1,192  Uncertain..........................              2.5%                30
    Fall from ship, boat, n.e.c............  ................                30  Low................................              5.0%                 2
    Other falls............................  ................             7,281  Very Low...........................              0.0%                 0
                                            ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals.....................................  ................     63,028 55,716  ...................................  ................             3,706
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Due to rounding, figures may not sum to totals shown.
(a) Prevented injuries were calculated as the product of annual nonfatal falls and incremental preventability rate, by type.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Office of Regulatory Analysis, 2009, based on ERG, 2007; OSHA IMIS, 1995-2001; and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Survey
  of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: Case and Demographic Information, 2007.

Monetized Benefits, Net Benefits, and Cost Effectiveness
    The previous section showed that OSHA estimates that compliance 
with the proposed standards will prevent 20 deaths and 3,706 lost 
workday injuries each year. Consistent with other regulatory analyses 
recently issued by OSHA, the Agency has assigned a dollar value to 
these safety benefits.
    In estimating the value of preventing a fatality, OSHA has followed 
the approach established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA). EPA's Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses provides a 
detailed review of the methods for estimating mortality risk values and 
summarizes the values obtained in the literature (EPA, 2000). 
Synthesizing the results from 26 relevant studies, EPA arrived at a 
mean value of a statistical life (VSL) of $4.8 million (in 1990 
dollars). EPA recommends this central estimate, updated for inflation 
(the value is $7.2 million in 2008 dollars), for application in 
regulatory analyses. This VSL estimate is also within the range of the 
substantial majority of such estimates in the literature ($1 million to 
$10 million per statistical life), as discussed in OMB Circular A-4 
(OMB, 2003). Applying a VSL of $7.2 million to the estimated number of 
prevented fatalities, OSHA estimates that the dollar value of the 
benefits from compliance with proposed subparts D and I will be $144 
million annually.
    OSHA also reviewed the available research literature regarding the 
dollar value of preventing an injury. Kip Viscusi and Joseph Aldy 
conducted a critical review of 39 studies estimating the value of a 
statistical injury (Viscusi and Aldy, 2003, Ex. 9). In their paper, 
Viscusi and Aldy reviewed the available willingness to pay (WTP) 
literature to identify a suitable range of estimates; using WTP to 
value non-fatal injuries is the approach recommended in OMB Circular A-
4.
    Viscusi and Aldy found that most studies resulted in estimates in 
the range of $20,000 to $70,000 per injury, although several studies 
resulted in even higher estimates. This range of values is partly 
explained by the fact that some studies used an overall injury rate, 
and others used only injuries resulting in lost workdays. The injuries 
that would be prevented by these proposed standards often involve 
hospitalization and, therefore, are likely to be more severe than the 
majority of lost workday injuries. In addition, injuries resulting from 
falls involve more pain and suffering, more expensive treatments, and 
generally longer recovery periods than other lost workday injuries.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ In 2007, the median number of days away from work was 15 
days for falls to a lower level, whereas the median number of days 
away from work for all events or exposures leading to injury or 
illness was 7 days (BLS, 2009).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thus, it is reasonable to believe that the value of a statistical 
injury for this rulemaking will be in the upper part of the reported 
range of estimates. Nevertheless, OSHA has conservatively used a mid-
range estimate--$50,000--to assess monetized benefits for this 
preliminary analysis. Thus, with 3,706 injuries a year potentially 
prevented by the proposed standards, OSHA estimates that the dollar 
value of prevented injuries through compliance
with proposed subparts D and I will total $185.3 million annually.
    OSHA estimates that the combined dollar value of prevented 
fatalities and injuries through compliance with the proposed revisions 
to subparts D and I will total $328.5 million per year. Comparing gross 
monetized benefits with costs of compliance, OSHA estimates that the 
net monetized benefits of the proposed standards will be $155.4 
million, after rounding ($328.5 million in benefits--$173.2 million in 
costs). OSHA notes that these net benefits exclude any unquantified 
benefits associated with revising the standards to provide updated, 
clear, and consistent requirements. OSHA requests comments from the 
public regarding these figures and any benefits estimates presented in 
this section. Table V-14 summarizes the costs, benefits, net benefits, 
and cost effectiveness of the proposed standard.
    There are other benefits of the proposal that OSHA has neither 
quantified nor monetized. First, OSHA has not attempted to estimate the 
number of fall injuries prevented that do not result in lost workdays. 
Second, OSHA has not attempted to estimate the improvements in 
efficiency of compliance associated with clarifying the existing rule 
and bringing it into closer correspondence with current voluntary 
standards.

Table V-14--Net Benefits and Cost Effectiveness of the Proposed Revision
                   to OSHA's Walking-Working Standards
------------------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Annualized Costs
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sec.   1910.22 General             $15.7 million.
     Requirements.
    Sec.   1910.23 Ladders...........  $9.7 million.
    Sec.   1910.24 Step Bolts and      $3.7 million.
     Manhole Steps.
    Sec.   1910.27 Scaffolds.........  $73.0 million.
    Sec.   1910.28 Duty to Have Fall   $0.09 million.
     Protection.
    Sec.   1910.29 Fall Protection     $8.4 million.
     Systems Criteria and Practices.
    Sec.   1910.30 Training            $44.1 million.
     Requirements.
    Sec.   1910.140 Fall Protection..  $18.5 million.
                                      ----------------------------------
        Total Annual Costs...........  $173.2 million.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Annual Benefits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Number of Injuries Prevented.....  3,706.
    Number of Fatalities Prevented...  20.
Monetized Benefits (assuming $50,000   $328.5 million.
 per injury and $7.2 million per
 fatality prevented).
OSHA standards that are updated and    Unquantified.
 consistent with voluntary standards.
                                      ----------------------------------
        Net Benefits (benefits minus   $155.4 million.
         costs).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cost Effectiveness: Compliance with the proposed standards would result
 in the prevention of 1 fatality and 231 injuries for every $10 million
 in costs, or alternatively, $1.90 in benefits per dollar of costs.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Evaluation and
  Analysis, Office of Regulatory Analysis, 2009.

Sensitivity of Estimates
    OSHA's benefits estimates are most sensitive when it comes to 
estimating the percentage of current injuries and fatalities that can 
be avoided by full compliance with the proposed standard. OSHA closely 
examined available reports of fatalities related to the provisions in 
the existing and proposed standards and found that 20 fatalities, or 
approximately 9 percent of fall fatalities, would be prevented if 
employers comply with the measures in the proposal. The true benefits 
of the proposal depend on how well the cases reviewed represent actual 
fall-related fatalities in general industry.
    The Agency believes that its estimate of annual fatalities 
involving slips, trips, and falls (about 230) in general industry is 
much less sensitive than the estimate of the percentage of fatalities 
avoided, because the estimate of the annual number of baseline 
fatalities is derived from 2 years of recent accident data with 
averages corroborated by 11 prior years of data. Furthermore, as noted 
earlier, OSHA believes that its benefits estimates are conservatively 
low. Accordingly, training and work practices specified in this 
proposal would likely improve the use and application of safety 
equipment (including personal fall protection equipment), thereby 
further reducing fatalities and injuries.
    In addition to estimating annualized costs using a discount rate of 
seven percent, OSHA, for sensitivity purposes, applied an alternative 
discount rate of three percent to up-front costs. Under the alternative 
scenario of a three-percent discount rate, OSHA estimates that 
annualized costs would decline from $173.2 million to $168.8 million. 
For both this scenario and for the primary (seven-percent rate) 
scenario, OSHA assumed that all costs (first-year and recurring) will 
be incurred upon implementation of the final standard (i.e., there are 
no phase-in provisions). OSHA is also assuming that the benefits 
outlined in this section will accrue once the rule takes effect.
    According to the Agency's models for estimating costs and monetized 
benefits, the proposed standard generates considerable positive net 
benefits; that is, expected benefits are much greater than expected 
costs. Only significant errors in OSHA's analysis would bring true net 
benefits to or below zero. For net benefits to fall to zero, for 
example, the Agency would have had to underestimate the number of 
buildings with anchorages subject to inspection and certification by 
two-fold (from about 750,000 buildings to 1.5 million buildings), and 
would also have had to underestimate the number of employees who would 
require training by three-fold (from 363,000 to 1.09 million). In that 
case, estimated compliance costs would rise to roughly $334 million 
annually, or about equal to the value of estimated monetary benefits. 
Alternatively, true net benefits would decline to zero if, for example, 
the Agency has overestimated injuries prevented by the standard by at 
least a factor of five or more (actual prevented injuries are 
approximately 599, down from 3,706 as estimated in this PEA).

E. Technological Feasibility

    Based on the substantial evidence collected throughout the history 
of this rulemaking, including the data and comments submitted to the 
record in response to the earlier proposed standard published on April 
10, 1990, and the notice of re-opening of the record on May 2, 2003, 
OSHA has determined that compliance with the proposed revisions to 
subparts D, I, and other subparts in part 1910 (general industry), as 
described in this proposed rule, is technologically feasible. The 
details of this conclusion with regard to specific requirements are 
presented in this subsection.
General Requirements (Sec.  1910.22)
    Section 1910.22 of proposed subpart D revises existing requirements 
addressing housekeeping, safe aisles and passageways, covers and 
guardrails, and floor loading protection, and introduces new 
requirements associated with broad areas of safety on walking-working 
surfaces. Proposed paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) address, 
respectively, surface conditions, application of loads, access and 
egress, and maintenance and repair.
    Proposed paragraph (a) requires that all walking-working surfaces 
be designed, constructed, and maintained free of hazards that can 
result in death or serious injury to employees. Data in OSHA's 
inspection file analyzed by ERG (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6) indicate a high 
level of compliance with similar requirements in existing subpart D, 
suggesting that there have been few if any technical challenges to 
employers; therefore, this provision is technologically feasible.
    Proposed paragraph Sec.  1910.22(b) requires that all walking-
working surfaces be designed, constructed, and maintained to support 
their maximum intended load and that the maximum intended load not be 
exceeded when employees use that surface. This language restates and 
simplifies the current regulatory, text and should not present any 
technological feasibility difficulties.
    Proposed paragraph Sec.  1910.22(c) requires that employers ensure 
that employees can safely move from one surface to another. Although 
new, this requirement will, in OSHA's judgment, not impose any duties 
on employers beyond the limits of feasibility.
    Proposed paragraph Sec.  1910.22(d) requires that all walking and 
working surfaces be regularly inspected, maintained, and repaired by, 
or under the supervision of, qualified persons (as defined by the 
proposed standard), and that all hazardous conditions be corrected, 
repaired, or guarded to prevent employee use until repairs are made. 
The inspection, maintenance, repair, and guarding of surfaces can be 
accomplished with technologically feasible and currently available 
methods.
Ladders (Sec.  1910.23)
    Proposed section 1910.23 covers ladders. Proposed Sec.  1910.23(a) 
specifies that the section applies to all ladders except for ladders 
that are used only for firefighting or rescue operations and ladders 
that are designed into a machine or piece of equipment. Proposed Sec.  
1910.23(b) provides general requirements for all ladders; proposed 
paragraph (c) addresses portable ladders; proposed paragraph (d) 
presents standards for fixed ladders; and proposed paragraph (e) 
addresses mobile ladder stands and mobile ladder stand platforms. The 
requirements in this proposed section are partly based on current 
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards, designated A14 
series. The ANSI standards provide guidelines for industry and are 
generally compatible with current industry practices and technology. 
Since virtually all manufactured ladders are already made and tested to 
meet the ANSI standards, OSHA anticipates few problems regarding 
technological feasibility.
    Most of the requirements for ladders in the proposed revision to 
subpart D do not represent any change from existing OSHA requirements. 
For both current and new requirements, existing and readily available 
technology is capable of meeting or exceeding the design and strength 
criteria specified for ladders. The proposed language is intended to be 
clearer and more concise than the current regulatory text. Moreover, 
greater compliance flexibility has been introduced into the standard, 
such as in the case of the range provided in the spacing requirements 
for rungs, cleats, and steps (see proposed Sec.  1910.23(b)).
    Comments submitted to the docket in response to the 1990 proposed 
rule generally confirmed OSHA's preliminary conclusion that compliance 
with the proposed requirements for ladders would be technologically 
feasible. Although several commenters addressed the appropriateness or 
the costs associated with the proposed ladder requirements, the 
technological feasibility of the requirements was not questioned.
    Training in the proper care, use, and inspection of ladders is 
grouped with other training requirements under proposed Sec.  1910.30. 
Compliance with these proposed training requirements does not require 
any additional or new technology.
Step Bolts and Manhole Steps (Sec.  1910.24)
    Provisions in revised subpart D for step bolts and manhole steps 
provide basic criteria for the safe design, construction, and use of 
these components. For example, proposed Sec.  1910.24(a)(2) specifies 
that step bolts must be spaced uniformly, between 12 inches (30 cm) and 
18 inches (46 cm) center to center, while proposed Sec.  
1910.24(b)(2)(iv) would require that manhole steps be spaced uniformly, 
not more than 16 inches (41 cm) apart. Although these proposed 
requirements would be new to subpart D, the engineering criteria are 
based on consensus standards established by the American Society for 
Testing and Materials (ASTM), which have been widely adopted throughout 
industry. Therefore, OSHA believes that existing technology is capable 
of meeting these performance criteria and can be feasibly applied.
Stairways (Sec.  1910.25)
    Proposed Sec.  1910.25 describes OSHA safety specifications for 
stairs, and covers all types except stairs serving floating roof tanks; 
stairs on scaffolds; stairs designed into machines or pieces of 
equipment; and stairs on mechanized mobile equipment. Requirements in 
this proposed section address the obligations to install handrails, 
stair rail systems, and guardrail systems, as necessary. Other 
requirements in this proposed section describe design specifications 
such as the appropriate load capacities that stairs must be able to 
support, minimum vertical clearances for different types of stairs, the 
height of risers, the depth of treads, and the proper angle of stairs. 
These proposed requirements are not substantially different from those 
of the existing standard, are drawn from NFPA and ANSI consensus codes, 
and can be feasibly incorporated into industry practice with existing 
technology.
Dockboards--Bridge Plates (Sec.  1910.26)
    Proposed Sec.  1910.26 provides for the safe movement of personnel 
and equipment on dockboards and bridge plates, and would relocate, 
update, and clarify requirements for dockboards located in existing 
Sec.  1910.30, Other working surfaces. These surfaces must be designed, 
constructed, and maintained to support their maximum intended load and 
prevent equipment from running off the edge.
According to proposed paragraph Sec.  
1910.26(c), portable dockboards must be secured with anchors or other 
means, where feasible, to prevent displacement while in use. Other 
requirements in this proposed section prevent the sudden displacement 
of vehicles on dockboards that are in use, and direct the provision of 
handholds or other means for safe handling. Compliance with the revised 
requirements for dockboards and bridge plates do not necessitate the 
use of any new technologies, materials, or production methods, and is 
thus technologically feasible.
Scaffolds and Rope Descent Systems (Sec.  1910.27)
    Proposed Sec.  1910.27 would introduce to subpart D the current 
requirements for scaffolds in the construction standards. Thus, for 
revised subpart D, OSHA proposes to directly reference subpart L in 
part 1926. In addition, new requirements for rope descent systems would 
ensure daily inspection; proper rigging; the provision of a separate 
personal fall arrest system; minimum strength criteria for lines used 
to handle loads; establishment of rescue procedures; effective padding 
of ropes; and stabilization for descents greater than 130 feet. 
Although new to subpart D, these and other specifications for the safe 
use of scaffolds have been recognized throughout industry for many 
years, owing to the publication of ANSI I-14.1-2001, Window Cleaning 
Safety (Ex. 10), and a March 12, 1991, OSHA memorandum to Regional 
Administrators addressing the ANSI standard and the provisions listed 
above (Ex. OSHA-S029-2006-0662-0019). Therefore, OSHA judges the 
requirements in this new section on scaffolds to be technologically 
feasible.
Duty To Have Fall Protection (Sec.  1910.28)
    Proposed Sec.  1910.28 restates, clarifies, and adds flexibility 
and consistency to existing OSHA requirements for providing fall 
protection to employees. In addition to general requirements for the 
strength and structural integrity of walking-working surfaces, this 
proposed section also includes detailed specifications on the following 
surfaces for which employers have a duty to provide fall protection:
     Unprotected sides and edges; 
     Holes; 
     Dockboards (bridge plates); 
     Runways and similar walkways; 
     Dangerous equipment; 
     Wall openings; 
     Repair, service, and assembly pits four to ten feet in depth; 
     Fixed ladders; 
     Outdoor advertising structures (billboards); 
     Stairways; 
     Scaffolds and rope descent systems; and
     Walking-working surfaces not otherwise addressed.
    Hazards on walking-working surfaces can include the accidental 
displacement of materials and equipment. To prevent objects from 
falling to lower levels and to protect employees from the hazards of 
falling objects, proposed Sec.  1910.28(c) provides for head 
protection, screens, toeboards, canopy structures, barricades, and 
other measures.
    The revised subpart D standard reaffirms the existing Agency 
interpretation and enforcement practice that fall protection is 
generally required for fall hazards associated with unprotected sides 
or edges of any surface presenting a fall hazard of four feet or more. 
In this regard, the obligation of employers to provide fall protection 
has not substantially changed through the revision of subpart D.
    Whereas the existing requirements specify that employees must be 
protected by installing standard guardrail systems or equivalent 
systems, the revised standard more clearly allows employers to provide 
fall protection through any of several methods, including guardrails, 
personal fall arrest systems, and safety nets. OSHA recognizes that 
some work surfaces may present difficult challenges when fall 
protection must be applied. One commenter (Ex. OSHA-S041-2006-0666-
0194) pointed out that maintenance work may sometimes require that 
employees be located on equipment such as compressors, turbines, or 
pipe racks at elevations in the range of four to ten feet above lower 
surfaces, and that guardrails, platforms, ladders, or tying off would 
not always be possible in such situations. OSHA notes that its 
enforcement procedures allow special consideration in unique 
circumstances when compliance with a particular standard may not be 
feasible or appropriate.\18\
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    \18\ See OSHA's Field Operation Manual: https://www.osha.gov/
OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-00-148.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In general, with few exceptions, employers should be able to 
address and eliminate employee exposures to potential slip, trip, and 
fall hazards by planning and designing facilities and work procedures 
in anticipation of providing employees with adequate protection from 
those hazards. Based on widespread baseline industry practice, the 
proposed fall protection requirements are, in OSHA's estimation, 
technologically feasible.
Fall Protection Systems Criteria and Practices (Sec.  1910.29); 
Training Requirements (Sec.  1910.30); General Requirements [for 
Personal Protective Equipment]; Hazard Assessment and Training (Sec.  
1910.132); and Personal Fall Protection Systems
Fall Protection Criteria (Sec.  1910.140)
    In proposed Sec.  1910.29, OSHA specifies or provides references 
for revised criteria for fall protection systems such as guardrail 
systems, handrails, stair rail systems, toeboards, designated areas, 
restraint line systems, and safety net systems. Criteria for personal 
fall protection systems are provided in proposed Sec.  1910.140, a new 
section that would be added to current subpart I.
    With regard to guardrail systems, the revised subpart D standard 
does not substantially modify existing requirements involving height, 
strength, or other criteria. Some guardrails in violation of existing 
standards are granted an exception under the revised standard, and in 
some circumstances for which the existing standard requires guardrails 
(or equivalent protection), the revised standard allows the alternative 
of using designated areas.
    Rather than explicitly mandating the use of a midrail in the design 
of a guardrail system as in the existing subpart D standard, the 
revised subpart D standard uses performance-oriented criteria that 
allow midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, or 
equivalent intermediate structural members. Compliance with the 
existing standard would generally also meet the requirements of the 
revised standard. Furthermore, the revised standard allows the employer 
to choose any of a wide variety of currently used and readily available 
guardrail system materials and designs to meet the performance-oriented 
criteria. Based on these considerations, revisions to the existing 
subpart D requirements for guardrail systems do not involve any 
technological feasibility constraints.
    Proposed paragraph Sec.  1910.29(c) would reference the 
construction standards to specify criteria for safety net systems. The 
criteria for safety nets established through this proposed rulemaking 
would include requirements for drop tests and inspections for each 
safety net installation. Other criteria for safety nets established 
through provisions of the revised subpart D involve design and strength 
standards. All of these criteria are currently achieved by existing and 
commonly available safety net systems.
The revised requirements for the installation of safety net systems 
reflect basic safety considerations that have been adopted 
by manufacturers of equipment and by employers. 
Readily available and currently used technology is capable of meeting 
these proposed requirements.
    The revised subpart D standard introduces the concept of designated 
areas (proposed Sec.  1910.29(d)) as a means of fall protection 
available to employers as an option in addition to other acceptable 
fall protection measures in certain circumstances. The technology 
necessary to implement this option consists of basic materials such as 
rope, wire, or chain, and supporting stanchions. The criteria specified 
in the revised standard for designated areas such as for strength, 
height, and visibility are capable of being achieved with currently 
available materials and technology.
    Requirements for covers for holes in floors, roofs, and other 
walking-working surfaces in the revised standard for fall protection 
systems (see proposed Sec.  1910.29 (e)) are similar to those in the 
existing subpart D standard, with the exception of new provisions for 
visible warnings and measures to prevent accidental displacement. The 
performance-oriented criteria applicable to covers allow a wide variety 
of technological solutions to be applied.
    Requirements in revised subpart D for handrail and stair rail 
systems (Sec.  1910.30(f)) specify criteria for height, strength, 
finger clearance, and type of surface, among others. These criteria are 
currently being met with existing technology, and a wide variety of 
different materials and designs are available to comply with the 
requirements.
    Proposed Sec.  1910.29 contains design and strength criteria for 
grab handles, cages, and wells. For the most part, these proposed 
standards update and provide greater flexibility to existing 
requirements in subpart D. A lone exception, a new requirement that 
landing platforms for cages and wells have the same strength as 
ladders, would not be expected to create feasibility concerns 
considering the availability of appropriate materials and engineering 
expertise.
    Proposed new language for subpart D would clearly specify criteria 
for systems that provide falling object protection. The provisions 
addressing toeboards in the existing requirements have been re-written 
in more flexible and concise language, while other requirements for 
guardrail systems and canopies specified in the proposed design 
criteria are within current engineering norms. Therefore, no 
feasibility difficulties would be expected for the technology applied 
to falling object protection.
    Finally, the proposed standard would include requirements for 
qualifying employees to climb ladders on outdoor advertising. Although 
new to subpart D, the concept of qualified climbers and the training 
and other administrative controls that characterize the development and 
protection of these climbers, have existed for many years. OSHA 
anticipates few if any technological hurdles for industry to implement 
the proposed provisions for qualified climbers.
Hazard Assessment and Training
    Proposed Sec.  1910.30 introduces requirements specifying that 
employees be trained by a qualified person and that the training 
prepare employees to recognize hazards created by the work environment 
and equipment. As discussed above in the training section of this 
preamble (Sec.  1910.30), this training requirement would apply only to 
personal fall protection equipment and dockboards. Employees must be 
retrained when changes occur in the workplace or in the types of fall 
protection systems or equipment used, they exhibit an absence of 
understanding and skill needed to recognize fall-related hazards, or 
other circumstances indicate that employee safety may be in jeopardy.
    The proposed revision to subpart I would introduce a requirement 
that employers conduct hazard assessment and training in accordance 
with the requirements in Sec.  1910.132(d) and (f) in workplaces where 
fall protection PPE would be provided to employees. Survey data 
indicate that a significant percentage of employers currently assess 
the occupational fall hazards facing their employees, and that a 
similarly large percentage of employers train their employees in the 
proper use of fall protection PPE (OSHA, 1994). For employers that 
would incur the administrative burden of this proposed requirement for 
the first time after OSHA issues the final rule, OSHA anticipates that 
there would be no technological difficulties to achieve compliance.
    The revised subpart D standards include provisions for personal 
fall protection systems, including components such as harnesses, 
connectors, lifelines, lanyards, anchorages, and travel restraint 
lines. The criteria that these components must meet when they are used 
are included in proposed 29 CFR part 1910, Sec.  1910.140 of subpart I, 
and are referenced in revised subpart D.
    The revisions to the walking-working surfaces and fall protection 
systems described in this proposal include revisions to several 
subparts in 29 CFR part 1910 other than subparts D and I. For purposes 
of this analysis, the determinations of technological feasibility 
described in this PEA include the revisions proposed for these other 
subparts.
    The requirements applicable to personal fall protection systems 
specified by this proposed rulemaking codify basic safety criteria for 
these systems. These criteria reflect common industry safety practices, 
and are met by equipment that is currently used and readily available. 
The revised standards generally do not require changes in current 
technology or current practices for employers who use standard safety 
equipment and follow standard safety procedures. The technological 
feasibility of the proposed requirements has been demonstrated by 
current manufacturers of fall protection equipment, restraint line 
systems, and controlled descent devices, and by the application of 
these technologies in diverse industrial activities and circumstances.
    In conclusion, OSHA has determined that the technological demands 
placed upon employers through compliance with the proposed revisions to 
subparts D, I, and other affected subparts of part 1910 can be feasibly 
implemented within the schedule presented in this proposal. Therefore, 
OSHA anticipates that there would be no technological hindrance to the 
significant improvement of employee safety on walking and working 
surfaces resulting from the issuance of this proposal.

F. Costs of Compliance

Introduction
    This subsection presents OSHA's preliminary analysis of the 
compliance costs associated with the proposed standards for walking-
working surfaces and fall protection in general industry. This cost 
analysis begins with a discussion of the assumptions used in the 
analysis. OSHA's preliminary analysis of compliance costs is largely 
based on the cost analysis by OSHA's contractor, Eastern Research Group 
(ERG, 2007, Ex. 6). The discussion focuses on what constitutes the 
regulatory baseline (i.e., current conditions) from which the costs, 
impacts, and benefits of the proposed rule are measured. The role of 
consensus standards and the compliance rates for the existing rule
are also discussed for their impact on the cost analysis (i.e., where 
codification of existing consensus standards result in no incremental 
costs for the proposed rule).
    Following the discussion of baseline assumptions, the next 
subsection reviews the proposed rule on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis 
for those paragraphs that potentially could result in costs to 
industry. The final subsection examines one-time costs to bring 
employers into compliance with the proposed rule, as well as the annual 
costs for training new employees and retraining existing employees. 
OSHA's cost estimates are presented by affected industry, and by 
applicable provision. The final subsection concludes with a discussion 
and tables that summarize the costs for each section of the proposed 
standard, and aggregates them to estimate total costs.
Cost Assumptions
Baseline From Which Costs Are Estimated
    The Office of Management and Budget's guidance on regulatory 
analysis (OMB, 2003) recommends developing a baseline against which to 
measure the costs and benefits of a rule. The baseline should be the 
best assessment of conditions absent the proposed standard, and is 
frequently assumed to resemble the present. The baseline for this 
preliminary cost analysis, then, includes compliance rates with 
existing subpart D and subpart I, as well as with national consensus 
standards. For a discussion on the theoretical underpinnings for the 
use of consensus standards as a baseline in OSHA's cost analysis, see 
ERG, 2007 (Ex. 6).
    ERG analyzed OSHA inspections for fiscal year 2005 that resulted in 
a citation (OSHA, 2006a); see Table V-15. The first column in the table 
presents cases where a citation was issued for any reason, and the 
other columns in the table indicate cases of non-compliance with a 
section of 29 CFR part 1910, subpart D. Conceivably, the non-compliance 
rates in Table V-15 may be overstated because there are inspections 
with no citations that are not included in this estimate.
    Based on ERG's analysis, OSHA determined that upper-bound non-
compliance rates for floor guarding requirements in proposed Sec.  
1910.23 vary by industry. For example, Finance, Insurance, and Real 
Estate has the lowest non-compliance rate (2.8 percent), while 
Wholesale Trade has the highest non-compliance rate (13.6 percent). For 
the requirements for fixed industrial stairs, the non-compliance rates 
are quite low, ranging from 0 percent (Finance, Insurance, and Real 
Estate) to 2.7 percent (Wholesale Trade). For the remaining paragraphs 
(portable wood ladders, portable metal ladders, fixed ladders, 
scaffolding, and manually propelled mobile ladder stands and 
scaffolds), non-compliance rates do not exceed 1.2 percent.
    Thus, for Sec.  1910.25-.29, the assumption of 100 percent industry 
compliance may be reasonable.\19\ That is, costs are only incurred when 
the proposed requirements exceed, or would be more costly than, the 
current requirements. However, where costs might be incurred under more 
stringent proposed requirements, the upper-bound non-compliance rate 
for existing requirements (i.e., the rates shown in Table V-15, applied 
by sector) can be used as an estimate of the proportion of facilities 
that might incur costs under the proposed rule. Although OSHA and ERG 
use the term "upper-bound" here for theoretical and modeling 
purposes, actual non-compliance rates for existing requirements may be 
higher. OSHA requests comment on rates and levels of non-compliance 
with respect to current requirements in subpart D.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \19\ Theoretically, the baseline assumption should be compliance 
with the current standards. Costs for all industrial sectors to meet 
the current standards were considered at the time the current 
standards were promulgated.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If meeting an existing requirement would also meet the proposed 
requirement, no costs were assigned by OSHA to the provision. For 
example, the existing language for Sec.  1910.27(b)(1)(iii) states that 
the clear length of a rung or cleat in a fixed ladder shall be a 
minimum of 16 inches. Proposed Sec.  1910.23(b)(5)(ii) states that 
fixed ladders used in the telecommunication industry must have a 
minimum clear step or rung width of 12 inches. A telecommunication 
ladder that meets existing requirements (16 inches) would also meet the 
new requirements (a minimum of 12 inches); hence, no costs were 
assigned to such changes. Later in this cost analysis, a detailed 
provision-by-provision examination of potential costs will provide 
further concrete examples of OSHA's application of estimates of current 
industry compliance/practice.

BILLING CODE 4510-29-P

TABLE V-15  
Compliance With Current 29 CFR 1910 Requirements

BILLING CODE 4510-29-C

Compliance Met by Least-Cost Method
    Consistent with traditional cost-impact analyses, OSHA assumed that 
employers will meet a regulatory requirement by choosing the least 
expensive means to do so. Thus, if the proposed regulation identifies 
several other means of meeting a requirement along with the current 
method, the employer would be expected to select the least cost method. 
Accordingly, if the alternative method specified in the proposed 
regulation is more expensive than the current method, the employer 
would be expected to use the current method to meet the requirement. 
For example, under proposed Sec.  1910.29(b)(1), an employer can meet 
the duty to have fall protection for an employee on a walking-working 
surface with an unprotected edge by (1) the use of guard rail systems, 
safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems, or (2) having the 
employee work in a designated area. The current standard only specifies 
option (1). Therefore, OSHA assigned no costs to proposed Sec.  
1910.29(b)(1).
    In some cases there might be cost savings to an employer in 
choosing the least-cost method for complying with a provision in the 
proposed rule. However, those savings are not estimated in this report.
Compliance With National Consensus Standards
    National consensus standards serve as the "baseline" against 
which incremental costs and benefits of a proposed standard are 
measured. If the proposed language requires a level of safety 
equivalent to that in an existing consensus standard, then there is no 
difference between the proposed regulatory language and the baseline, 
except that the proposed standard would be mandatory rather than 
voluntary. Thus, the costs are those associated with the change from a 
voluntary standard to a mandatory standard. These costs would be 
incurred only by that part of the population that currently does not 
comply with voluntary standards. If, however, the proposed standard is 
more stringent than the consensus standard, all employers would incur 
compliance costs solely attributable to the proposed OSHA standard.
    ERG developed a logic-flow diagram outlining the process for 
identifying costs associated with new regulatory language (see ERG, 
2007, Ex. 6, Figure 3-2). The starting point is a side-by-side, 
provision-by-provision comparison of the existing and new regulatory 
language. In many cases, the language might have changed to enhance 
comprehension of the regulation without changing in the scope of 
activities covered or the requirements for a safe workplace. In some 
cases, the revised language gives the employer alternative methods of 
compliance that provide protection for employees that is equivalent to 
the original standard, and which result in de minimis costs to the 
employer.
    If there is a change from the existing to the proposed standard, 
the second decision point is to determine whether the proposed standard 
is equivalent to an existing consensus standard. If it is, then the 
cost associated with the new standard is the change from a voluntary 
standard to a mandatory standard. Table V-16 presents a listing of 
national consensus standards and the associated section of the proposed 
rule for subparts D and I. If the proposed rule does not contain more 
stringent requirements than an existing national consensus standard, 
and equipment purchased or installed meets these standards, no costs 
were assigned to the proposed rule. However, for the portion of the 
industry that is not currently complying with the voluntary standard, 
costs represent compliance with the proposed standards. It can be 
argued, however, that costs are attributable to the proposed standard 
only if the employer has the option of not complying with the consensus 
standard.
    At the next decision point, the presence or absence of a 
"grandfather" provision determines whether costs are incurred by 
existing establishments to retrofit and upgrade to the new requirements 
when the standard is implemented or only when establishments replace 
infrastructure or equipment at a time of the employer's choosing. The 
cost effects of grandfather provisions are discussed in more detail 
below and in ERG (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
    \21\ TIA: Telecommunications Industry Association.

   Table V-16--Proposed Subpart D Requirements and Associated National
                           Consensus Standards
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Subpart D                   National consensus standard
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   1910.22 General              ANSI/ASSE A1264.2-2006, American
 Requirements.                       National Standard for the Provision
                                     of Slip Resistance on Walking/
                                     Working Surfaces.
                                    ASME B56.1-2004, American Society of
                                     Mechanical Engineers, Safety
                                     Standard for Low Lift and High Lift
                                     Trucks.
Sec.   1910.23 Ladders............  ANSI A14.1-2000, American National
                                     Standard for Ladders--Wood Safety
                                     Requirements.
                                    ANSI 14.2-2000, American National
                                     Standard for Ladders--Portable
                                     Metal--Safety Requirements.
                                    ANSI A14.3-2002, American National
                                     Standard for Ladders--Fixed--Safety
                                     Requirements.
                                    ANSI A14.4-2002, American National
                                     Standard Safety Requirements for
                                     Job-Made Wooden Ladders.
                                    ANSI A14.5-2000, American National
                                     Standard for Ladders--Portable
                                     Reinforced Plastic--Safety
                                     Requirements.
                                    ANSI A14.7-2006, American National
                                     Standard for Mobile Ladder Stands
                                     and Mobile Ladder Stand Platforms.
Sec.   1910.24 Step Bolts and       ASTM C478-07, American Society for
 Manhole Steps.                      Testing and Materials Standard
                                     Specification for Precast
                                     Reinforced Concrete Manhole
                                     Sections.
                                    ASTM A394-05, American Society for
                                     Testing and Materials Specification
                                     for Steel Transmission Tower Bolts,
                                     Zinc-Coated and Bare.
                                    ASTM C497-05, American Society for
                                     Testing and Materials Test Methods
                                     for Concrete Pipe, Manhole
                                     Sections, or Tile.
                                    IEEE\20\ 1307-2004, IEEE Standard
                                     for Fall Protection for Utility
                                     Work.
                                    TIA\21\ -222-G-2005, Structural
                                     Standard for Antenna Supporting
                                     Structures and Antennas.
Sec.   1910.25 Stairways..........  ANSI A1264.1-1995 (R2002), American
                                     National Standard for Safety
                                     Requirements for Workplace Floor
                                     and Wall Openings, Stairs and
                                     Railing Systems.
                                    ANSI A1264.1-2007, American National
                                     Standard Safety Requirements for
                                     Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces
                                     and Their Access; Workplace, Floor,
                                     Wall and Floor Openings; Stairs and
                                     Guardrail Systems.
                                     NFPA 101-2006, National Fire
                                     Protection Association Life Safety
                                     Code.
                                    ICC-2003, International Code Council
                                     International Building Code.
Sec.   1910.26 Dockboards (Bridge   ASME B56.1-2004, American Society of
 Plates).                            Mechanical Engineers, Safety
                                     Standard for Low Lift and High Lift
                                     Trucks.
                                    ANSI/MH30.1-2000, American National
                                     Standard For the Safety
                                     Performance, and Testing of Dock
                                     Leveling Devices Specification.
                                    ANSI/MH30.2-2005, Portable Dock
                                     Loading Devices: Safety,
                                     Performance, and Testing.
Sec.   1910.27 Scaffolds and Rope   ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001, Window
 Descent Systems.                    Cleaning Safety.
                                    ANSI/ASCE 7-2005, American National
                                     Standard for Minimum Design Loads
                                     for Buildings and Other Structures.
                                    ANSI A1264.1-1995 (R2002), American
                                     National Standard for Safety
                                     Requirements for Workplace Floor
                                     and Wall Openings, Stairs and
                                     Railing Systems.
                                    ANSI A1264.1-2007, American National
                                     Standard Safety Requirements for
                                     Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces
                                     and Their Access; Workplace, Floor,
                                     Wall and Floor Openings; Stairs and
                                     Guardrail Systems.
Sec.   1910.28 Duty to have Fall    ANSI A10.11-1989 (R1998), American
 Protection.                         National Standard for Construction
                                     and Demolition Operations--
                                     Personnel and Debris Nets.
Sec.   1910.29 Fall Protection      ANSI A14.3-2002, American National
 Systems Criteria and Practices.     Standard for Ladders--Fixed--Safety
                                     Requirements.
                                    ANSI A14.7-2006, American National
                                     Standard for Mobile Ladder Stands
                                     and Mobile Ladder Stand Platforms.
Sec.   1910.30 Training             ANSI A1264.1-1995 (R2002), American
 Requirements.                       National Standard for Safety
                                     Requirements for Workplace Floor
                                     and Wall Openings, Stairs and
                                     Railing Systems.
                                    ANSI A1264.1-2007, American National
                                     Standard, Safety Requirements for
                                     Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces
                                     and Their Access; Workplace, Floor,
                                     Wall and Floor Openings; Stairs and
                                     Guardrail Systems.
                                    ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001, Window
                                     Cleaning Safety.
                                    ANSI Z359.0-2007, American National
                                     Standard, Definitions and
                                     Nomenclature Used for Fall
                                     Protection and Fall Arrest.
                                    ANSI Z359.4-2007, American National
                                     Standard, Safety Requirements for
                                     Personal Fall Arrest Systems,
                                     Subsystems and Components.
                                    ANSI Z359.3-2007, American National
                                     Standard, Minimum Requirements for
                                     a Comprehensive Managed Fall
                                     Protection Program.
                                    ANSI Z359.3-2007, American National
                                     Standard, Safety Requirements for
                                     Positioning and Travel Restraint
                                     Systems.
                                    ANSI Z359.4-2007, American National
                                     Standard, Safety Requirements for
                                     Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue
                                     Systems, Subsystems and Components.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Standards and
  Guidance, 2009.

    Some equipment addressed by the proposed standard, such as portable 
ladders or mobile ladder stands, is commercially produced and purchased 
in ready-to-use conditions by employers. OSHA believes that such 
equipment, in virtually all cases, will be designed and fabricated to 
meet current consensus standards because equipment manufacturers will 
seek to avoid: (1) The small market represented by employers that would 
purchase non-compliant equipment, and (2) the liabilities associated 
with the manufacture of non-compliant equipment.
    Typically, an employer would use architects, engineers, and/or 
contractors to design, fabricate and install certain types of site-
specific equipment. While it is conceivable that an employer might 
insist on installing nonconforming equipment, OSHA believes that 
professional standards for architects and engineers, local building 
codes, and potential liability concerns would dictate that virtually 
all employers would voluntarily choose to upgrade equipment to conform 
to existing national consensus standards. For these reasons, OSHA 
concludes that compliant equipment will be available for the proposed 
requirements. For example, proposed Sec.  1910.23(b)(1) specifies that 
ladder rungs and steps must be parallel, level, and uniformly spaced 
when the ladder is in a position for use. While steps are covered in 
the existing Sec.  1910.25(c)(2)(i)(b), rungs are not. However, both 
rungs and steps are covered in the national consensus standards (see 
Table V-16).
    Likewise, the spacing for rungs, cleats, and steps of step stools 
and extension trestle ladders in proposed Sec.  1910.23(b)(3) and (4) 
are new with respect to the existing standard, but not with the 
consensus standard for ladders. Proposed Sec.  1910.23(e)(5) requires 
that grab bars on fixed ladders extend 42 inches above the access/
egress level or landing platform served by the ladder. This provision 
is found in the ANSI 14.3-2002 standard for fixed ladders. Therefore, 
no costs were assigned to proposed Sec.  1910.23(e)(5).
    In conclusion, for the purpose of establishing a baseline, OSHA 
assumed that equipment met the national consensus standard in effect at 
the time of installation. For additional analysis of the interface of 
national consensus standards with OSHA standards, see ERG, 2007, pp. 3-
6 and 3-14 (Ex. 6).
No Costs Due to Grandfathering Provision
    Table V-17 lists the paragraphs in the proposed standard with new 
requirements, but which also have a "grandfather" provision for 
existing conditions. A grandfather provision exempts equipment that 
currently is in place from requirements that strengthen or upgrade the 
safety features of the equipment. Due to this provision, no costs will 
be incurred for modification or replacement of equipment covered by 
these paragraphs.


       Table V-17--Proposed Paragraphs with Grandfather Provisions
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Paragraph                             Subject
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   1910.23(d)(2)..............  Fixed ladders must be designed,
                                     constructed, and maintained as
                                     follows: (i) Fixed ladders must be
                                     capable of supporting two live
                                     loads of at least 250 pounds each,
                                     concentrated between any two
                                     consecutive attachments, plus
                                     anticipated loads caused by ice
                                     buildup, winds, rigging, and impact
                                     loads resulting from the use of
                                     ladder safety systems * * * (ii)
                                     Each step or rung must be capable
                                     of supporting at least a single
                                     concentrated load of 250 pounds
                                     applied in the middle of the step
                                     or rung.
Sec.   1910.24(a)(1)..............  All step bolts that are used in
                                     corrosive environments must be
                                     constructed of, or coated with, a
                                     material that will retard corrosion
                                     of the step or bolt.
Sec.   1910.24(a)(7)..............  Each step bolt installed must be
                                     capable of supporting, without
                                     failure, at least four times its
                                     maximum intended load.
Sec.   1910.24(b)(2)..............  The employer must ensure that
                                     manhole steps: (i) are provided
                                     with slip-resistant surfaces such
                                     as, corrugated, knurled, or dimpled
                                     surfaces; (ii) used in corrosive
                                     environment are constructed of, or
                                     coated with, a material that will
                                     retard corrosion of the step; (iii)
                                     have a minimum clear step width of
                                     10 inches; (iv) are spaced
                                     uniformly, not more than 16 inches
                                     apart; (v) have a minimum
                                     perpendicular distance between the
                                     centerline of the manhole step to
                                     the nearest permanent object in
                                     back of the step of at least 4.5
                                     inches; and (vi) are designed to
                                     prevent the employee's foot from
                                     slipping or sliding off the end of
                                     the manhole step.
Sec.   1910.25(a)(6)..............  When a door or a gate opens directly
                                     on a stairway, a platform must be
                                     provided, and the swing of the door
                                     or gate must not reduce the
                                     effective usable depth to less than
                                     22 inches.
Sec.   1910.26(b).................  Dockboards must be designed,
                                     constructed, and maintained to
                                     prevent equipment from running off
                                     the edge.
Sec.   1910.29(f)(1)(ii)..........  The height of stair rail systems
                                     must not be less than 36 inches.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: ERG, 2007.

Sections of the Proposed Standard With Cost Impacts
    This subsection provides a brief paragraph-by-paragraph review of 
the proposed rule. Only requirements that might involve costs 
incremental to those associated with current requirements and national 
consensus standards are described.
    Table V-18 summarizes the proposed paragraphs that might result in 
costs to the employer. These are primarily inspection and training 
costs. For the purpose of this analysis, OSHA distinguished between 
informal and formal training (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6). For example, proposed 
Sec.  1910.23(b)(12) states that an employee must face the ladder when 
ascending or descending the ladder. OSHA assumed such instruction can 
be done on an in-house, informal basis (e.g., "on-the-job" training), 
using materials such as OSHA training videos. When training is done on 
an informal basis, OSHA did not assign a cost to the training. When the 
proposed regulatory text uses the words "trained" or "training," 
OSHA assumed that the instruction will be done on a more formal basis, 
possibly with an outside person being hired to provide the course. OSHA 
assumed that an employer will choose to maintain documentation of all 
formal training and, thus, assigned a cost for the administrative task.

  Table V-18--Paragraphs of the Proposed Standards for Subparts D and I
                        Analyzed for Cost Impacts
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Paragraph                             Subject
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   1910.22(d)(1)..............  Regular and periodic inspection of
                                     walking/working surfaces.
Sec.   1910.22(d)(2)..............  Unsafe conditions must be guarded
                                     until repaired.
Sec.   1910.22(d)(3)..............  Qualified person must inspect
                                     repair.
Sec.   1910.23(b)(11).............  Training: When ascending or
                                     descending a ladder, the user must
                                     face the ladder.
Sec.   1910.23(b)(12).............  Training: Each employee must use at
                                     least one hand to grasp the ladder
                                     when progressing up and down the
                                     ladder.
Sec.   1910.23(b)(13).............  Training: An employee must not carry
                                     any object or load that could cause
                                     the employee to lose his or her
                                     balance and fall.
Sec.   1910.23(c)(5)..............  Training: Use of portable single
                                     rail ladders is prohibited.
Sec.   1910.23(c)(6)..............  Training: Ladders must not be moved,
                                     shifted, or extended while occupied
                                     by employees.
Sec.   1910.23(e).................  Due diligence on the part of the
                                     employer to ensure mobile ladder
                                     stands and platforms meet the
                                     requirements.
Sec.   1910.23(e)(1)(vii).........  Mobile ladder stands and platforms
                                     must not be moved.
Sec.   1910.24(a)(8)..............  Visual inspection of step bolts
                                     before each use.
Sec.   1910.24(b)(3)..............  Visual inspection of manhole steps
                                     before each use.
Sec.   1910.24(b)(2)(i)...........  Manhole steps are provided with slip-
                                     resistant surfaces.
Sec.   1910.24(b)(2)(vi)..........  Manhole steps are designed to
                                     prevent the employee's foot from
                                     slipping or sliding off the end of
                                     the manhole step.
Sec.   1910.27(b)(2)(ii)..........  When rope descent systems are used,
                                     employees must be trained in
                                     accordance with Sec.   1910.30.
                                     Costs for this paragraph are
                                     therefore included in Sec.
                                     1910.30.
Sec.   1910.27(b)(2)(iv)..........  When rope descent systems are used,
                                     employees must use proper rigging,
                                     including sound anchorages and
                                     tiebacks.
Sec.   1910.28(a)(2)..............  Employer must determine that walking-
                                     working surfaces have the strength
                                     and structural integrity to safely
                                     support employees.
Sec.   1910.28(b)(4)..............  Installation of guardrails and
                                     handrails on dockboards.
Sec.   1910.28(b)(10)(iii)........  Inspection of ladder safety systems.
Sec.   1910.28(b)(10)(v)..........  Each employee who routinely climbs
                                     fixed ladders must satisfy the
                                     criteria for qualified climber
                                     found in Sec.   1910.29(h). Costs
                                     associated with this training are
                                     assigned to Sec.   1910.29(h).
Sec.   1910.28(b)(10)(vi).........  Training: Employee must have both
                                     hands free while ascending or
                                     descending ladder (outdoor
                                     advertising/billboards operations).
Sec.   1910.29(b)(15).............  Inspection of manila, plastic, or
                                     synthetic rope being used as top
                                     rails or midrails.
Sec.   1910.29(h).................  Training for qualified climbers.
                                    Retraining for qualified climbers as
                                     necessary.
                                    Performance observations.
Sec.   1910.30(a).................  Training: Fall hazards.
Sec.   1910.30(b).................  Training: Equipment hazards.
Sec.   1910.30(c).................  Retraining.
Sec.   1910.140...................  Hazard assessment.
Sec.   1910.140(c)(18)............  Personal fall protection systems
                                     inspected before each use.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: ERG, 2007.

    Finally, three requirements in the proposed standard specify that 
training must be done in accordance with proposed Sec.  1910.30:
     Proposed Sec.  1910.27(b)(2)(ii): Rope descent systems; 
     Proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(1): Unprotected sides and edges; 
and
     Proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(10)(v): Outdoor advertising 
(billboards).

The costs for proposed Sec.  1910.30 include the costs for the three 
paragraphs listed above.
    In the following subsection, organized by proposed regulatory 
provision, OSHA discusses the potential cost implications of the new 
requirements. Proposed changes expected to result in little or no costs 
were described in general terms earlier in this cost analysis and are 
not addressed below. For further details, see the ERG report (ERG, 
2007, Ex. 6).
General Requirements (Sec.  1910.22)
    Sec.  1910.22(c). Access and egress. The employer must ensure that 
employees are provided with and use a safe means of access to, and 
egress from, one surface to another. The language in the existing Sec.  
1910.22(b) specifies that aisles and passageways must be kept clear, in 
good repair, and with no obstruction across or in aisles that could 
create a hazard. For this PEA, OSHA interpreted the language in 
proposed Sec.  1910.22(c) as generalizing the terms "aisles" and 
"passageways" to cover all means of access and egress. With this 
interpretation, the terminology in the proposed rule is consistent with 
that in a National Fire Protection Association consensus standard (NFPA 
101). Thus, OSHA assigned no costs to proposed Sec.  1910.22(c).
    Sec.  1910.22(d) Maintenance and repair. This new provision sets 
forth requirements for the employer to inspect the walking/working 
surfaces, guard hazardous conditions to prevent employee use until the 
hazard is corrected, and ensure that the repair or maintenance work is 
inspected by a qualified person. The costs for these safe work 
practices are considered below under COST ESTIMATION and are assumed to 
include the costs for inspection described in proposed Sec.  1910.28.
Ladders (Sec.  1910.23)
    Sec.  1910.23(a) Application. This proposed paragraph covers 
special wood ladders specifically excluded in the existing standard, 
including fruit picker's ladders, combination step and extension 
ladders, stockroom step ladders, aisle-way step ladders, shelf ladders, 
and library ladders. However, OSHA assumed that these ladders meet 
consensus standards for wooden ladders (see Table V-16); therefore, 
OSHA expects that no costs will be incurred with the expanded 
application.
    Sec.  1910.23(b)(4)(iii). This proposed paragraph concerns rolling 
ladders in communications centers and was moved from Sec.  
1910.268(h)(5)--Telecommunications. Thus, this is not a new requirement 
and has no costs.
    Sec.  1910.23(b)(9). Both the existing and proposed standards have 
a requirement to inspect ladders before use. OSHA anticipates that the 
inspection frequency would not increase under the proposed standard. 
Therefore, no additional costs are expected.
    Sec.  1910.23(b)(11)-(13); Sec.  1910.23(c)(5) and (6), (10)-(11), 
and (13). These eight paragraphs include instructions to employees on 
the proper use of ladders. Proposed Sec.  1910.23(c)(5) prohibits the 
use of single-rail ladders. This is consistent with the requirements 
for the construction industry standard at Sec.  1926.1053(b)(19). Thus 
the requirement not to use a single-rail ladder is a matter of 
training. The wide availability of permitted ladders means there are no 
equipment costs associated with the prohibition. Training costs are 
considered below under COST ESTIMATION.
    Sec.  1910.23(c)(14). This proposed provision states that the reach 
of the ladder and ladder sections must not be increased by any means 
unless specifically designed for the application. Ladders and ladder 
sections cannot be tied or fastened together to provide longer length 
unless the equipment is designed for this purpose. This provision might 
cause the employer to incur a cost if it were necessary to purchase a 
longer ladder of sufficient length for the task. However, the existing 
regulations at Sec.  1910.25(d)(2)(ix) and Sec.  1910.26(c)(3)(vi) 
specify that neither wood nor metal portable ladders may be spliced, 
tied, or fastened together to create a longer section unless the 
manufacturer has designed the equipment for such a purpose. The 
proposed standard, then, expands the prohibition to all other means of 
joining ladder sections. There are no data estimating the frequency of 
such occurrences but, presumably, they are rare. Thus, OSHA did not 
assign a cost to this paragraph.
    Sec.  1910.23(d)(2)(i). As proposed, fixed ladders must be capable 
of supporting two live loads of at least 250 pounds, plus an additional 
concentrated load of 250 pounds each, plus anticipated loads caused by 
ice build-up and other conditions. Each rung must be capable of 
supporting at least a single concentrated load of 250 pounds. The 
language in this new requirement reflects the consensus standard in 
ANSI A14.3-2002 (see Table V-16). The existing language, however, 
specifies a single concentrated load of 200 pounds.
    ERG estimated that there are approximately 2.75 million fixed 
ladders over 20 feet in length in the Untied States (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6). 
The requirement to support two loads of 250 pounds each dates back to 
the 1984 version of ANSI A14.3. It is therefore highly likely that much of the 
population of existing fixed ladders was built when the 250-pound 
requirement was in the voluntary standard. However, we do not know the 
age distribution of fixed ladders in the United States or when a ladder 
was most recently reconstructed.
    The cost differential for each ladder is the difference between a 
design to support one live load of 200 pounds and two live loads of 250 
pounds each. Given that the fixed ladder must be constructed to fit a 
specific site, it is likely that the labor costs for either design 
would be comparable. Therefore, the cost attributable to the consensus 
standard is primarily attributable to the difference in materials, 
e.g., thicker steel. Such costs are likely to be highly site-specific 
and not easily estimated. However, given (1) that the cost for 
materials is a fraction of the overall cost of building or rebuilding 
the fixed ladder, and (2) the incremental cost is the difference 
between the materials planned and materials needed, these incremental 
costs are likely to be modest and will not impose a significant impact 
on the small population of employers who are non-compliant with the 
current consensus standards. OSHA invites public comment on the 
potential costs and impacts associated with this requirement.
    Sec.  1910.23(d)(12)(i). In the proposed text, "step-across 
distance" is measured from the centerline of the steps or rungs of a 
fixed ladder. The existing definition measures the step-across distance 
from the nearest edge of the ladder to the nearest edge of the 
structure or equipment. The minimum distance under the proposed 
standard is 7 inches, and under the existing standard it is 2.5 inches; 
the proposed maximum distance is 12 inches. Proposed paragraph Sec.  
1910.23(b)(4) specifies a minimum clear step or rung width of 11.5 
inches for portable ladders and 16 inches for individual rung and fixed 
ladders; thus, the distance from the centerline to the inside edge of 
the ladder ranges from roughly 6 to 8 inches. Adding the existing 
requirement of 2.5 inches from the nearest edge of the ladder to the 
nearest edge of the structure or equipment to the 6- to 8-inch 
centerline width results in a step-across width of 8.5 to 10.5 inches. 
Thus any fixed ladder that meets the current requirements also meets 
the proposed requirements. No costs were assigned to this paragraph.
    Sec.  1910.23(d)(12)(ii). The proposed standard specifies that the 
step-across distance from the centerline of the steps or rungs of a 
fixed ladder to the access/egress point of the platform edge for side 
step ladders must be between 15 and 20 inches. Based on Figure D-10 in 
the existing standard, the maximum space from the edge of the ladder to 
the platform (i.e., access/egress point) is 12 inches. As noted in the 
previous paragraph, the centerline width for a fixed ladder ranges from 
roughly 6 to 8 inches. The total step-across distance under the 
existing standard ranges from 18 to 20 inches. Thus, a fixed ladder 
that meets the current requirements also meets the proposed 
requirements. Therefore, OSHA assigned no costs to this paragraph.
    Sec.  1910.23(e). The only provision that does not have a 
corresponding requirement in the national consensus standard, proposed 
Sec.  1910.23(e)(1)(vii) (specifying that occupied mobile ladder stands 
and platforms must not be moved), is a work practice requirement, and 
compliance is achieved through ladder safety training and enforcement. 
Therefore, any cost for proposed Sec.  1910.23(e)(1)(vii) would be 
associated with workplace practices addressed through training. See the 
section COST ESTIMATION, below, for ladder safety training costs.
    All other provisions meet the national consensus standard in the 
ANSI A14 series. An analysis of fiscal year 2005 OSHA inspection data 
for violations of existing subpart D indicate that the failure to 
provide safe ladders is low (e.g., 0.2 percent of the violations were 
for portable wood ladders, 0.4 percent for metal ladders, and 0.8 
percent for fixed ladders). Based on these data, OSHA infers that there 
is a nearly 100 percent compliance with the provisions of the current 
consensus standards. Therefore, no costs were assigned for equipment 
upgrades. However, OSHA assigned costs for meeting the technical 
specifications found in proposed Sec.  1910.23(e).
Step Bolts and Manhole Steps (Sec.  1910.24)
    The requirements for step bolts are new to subpart D. In the 
preliminary regulatory impact analysis for the 1990 proposed rule, OSHA 
noted, "Manufactured products, such as ladders, step bolts, manhole 
steps * * * generally meet or exceed proposed OSHA specifications." 
(OSHA, 1990a.) A 2003 OSHA interpretation document comments that OSHA 
believes the IEEE 1307-1996 consensus standard, in most cases, prevents 
or eliminates serious hazards (OSHA, 2003a). IEEE 1307-1996 defines 
"failure" in a step bolts as occurring when step bolts are bent 
greater than 0.26 rad (15 degrees) below the horizontal. Proposed Sec.  
1910.24(a)(9) mirrors that definition. Because IEEE revised the 
standard in 2004, OSHA assumed that industry is using the more up-to-
date consensus standard.
    Sec.  1910.24(a)(1). This proposed provision reads:

    All step bolts installed on or after (date 90 days after the 
effective date of the final rule in the Federal Register) that are 
used in corrosive environments must be constructed of, or coated 
with, a material that will retard corrosion of the step or bolt.
    The national consensus standard applicable to this proposed 
requirement is ASTM Specification for Steel Transmission Tower 
Bolts, Zinc-Coated and Bare (ASTM A394-05). The appendix to the 
consensus standard notes that the dimensions of ladder bolts, step 
bolts, and equipment support bolts shall be specified by the 
purchaser. The ASTM standard describes three types of bolts covered 
by the standard:
     Type 0: hot-dip zinc-coated bolts made of low or medium 
carbon steel (ASTM 394-05, section 1.1.1).
     Type 1: hot-dip zinc-coated bolts made of medium carbon 
steel, quenched and tempered (ASTM 394-05, section 1.1.2).
     Type 3: Bare (uncoated), quenched and tempered bolts 
made of weathering steel (ASTM 394-05, section 1.1.4).\22\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ Type 2 bolts were withdrawn in 2005.

    Appendix A.2 of the consensus standard mentions that bolts should 
be Type 0 unless agreed upon by the manufacturer and purchaser. That 
is, the default condition is that the bolt be zinc-coated; therefore, 
such bolts would meet the proposed OSHA requirement for corrosion 
resistance. Presumably, the use of any other bolt type would suggest 
that the manufacturer and purchaser have agreed that the bolt is 
appropriate for the intended environment and intended use. Since 
manufacturers of step bolts are unlikely to make non-compliant step 
bolts, OSHA assigned no costs to Sec.  1910.24(a)(1).
    Sec.  1910.24(a)(6). This proposed provision reads:

    Step bolts installed before (date 90 days after the effective 
date of the final rule in the Federal Register) must be capable of 
supporting their maximum intended load.

The requirement that a step bolt must be capable of supporting its 
maximum intended load is consistent with IEEE 1307-2004, Standard for 
Fall Protection for Utility Work. Section 9.1.1.1(d) in that standard 
reads:

    Step bolts shall [b]e capable of supporting the intended 
workload [as defined for the application per the applicable ANSI 
standard(s)], but in no case shall the minimum design live load be 
less than a simple concentrated load of 271 kg (598.4 lb) applied 
51mm (2 inches) from the inside face of the step bolt head.
Therefore, no costs were assigned to this provision.
    Sec.  1910.24(a)(7). This proposed paragraph requires that step 
bolts installed after the effective date of the final rule be capable 
of supporting four times their maximum intended load. As discussed in 
the preamble to the proposed rule, OSHA considers a 5/8-inch bolt to 
meet this requirement, and that bolts of that size are readily 
available. Therefore, no incremental costs would be expected in 
relation to this provision.
    Sec.  1910.24(a)(8) and Sec.  1910.24(b)(3). Under these proposed 
paragraphs, step bolts and manhole steps must be visually inspected 
before each use. Inspection costs are considered below under COST 
ESTIMATION.
    Sec.  1910.24(b). The language in the proposal is summarized in 
Table V-19, along with the corresponding section of ASTM C-478-06b.
    There are three additional proposed requirements that exceed what 
is specified in a national consensus standard for steps in pre-cast 
concrete manhole sections:
     Manhole steps must be provided with slip-resistant 
surfaces such as corrugated, knurled, or dimpled surfaces; 
     Manhole steps must be designed to prevent the employee's 
foot from slipping or sliding off the end of the manhole step; and
     Manhole steps must be replaced if they are bent to such a 
degree that there is no longer 4 inches of clearance to the wall.

                                            Table V-19--Manhole Steps
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                     ASTM  C 478-
                    Provision                                     Proposed language                      06b
                                                                                                       section
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   1910.24(b)(1)............................  Manhole steps installed before (date 90 days
                                                   after the effective date of the final rule in
                                                   the Federal Register) must be capable of
                                                   supporting their maximum intended load.
Sec.   1910.24(b)(2)............................  The employer must ensure that manhole steps
                                                   installed on or after (date 90 days after the
                                                   effective rule in the Federal Register):
Sec.   1910.24(b)(2)(i).........................  Are provided with slip-resistant surfaces such
                                                   as, corrugated, knurled, or dimpled surfaces; 
Sec.   1910.24(b)(2)(ii)........................  Used in corrosive environments are constructed
                                                   of, or coated with, a material that will retard
                                                   corrosion of the step; 
Sec.   1910.24(b)(2)(iii).......................  Have a minimum clear step width of 10 inches (25        16.5.2
                                                   cm);.
Sec.   1910.24(b)(2)(iv)........................  Are spaced uniformly, not more than 16 inches           16.4.1
                                                   apart. The spacing from the entry and exit
                                                   surface to the first manhole step may be
                                                   different from the spacing between other steps; 
Sec.   1910.24(b)(2)(v).........................  Have a minimum perpendicular distance between the  \23\ 16.5.3
                                                   centerline of the manhole step to the nearest
                                                   permanent object in back of the step of at least
                                                   4.5 inches (11.4 cm); and
Sec.   1910.24(b)(2)(vi)........................  Are designed to prevent the employee's foot from
                                                   slipping or sliding off the end of the manhole
                                                   step.
Sec.   1910.24(b)(3)............................  Manhole steps must be visually inspected before
                                                   each use and be maintained in accordance with
                                                   Sec.   1910.22.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: ERG, 2007.

    ASTM C478-06b permits the use of uncoated or untreated ferrous 
steps as long as they are at least 1 inch in cross section, but is 
silent with regard to a slip-resistant surface or design. Because the 
proposed requirements appear to exceed those in a consensus standard, 
when a manhole section needs to be built or replaced, there would be 
incremental costs for slip-resistant/corrosion-resistant surfaces. 
Moreover, the proposed paragraph defines when a step has "failed" 
when still present in the manhole; thus there would also be step 
replacement costs. These costs are discussed further in the subsection 
below, COST ESTIMATION.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ ASTM C478-06b Section 16.5.3 specifies that the rung or 
cleat shall project a uniform clear distance of 4 inches minimum 
from the wall, to the embedment side of the rung. The proposed OSHA 
distance is measured from the centerline of the manhole step. Thus, 
if a step is at least an inch wide, a step that meets the ASTM 4-
inch requirement would also meet the OSHA 4.5-inch requirement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stairs and Stairways (Sec.  1910.25)
    Sec.  1910.25(a)(6). The existing standard says that for doors or 
gates that open directly onto a stairway, a platform must be provided, 
and the swing of the door must not reduce the effective width to less 
than 20 inches. In the proposed standard, platforms installed before 90 
days after the effective date of the final rule need only comply with 
the existing requirements; therefore, there are no retrofit costs. For 
platforms installed on or after 90 days after the effective date of the 
final rule, the effective width is increased to 22 inches.\24\ The 
incremental cost is that associated with adding 2 inches in clearance 
to the platform whenever the platform is replaced. This is likely to be 
a minimal increase in materials cost borne by the employer to meet the 
clearance specification. For the reasons given above under the 
subsection titled Compliance with National Consensus Standards, no 
incremental costs for meeting a consensus standard are attributable to 
the proposed OSHA standard.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \24\ The 22-inch clearance requirement for new structures 
matches ANSI A1264, Section 6.11.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sec.  1910.25(c). Existing Sec.  1910.25(b) does not permit spiral 
stairways except under special conditions. Spiral stairs would now be 
permitted under proposed Sec.  1910.25(c). An existing spiral staircase 
that does not meet the proposed requirements would need to be modified 
or replaced. However, spiral staircases are likely to be relatively 
rare given that they are exceptions to the existing rule. Thus, OSHA 
did not assign costs to proposed Sec.  1910.25(c).
    Sec.  1910.25(d). This proposed paragraph is a response from OSHA 
to an OMB-initiated, government-wide effort to reform regulation in the 
U.S. manufacturing sector. The Copper and Brass Fabricators Council 
submitted a comment indicating that OSHA required the use of fixed 
stairs when ship stairs would be safer (OMB, 2005). Proposed Sec.  
1910.25(d) addresses that comment.
    Ship stairs typically are installed with slopes of 50 degrees or 
greater; however, the existing standard for fixed stairs addressed 
stairs installed at angles between 30 and 50 degrees. Thus, ship stairs 
were not specifically addressed in the existing standard. Recently, 
OSHA has interpreted the standard in such a way that if an inspection 
found a set of ship stairs at an establishment (a violation of the 
existing standard) that
conformed to the 1990 proposed standard for subpart D, OSHA would 
consider it a de minimus violation \25\ (OSHA 2006b and 2006c). 
Therefore, the need to retrofit or replace a set of ship stairs under 
the proposed rule would be minimal; for that reason, OSHA assigned no 
costs to proposed Sec.  1910.25(d).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ See OSHA's Field Operation Manual: https://www.osha.gov/
OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-00-148.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sec.  1910.25(e). Alternating tread stairs were not specifically 
mentioned in the existing standard. A letter from OSHA to a 
manufacturer of alternating tread stairs judged the stair design to be 
safe (OSHA, 1981). Alternating tread stairs are discussed in NFPA 101, 
section 7.2.11 (NFPA, 2006). Any alternating tread stair that meets the 
requirements of NFPA 101 also meets the requirements in proposed Sec.  
1910.25(e). Thus, there are no costs assigned to this provision.
Dockboards--Bridge Plates (Sec.  1910.26)
    Sec.  1910.26(b). The proposed text for this provision reads:

    Dockboards put into service on or after [date 90 days after the 
effective date of the final rule in the Federal Register] must be 
designed, constructed, and maintained to prevent equipment from 
running off the edge.

    Sec.  1910.26(e). The proposed text for this provision reads:

    Portable dockboards must be equipped with handholds or other 
means to permit safe handling.

    The definition of a dockboard in ANSI MH30.2-2005, section 2.2, 
contains the language "as well as providing a run-off guard, or 
curb." OSHA believes that dockboards that are currently being 
manufactured conform to the ANSI standard. Therefore, the commercial 
dockboards likely come equipped with handholds, required in proposed 
Sec.  1910.26(e). Therefore, OSHA believes that any costs associated 
with this provision would be minimal.
Scaffolds and Rope Descent Systems (Sec.  1910.27)
    Sec.  1910.27(a). This proposed paragraph extends the construction 
industry requirements for scaffolds (except rope descent systems) to 
all other parts of industry. The construction industry scaffold 
standards (subpart L of 29 CFR part 1926) were updated on August 30, 
1996 (OSHA, 1996), and contain requirements for all scaffolds that are 
now regulated by the general industry standards. OSHA believes that 
many general industry employers who use scaffolds also perform work 
covered by the construction industry standards and are already familiar 
with, and in compliance with, the construction industry scaffold 
standards. Therefore, the proposed requirements resolve any 
inconsistencies and, thus, no costs are attributed to this paragraph.
    Sec.  1910.27(b)(1). Rope descent systems (also known as controlled 
descent devices) are an alternative to powered platforms. The proposed 
rule states that rope descent systems cannot be used for heights 
greater than 300 feet unless access cannot otherwise be obtained safely 
and practicably. The wording of the proposed rule is consistent with 
the industry consensus standard, ANSI/IWCA I-14.1, 2001. In other 
words, both the IWCA consensus standard and the proposed OSHA standard 
(1) prohibit the use of rope descent systems for descents exceeding 300 
feet, and (2) contain an exclusion clause-i.e., unless access cannot 
safely and practicably be obtained by other means. Because both contain 
the same exclusion clause, the OSHA requirement is no more restrictive 
than the consensus standard. Since this is a work-practice as opposed 
to an equipment specification requirement, incremental costs are 
attributable to the proposed standard to the extent that employers 
would not otherwise voluntarily comply with the IWCA standard.
    The potential cost is, at most, limited to situations where (1) the 
building is 300 feet tall or higher, and (2) there is an alternative to 
the rope descent system that is practicable and safe. ERG examined a 
database developed by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, 
and identified slightly more than 1,900 buildings that are 300 feet 
(91.7 m) tall or higher (CTBUH, 2006). More than one in every four of 
these buildings is in New York City where State law does not allow the 
use of rope descent systems (DiChacho, 2006). Therefore, according to 
ERG, a better estimate of the number of potentially affected buildings 
is 1,500 buildings nationwide (ERG, 2007). OSHA presumes that some of 
these 1,500 buildings have permanently installed power platforms for 
access to the exterior of the building, and further presumes that using 
an existing system would be less expensive than setting up a rope 
descent system.
    The final set of buildings for which proposed Sec.  1910.27(b)(1) 
could result in costs are those where a safe and practicable 
alternative to a rope descent system exists but cannot be used due to 
technical factors specific to a building's history, architecture, or 
style of operation. For example, to regularly wash the windows of a 
tall building with many sharp angles or tiered levels, management may 
have found it cost-effective to contract for the use of rope descent 
systems rather than use powered platforms. Because all companies 
bidding on the project would be making those bids under the same set of 
constraints, proposed Sec.  1910.27(b)(1) would not result in a loss in 
income to the window cleaning industry. There may be higher costs to 
the building owners but, although the cost cannot be estimated, OSHA 
considers the cost to be small given the limited number of buildings 
that potentially would be affected. OSHA requests information on the 
potential costs that building owners will incur to provide safe and 
practicable alternatives to rope descent systems.
    Sec.  1910.27(b)(2)(ii). This proposed paragraph codifies safety 
provisions presented in the 1991 memorandum to OSHA's Regional 
Administrators, which are similar to what is now contained in the 
national consensus standard, ANSI/IWCA I-14.1 (OSHA, 1991b).
    These safety provisions are:
     Training employees in the use of the equipment before it 
is used.
     Inspection of the equipment each day before use.
     Proper rigging, including sound anchorages and tiebacks, 
in all cases, with particular emphasis on providing tiebacks when 
counterweights, cornice hooks, or similar non-permanent anchorage 
systems are used.
     Use of a separate personal fall arrest system.
     All lines installed using knots, swages, or eye splices 
when rigging descent control devices shall be capable of sustaining a 
minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds.
     Provisions are made for prompt rescue of employees.
     Ropes are effectively padded where they contact edges of 
the building, anchorage, obstructions, or other surfaces that might cut 
or weaken the rope.
     Provide for stabilization at the specific work location 
when descents are greater than 130 feet.
    Some of the language in the OSHA 1991 memo has been updated for the 
proposed revision to the standard for subpart D, but most of these text 
changes (e.g., "prompt rescue" rather than "rescue" and "harness" 
rather than "body belt") are not anticipated to result in compliance 
costs. The exceptions are proposed Sec.  1910.27(b)(2)(ii) and Sec.  
1910.27(b)(2)(iv). Proposed paragraph Sec.  1910.27(b)(2)(ii) specifies 
that training must now be done in accordance with Sec.  1910.30. OSHA 
presumes that costs for any training beyond what was done as a result 
of the 1991 memorandum would be attributed to proposed Sec.  1910.30.
Those costs are discussed below. Costs associated with proposed Sec.
1910.27(b)(2)(iv) are described immediately below.
    Sec.  1910.27(b)(2)(iv). When rope descent systems are used, the 
proposal requires employers to use proper rigging, including sound 
anchorages and tiebacks with particular emphasis on providing tiebacks 
when counterweights, cornice hooks, or similar non-permanent anchorages 
are used. It is apparent that IWCA expects to find buildings without 
anchorages. A key provision of ANSI/IWCA I-14.1 is a written work plan 
(section 1.7), and the IWCA Web site recommends that the person "whose 
job it is to look at and price jobs should be the primary person to 
develop the written plan." IWCA states further, that "this is the 
time when you see things like anchor points (or lack thereof), entrance 
ways, sharp edges, and other concerns. The best part of the written 
plan is the fact that it allows the building owner or manager to work 
with you in creating a safe place to work for you and your employees." 
(IWCA, 2007b) ANSI/IWCA I-14.1, section 17 lists options for roof 
support equipment, including:
     Parapets, cornices, and building anchorages (section 
17.1).
     Davits and davit fixtures (a crane-like structure, section 
17.2).
     Sockets (section 17.3).
     Tie-backs (section 17.4).
     Counterweighted outriggers (section 17.5).
     Parapet clamps and cornice hooks (section 17.6).
     Overhead monorail tracks and trolleys (section 17.7).
    Several of these options, such as counterweighted outriggers, are 
transportable and are likely to be supplied by the contractor. Thus, 
the work plan delineates how the work is to be performed using a mix of 
contractor and property owner equipment. The voluntary standard 
provides several acceptable options for roof support equipment, and 
specifies the development of a work plan where both the contractor and 
property owner concur on how a safe job can be done at that property. 
OSHA believes that voluntary compliance with the consensus standard is 
likely to be high. Therefore, for this proposed provision, no costs 
were assigned for equipment.
    Costs do result, however, from inspections and certification for 
providing assurances that an anchorage is sound. These costs are 
discussed below in the subsection titled COST ESTIMATION.
    Sec.  1910.27(b)(2)(x). The proposed requirement to secure 
equipment is consistent with the consensus standard IWCA I-14.1-2001, 
section 3.10. Thus, no incremental costs are incurred for this proposed 
requirement.
    Sec.  1910.27(b)(2)(xi). The proposed requirement to protect 
suspension ropes from exposure to open flames, hot work, corrosive 
chemicals, or other destructive conditions is an extension of the 
requirement to protect the integrity of the ropes specified in the 1991 
OSHA memorandum. The costs for meeting this requirement are part of the 
training costs estimated in proposed Sec.  1910.30.
Duty To Have Fall Protection (Sec.  1910.28)
    The proposed regulatory text for Sec.  1910.28 is a consolidation 
of the fall protection requirements in the existing rule, with two 
major revisions. First, comments submitted in response to the reopening 
of the rule in 2003 suggested that the fall protection requirements in 
subpart D should be consistent with those in subpart M of the 
construction standard. The proposed text for Sec.  1910.28 brings 
consistency between the rules that might affect employers and employees 
in both the construction and general industry sectors. Second, the 
existing standard does not address the use of restraint systems, 
designated areas, or safety nets systems, nor is it clear as to where 
the use of personal fall protection systems is permitted. In contrast, 
the proposed standard allows employers to choose from various options 
in providing fall protection, that is, it is not as restrictive as the 
existing standard that primarily requires the use of standard railings 
(guardrails).
    Sec.  1910.28(a)(2)--General. In the proposal, the employer must 
determine that the walking-working surface has the strength and 
structural integrity to safely support employees. In interpreting this 
proposed requirement to analyze costs, OSHA believes that this 
requirement can be met by a five- to ten-minute inspection of the 
surface or review of engineering paperwork. In rare circumstances, an 
employer might need to spend 15 to 30 minutes to determine if the work 
can proceed. Costs for this proposed provision are discussed later in 
this subsection where the duty to inspect is considered as part of the 
general requirement for an employer to periodically and regularly 
inspect walking/working surfaces in proposed Sec.  1910.22(d). OSHA 
requests public comment on the expenses that employers typically would 
incur to comply with this requirement.
    Sec.  1910.28(b)(1)--Unprotected sides and edges. Under the 
proposed rule, if a walking-working surface (vertical and horizontal) 
has an unprotected side or edge that is four feet or more above a lower 
level, an employee must be protected from falling by the use of 
guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or 
the employee must work in a designated area. In the existing rule, the 
trigger height of four feet is found in:
     Sec.  1910.23(b): every wall opening; 
     Sec.  1910.23(c)(1): every open-sided floor or platform; 
and
     Sec.  1910.23(c)(2): the open sides of any runway.
    Thus, there is no change in the height requirement for fall 
protection between the existing rule and the proposed revision. OSHA 
believes that the language and organization for the proposed rule is 
less complex than that for the existing rule, and, furthermore, the 
proposed rule provides additional flexibility in the methods used for 
fall protection, and allows for exceptional conditions. For example, if 
it is not feasible to install guardrails on the working surface, 
guardrails are not required provided that access to the working surface 
is limited to authorized employees. For these reasons, OSHA did not 
assign costs to this paragraph.
    Section 1910.28(b)(2)--Hoist areas. The proposed rule states that 
fall protection must be provided in hoist areas where the potential 
fall distance is four feet or greater. OSHA intends for this revised 
text to clarify the existing requirements for hoist areas found in 
proposed Sec.  1910.23(b)(1) and Sec.  1910.23(c)(1). Therefore, no 
costs were assigned to this paragraph.
    Section 1910.28(b)(3)--Holes. The existing rule requires guarding 
for every hole and skylight floor opening. The proposed rule specifies 
that fall protection is needed when an employee might fall more than 
four feet. Thus, the new language harmonizes the proposed requirement 
for fall protection for holes with the proposed requirements for 
unprotected sides and edges, as well as hoist areas. The new language 
also permits the requirement to be met by personal fall arrest systems 
and covers, as well as guardrails. No costs are assigned to this 
paragraph.
    Section 1910.28(b)(4)--Dockboards (bridge plates). This new 
requirement for guardrails or handrails on dockboards would protect an 
employee from falls of four or more feet. There is an exception for 
cases where the dockboards are used exclusively for material handling 
operations performed with motorized equipment. In these cases, neither 
guardrails nor handrails are required if the fall hazard is 10 feet or 
less and the employee has been trained according to proposed Sec.  
1910.30.
The costs for installing handrail or guardrail systems for dockboards 
are discussed later in this subsection. OSHA assigned training costs to 
proposed Sec.  1910.30.
    Section 1910.28(b)(6)--Dangerous equipment. The existing language 
requires a standard railing and toe board for walking-working surfaces 
above dangerous equipment. The proposed rule introduces a distinction 
among required controls according to the potential fall distance. For 
potential falls of less than four feet onto or into dangerous 
equipment, the employer has the additional options of covering or 
guarding the dangerous equipment to eliminate the hazard. For potential 
falls of four feet or more, the employer has the options of guardrail 
systems, restraint systems, personal fall arrest systems, or safety net 
systems. OSHA assumes employers already have implemented controls under 
the current standard using the least-cost method; therefore, no costs 
were assigned to this paragraph.
    Section 1910.28(b)(7)--Wall openings. For wall openings, the 
proposed standard limits the need for fall protection to cases where 
the inside bottom edge of the wall opening is less than 39 inches above 
the walking-working surface. The employer has the additional options of 
a safety net system or personal fall arrest system to meet this 
proposed requirement. OSHA believes that, currently, protection of wall 
openings is widespread throughout industry. Therefore, no costs were 
assigned to this paragraph.
    Section 1910.28(b)(8)--Repair, service, and assembly pits (pits) 
less than 10 feet in depth. Pits, in general, were subsumed within the 
definition of a floor opening in the existing Sec.  1910.21(a)(2). In 
the proposed standard, pits between 4 feet and 10 feet in depth used 
for repair, service, and assembly operations need not have a fall 
protection system provided that a (minimum) 6-foot perimeter is marked 
around the pit and access to that area is limited to trained and 
authorized employees. OSHA did not assign incremental costs to this 
proposed paragraph for two reasons. First, an employer would only incur 
costs for caution signs and floor markings if they were less expensive 
than the fall protection system required under the existing regulation. 
Second, existing Sec.  1910.145 already requires an employer to post 
caution signs where needed, and existing Sec.  1910.144 describes what 
is required for marking the signs. OSHA assumed an employer has signs 
and marking materials available, so no incremental costs are assigned 
to this paragraph.
    The proposed rule for this working surface provides more than one 
method to comply with the paragraph. That is, an employee may be 
protected by a conventional fall protection system or by implementing 
specific safe work practices. Where the alternative method--the use of 
safe work practices (marking, posting, and limited access)--is less 
expensive than the method specified in the existing rule (guardrails), 
an employer might incur lower costs to comply with the paragraph. OSHA 
anticipates that some employers may encounter reduced costs (cost 
savings) through this proposed revision; however, OSHA did not quantify 
cost savings for this preliminary analysis.
    Section 1910.28(b)(9)--Fixed ladders. The existing regulatory text 
specifies cages or wells as means of providing fall protection for 
fixed ladders. In the 1990 proposal for subpart D, OSHA would have 
permitted certain fixed ladders to be climbed without the use of ladder 
safety devices, cages, or wells if qualified climbers were assigned to 
the task and certain other conditions were met. In particular, 
qualified climbers could only be used when the ladder was climbed two 
or fewer times per year, and it would be a greater hazard to the 
employee to install the fall protection system than to climb the ladder 
without fall protection (which OSHA believes rarely occurs). In the 
proposed standard issued today, the use of qualified climbers as an 
option is limited to the outdoor advertising/billboard industry (see 
discussion on proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(10)(v), below). However, in 
addition to cages and wells, the employer will have the added option of 
meeting the fall protection requirement for fixed ladders through the 
use of personal fall protection systems. OSHA believes that qualified 
climbers are not being used in these situations; therefore, no costs 
were assigned to this paragraph.
    Section 1910.28(b)(10)(i), (ii), and (iv)--Outdoor advertising 
(billboards). This new paragraph addresses fall hazards on outdoor 
advertising, also known as billboards. Under the language of the 
existing subpart D, no distinction is made for billboards. However, for 
analytical purposes, the fixed ladder portion of the billboard could be 
considered covered under the existing fixed ladder requirements. Under 
current Sec.  1910.27(d)(1), cages or wells are required for ladders 
more than 20 feet in length. Under proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(10)(i), an 
employee climbing a fixed ladder portion of a billboard up to 50 feet 
in length needs either a body belt or body harness with an appropriate 
18-inch rest lanyard to tie off to the fixed ladder. Presumably, these 
additional options, where not already deployed, would be less expensive 
than cages or wells. Any ladder safety system (i.e., a device other 
than a cage or well, see proposed Sec.  1910.21(b)) that is in current 
use must be maintained (see proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(10)(iv), a 
requirement that, according to ERG, is consistent with widespread 
industry practice (ERG, 2007). Thus, OSHA assigned no incremental 
compliance costs to these paragraphs.
    If, however, the fixed ladder portion extends beyond 50 feet, the 
entire length of the fixed ladder must have ladder safety systems (see 
proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(10)(ii). Ladder safety systems refer to any 
device other than a cage or well. Presumably, because the ladder safety 
systems are generally less expensive than cages or wells (ERG, 2007), 
ladder safety systems would have replaced cages or wells where the 
latter do not already exist or are no longer in good working order. 
Thus, using these industry retrofit activities as the baseline, no 
incremental compliance costs were assigned by OSHA to the proposed 
provision for ladder safety systems.
    Section 1910.28(b)(10)(iii) and (vi). Proposed Sec.  
1910.28(b)(10)(iii) requires the employer to follow inspection 
procedures for the safety systems. The frequency of inspection is not 
specified but ERG assumed that inspections would occur prior to each 
use. Proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(10)(vi) specifies that the employee is 
to have both hands free of tools and material while climbing up or down 
the ladder. Costs were assigned to these two paragraphs and are 
discussed later in this subsection under COST ESTIMATION.
    Sec.  1910.28(b)(10)(v). This proposed paragraph effectively 
requires employees who routinely climb fixed portions of billboard 
ladders that do not have cages or wells to be "qualified" climbers as 
specified in proposed Sec.  1910.29(h); therefore, costs for this 
paragraph are assigned to proposed Sec.  1910.29(h). Because of the 
uncertainties connected with the concept "routinely," OSHA, to 
estimate costs for this proposed requirement, conservatively assumed 
that all employees in NAICS 5418 (Advertising and Related Services) who 
use personal fall protection are trained as qualified climbers (see the 
discussion for proposed Sec.  1910.29(h) below).
    Sec.  1910.28(b)(10)(vii). Under this proposed provision, climbers 
must be protected by an appropriate fall protection system when they reach 
their work positions. The costs for these systems are already 
considered in the existing requirements for fixed ladder systems. Thus, 
no additional costs for equipment are assigned to this provision.
    Sec.  1910.28(b)(12)--Scaffolds and rope descent systems. The 
proposed standard addressing the duty to provide fall protection for 
employees on scaffolds now refers to Sec.  1926, the construction 
standards, thus avoiding any inconsistencies between the general 
industry and construction standards. The proposed revision extends the 
requirements found in the construction standards to all other 
industries. Fall protection on scaffolds in Sec.  1926 generally 
follows consensus standards; thus OSHA assigned zero costs to this 
paragraph.
    Section 1910.28(b)(13)--Walking-working surfaces not otherwise 
addressed. OSHA considers this new paragraph to be a clarification of 
the existing Sec.  1910.23(c)(3), which requires a railing and 
toeboard. The proposed language restricts the requirement to working 
surfaces 4 feet or more above a lower level and permits the employer to 
comply with the paragraph by the use of a personal fall protection 
system. Under the assumptions that employers choose the least-cost 
compliance option and that current industry practice is widespread, 
OSHA expects that there will be few if any costs associated with this 
paragraph.
    Section 1910.28(b)(14)--Protection for floor holes. This paragraph 
provides protection for stairway floor holes, ladderway floor holes, 
and hatchway and chute floor holes, and updates Sec.  1910.23(a) in 
current subpart D by incorporating the best practices found in industry 
consensus standards (notably ANSI/ASSE A1264.1-2007) and clarifying 
terminology regarding applicability of the provision (e.g., 
"infrequently"). Furthermore, proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(14) mandates 
that guardrail systems must be constructed in accordance with proposed 
Sec.  1910.29, Fall protection criteria. Because these requirements 
have been recognized throughout industry either as part of an OSHA 
standard or industry consensus standards for at least fifteen years, 
OSHA believes that the incremental cost burden will be minimal. OSHA 
requests public input on the cost impacts and benefits of the 
provisions in proposed paragraph Sec.  1910.28(b).
Fall Protection Systems Criteria and Practices (Sec.  1910.29)
    Sec.  1910.29(b)(15)--Guardrail systems. This new paragraph 
requires that manila, plastic, or synthetic rope being used for top 
rails or midrails be inspected "as frequently as necessary" to ensure 
that it meets the strength requirements. The inspection costs are 
considered below in the next subsection, Cost Estimation.
    Sec.  1910.29(c)--Safety net systems. The proposed criteria for 
these systems now refer to Sec.  1926, thus avoiding any 
inconsistencies between general industry and construction standards, 
and effectively extending the requirements found in the construction 
standards to most other industries. Given that safety net system 
requirements in Sec.  1926 follow consensus standards, OSHA anticipates 
few, if any, incremental compliance costs connected with this proposed 
requirement.
    Sec.  1910.29(h)--Qualified climbers. This proposed paragraph sets 
forth the criteria for the use of "qualified climbers" and limits the 
use of qualified climbers to employees engaged in billboard operations. 
The costs for this proposed paragraph are those to train and, as 
necessary, retrain qualified climbers. That is, OSHA assumed that 
qualified climbers require training beyond that now required for fixed 
ladders. Additional costs are incurred through the proposed requirement 
that the employer observe the performance to ensure the qualified 
climber has the skills necessary to perform the climb safely. These 
costs are discussed further in the next subsection, Cost Estimation.
    With respect to other requirements in proposed Sec.  1910.29, 
including those found in paragraphs (d) Designated areas, (e) Covers, 
and (f) Handrail and stair rail systems, OSHA believes that existing 
industry practice, which includes significant widespread compliance 
with the proposed requirements, will result in minimal incremental cost 
burden to employers. OSHA requests comment on the reasonableness of 
this assumption.
Training Requirements (Sec.  1910.30)
    This new section requires that employees in general industry be 
trained regarding fall and equipment hazards, as well as re-trained 
when necessary. OSHA assumed that an employer that trains employees in 
compliance with Sec.  1910.30 would choose to maintain records of the 
training, and the cost estimates reflect this time commitment on the 
part of the employer. The training costs estimated for proposed Sec.  
1910.30 encompass requirements from other proposed paragraphs that 
specify that the training must be done in accordance with proposed 
Sec.  1910.30 (see Table V-18 for examples). These costs are discussed 
in more detail below and are incurred only by the percentage of 
establishments that do not already provide regular safety training.
Personal Fall Protection Systems (Sec.  1910.140)
    OSHA is proposing that within subpart I of Sec.  1910, a new 
section, Sec.  1910.140, be added to address personal fall protection 
equipment. The proposed text for Sec.  1910.140 adds specific design 
and performance requirements for personal fall protection systems to 
the existing regulation. In addition, the proposed standard would 
require that the provisions for hazard assessment found in existing 
Sec.  1910.132 apply to personal fall protection systems.
    Section 1910.140(c)(18). This proposed paragraph would require that 
personal fall protection systems be inspected prior to each use. Costs 
for this requirement are discussed below in the next subsection, Cost 
Estimation.
    Section 1910.132(d). This existing provision requires an employer 
to assess the workplace to identify any potential hazards and the need 
for PPE. Costs associated with hazard assessment required by this 
proposal are discussed below under proposed Sec.  1910.140, Personal 
fall protection systems.
    Section 1910.132(f). The revision proposed for this existing 
paragraph would require that--before using personal fall protection 
systems, and after any component or system is changed--employees must 
be trained in the application limits of the equipment, proper hook-up, 
anchoring and tie-off techniques, methods of use, and proper methods of 
equipment inspection and storage. The costs for the proposed revision 
are included in the costs for proposed Sec.  1910.30, and are described 
in further detail below under COST ESTIMATION.

Cost Estimation

    This subsection presents OSHA's detailed estimates of the costs, 
provision by provision, associated with the proposed rule. These 
compliance costs represent the incremental burden incurred by employers 
beyond the current baseline of fall-related safety expenditures. OSHA 
did not attempt to estimate potential cost savings to industry from 
increased flexibility in meeting specific requirements, such as the use 
of personal fall protection systems rather than the currently mandated
hand/guardrail systems, even if some of the new alternatives might 
actually be safer than the currently mandated requirements.\26\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ The new alternatives are assumed to be at least as 
effective in employee protection as that provided by the current 
requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Estimated Compliance Costs by Provision in the Proposed Standard
    Labor costs associated with compliance with the proposed standard 
are generally characterized as additional employer and supervisor time 
for training and inspection. The number of establishments and employees 
are taken from Statistics of U.S. Businesses: 2006. The number of 
employees covered by subpart D and subpart I is based on the share of 
employees employed in building and grounds; construction; \27\ 
installation, maintenance, and repair; production; and material moving 
occupations as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational 
Employment Statistics (BLS, 2008). See subsection C above for more 
industry-profile information.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \27\ Production employees include those in building and grounds; 
construction; installation, maintenance, and repair; production; and 
material moving occupations. It is conceivable that employees in 
construction and related occupations, even though not employed by 
establishments in construction industries, might on occasion perform 
work that would be regulated by OSHA under its construction 
standards in Sec.  1926. For the purpose of estimating costs, 
however, ERG assumed that these are employees are covered by the 
general industry standard.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Employee and supervisor wages (see Table V-5) are based on data 
reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics through their Occupational 
Employment Statistics program (BLS, 2008). OSHA adjusted wages to 
include the cost of benefits; estimated benefits were based on data 
from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employer Costs for Employee 
Compensation--June 2008 (released September 2008). Current compliance 
rates are based on OSHA inspection statistics for Fiscal Year 2005 (see 
Table V-13). The percentage of businesses that already provide regular 
safety training is based on the National Occupational Exposure Survey 
conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 
(NIOSH, 1988). See Table V-20, below.

  Table V-20--Fraction of Businesses Providing Regular Safety Training
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Fraction
             NAICS                     Industry        providing regular
                                                        safety training
------------------------------------------------------------------------
11............................  Agriculture,                        .796
                                 Forestry, Fishing,
                                 and Hunting.
21............................  Mining (2111 Oil and                .751
                                 Gas Extraction).
22............................  Utilities............               .890
31-33.........................  Manufacturing........               .855
42............................  Wholesale Trade......               .668
44-45.........................  Retail Trade.........               .668
48-49.........................  Transportation.......               .890
51............................  Information..........               .664
52............................  Finance and Insurance               .664
53............................  Real Estate..........               .664
54............................  Professional,                       .664
                                 Scientific, and
                                 Technical Services.
55............................  Management...........               .664
56............................  Administrative and                  .664
                                 Support, Waste
                                 Management and
                                 Remediation Services.
61............................  Educational Services.               .83
62............................  Health Care..........               .957
71............................  Arts, Entertainment,                .664
                                 and Recreation.
72............................  Accommodation and                   .664
                                 Food Services.
81............................  Other Services.......               .664
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: ERG, 2007, based on NIOSH, 1988.

General Requirements (Sec.  1910.22)
    Although the underlying hazard of unsafe walking-working surfaces 
is addressed within various Sec.  1910 requirements, proposed Sec.  
1910.22 contains three paragraphs with new requirements:
     Sec.  1910.22(d)(1): Regular and periodic inspection of 
walking-working surfaces; 
     Sec.  1910.22(d)(2): Unsafe conditions must be guarded 
until repaired; and
     Sec.  1910.22(d)(3): Qualified person must inspect repair.
    For the purpose of estimating costs for Sec.  1910.22(d)(1), ERG 
assumed that a significant percentage of facilities include regular and 
periodic inspections of walking-working surfaces as part of the general 
obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace. ERG used the non-
compliance rates for floor-guarding (Sec.  1910.23 has the highest non-
compliance rates, see Table V-13) to estimate the number of 
establishments that need to perform regular and periodic inspections of 
walking-working surfaces. ERG assumed that a supervisor would spend 15 
minutes every quarter making the inspection for a total of 1 hour per 
year. Based on these unit costs, OSHA estimates that the total annual 
inspection cost is $15.3 million.
    For estimating the costs of proposed Sec.  1910.22(d)(2), ERG 
assumed that within a year, ten percent of affected establishments 
would identify an unsafe condition, and furthermore, that it takes an 
employee 15 minutes to set up the guard mechanism (e.g., cones, 
barriers, etc.). Incremental material costs are assumed to be 
negligible in that it is likely that most employers currently stock 
guard equipment but only occasionally deploy it. Estimated compliance 
costs for this proposed provision are $0.2 million.
    For proposed Sec.  1910.22(d)(3), ERG assumed that it takes 5 
minutes for a supervisor or qualified person to inspect the repair of 
the unsafe condition. Applying this time unit across all affected 
employers, OSHA estimates that the costs for a supervisor or qualified 
person to inspect repairs will total $0.1 million ($107,350).
    Summing costs for the three paragraphs in proposed Sec.  1910.22(d) 
with cost impacts, the total estimated cost for compliance with 
proposed Sec.  1910.22(d) is, after rounding, $15.7 million per year.
Ladders (Sec.  1910.23)
    Eight paragraphs within proposed Sec.  1910.23 would provide new 
requirements for protecting employees from slip, trip, and fall hazards 
during operations involving ladders. Table V-21 summarizes these 
proposed requirements, all of which are assumed by OSHA to be addressed 
in a single training session. In addition, OSHA anticipates that 
compliance with this proposed provision can be met by informal training 
and, thus, no administrative costs are included for an employer.
    OSHA's Web site includes a Resource Center with a loan program for 
training videos (OSHA, 2006d). The index lists ten training videos for 
ladders and stairways with times ranging from five to 19 minutes, for 
an average of 12 minutes. For the purposes of estimating costs, ERG 
applied a 15-minute training period for this cost analysis.

     Table V-21--Training Requirements Under Proposed Sec.   1920.23
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Paragraph                             Subject
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   1910.23(b)(11).....................  When ascending or descending
                                             a ladder, the user must
                                             face the ladder.
Sec.   1910.23(b)(12).....................  Each employee must use at
                                             least one hand to grasp the
                                             ladder when progressing up
                                             and down the ladder.
Sec.   1910.23(b)(13).....................  An employee must not carry
                                             any object or load that
                                             could cause the employee to
                                             lose his or her balance and
                                             fall.
Sec.   1910.23(c)(5)......................  Portable single rail ladders
                                             must be rigidly supported
                                             when used.
Sec.   1910.23(c)(6)......................  Ladders must not be moved,
                                             shifted, or extended while
                                             occupied by employees.
Sec.   1910.23(c)(10).....................  The top of a non-self-
                                             supporting ladder must be
                                             placed with the two rails
                                             supported unless it is
                                             equipped with a single
                                             support attachment. [New
                                             for wood ladders.]
Sec.   1910.23(c)(11).....................  When portable ladders are
                                             used to gain access to an
                                             upper landing surface, the
                                             ladder siderails must
                                             extend at least 3 feet (0.9
                                             m) above that upper landing
                                             surface. [New for metal
                                             ladders.]
Sec.   1910.23(c)(13).....................  Ladders and ladder sections
                                             must not be tied or
                                             fastened together to
                                             provide longer length
                                             unless they are
                                             specifically designed for
                                             such use. (New for wood
                                             ladders.)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: ERG, 2007.

    In ERG's cost model, ten employees are trained per session with one 
supervisor in attendance. ERG further assumed that $1 in materials cost 
is incurred for handouts for each employee trained.
    Some establishments already provide regular safety training. OSHA 
applied an estimate for the percentages of establishments that already 
provide training from the NIOSH National Occupational Exposure Survey 
(NOES) database (NIOSH, 1988). Although the data are over 20 years old, 
the NIOSH NOES survey is still the primary source for such information 
and covers a broad range of industries. The proportion of 
establishments that already offer regular safety training is likely to 
have increased in the past two decades; hence, the training costs may 
be overestimated.
    The cost to train all the employees at establishments that do not 
offer regular safety training is a one-time cost that is annualized 
over a 10-year period at an interest rate of seven percent. Summing 
across all affected employers, the total first-year cost is $11.2 
million, with an annualized cost of $1.6 million.
    New employees that enter the workforce would also need training. 
For the purpose of estimating the cost of the rule, ERG conservatively 
assumed that training received at a prior place of employment was not 
considered sufficient to meet the proposed subpart D requirement for 
the new employer. Based on ERG's analysis of 2003 turnover data 
collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6), OSHA 
applied 2008 BLS industry turnover rate data to the cost analysis. 
Table V-22 summarizes the data and the NAICS codes to which they are 
assigned. OSHA assigned the turnover rate for manufacturing to logging 
(NAICS 1133), oil and gas extraction (NAICS 2111), and information 
(NAICS 51). Under these assumptions, the estimated cost is $4.3 million 
per year to train new employees about ladder safety.

 Table V-22--Industry Turnover Rates Applied in OSHA's Preliminary Cost
                                Analysis
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Turnover rate
          Industry sector                NAICS codes       \a\ (percent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Manufacturing.....................  1133, 2111, 31-33,              24.3
                                     51.
Transportation and Public           22, 48-49...........            31.5
 Utilities.
Wholesale Trade...................  42..................            26.1
Retail Trade......................  44-45...............            47.1
Finance, Insurance, and Real        52-53...............            27.2
 Estate.
Service...........................  54-81...............            47.2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ Hires as a percent of total employment.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Evaluation and
  Analysis, Office of Regulatory Analysis, based on ERG, 2007, and
  Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey,
  2008.

    To estimate the costs for ensuring that mobile ladder stands and 
mobile ladder stand platforms conform with the applicable ANSI 
standards (see the note to proposed Sec.  1910.23(e)), OSHA's cost 
formula, adopted from ERG's analysis (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6), includes the 
6.74 million establishments covered in subpart D, as presented in the 
industry profile earlier in this PEA. ERG assumed that a typical 
lifetime for a ladder is five years; thus, one-fifth of the
establishments would purchase a ladder in any given year. Furthermore, 
ERG assumed that a supervisor from each establishment would take 5 
minutes to read ladder specifications to ensure the ladder about to be 
purchased meets all ANSI 14 requirements for that type ladder. With 
these assumptions, the estimated annual cost for proposed Sec.  
1910.23(e) is $3.8 million.
Step Bolts and Manhole Steps (Sec.  1910.24)
    Step bolts. ERG identified three general cost categories for the 
requirements addressing step bolts and pole steps:
     Utility poles.
     Communication structures.
     Sports and performance arenas with pole-mounted lights.
    Utility poles. According to the 2007 Utility Data Institute 
Directory of Electric Power Producers and Distributors, there are 
6,297,596 distribution line miles across the United States (Platts, 
2007). Of these, the proposed OSHA rule would concern the overhead (as 
opposed to underground) line miles. According to ERG, the most recent 
estimate available for the overhead distribution system is 4.1 million 
line miles in 1996, about two-thirds of total line miles (NCAMP, 1997). 
Considering the maturity of the electric power industry in the United 
States, ERG assumed that there has not been a significant amount of new 
line miles built in the past decade, and of the new lines miles, there 
probably has been a trend to build the lines underground. Assuming one 
utility pole every 100 feet, ERG estimated that there are 216,480,000 
utility poles across the United States. According to a recent highway 
safety study, this estimate is 2.5 times the number of reported utility 
poles on highways in 1999, and therefore this estimate appears to be 
reasonable (NCHRP, 2004). Assuming 1 percent of the poles are climbed 
each year and 1 minute is taken for inspection of the step bolts, the 
estimated annual cost is $1.5 million.
    Communication structures. ERG estimates that there are roughly 
190,000 fixed ladder structures in the communications industry (see 
ERG, 2007, Appendix A, Ex. 6). This estimate encompasses communication 
structures with fixed ladders and step bolts. Fixed ladders, however, 
have an existing requirement for inspection while step bolts do not. To 
narrow the estimate to fixed ladders with step bolts, ERG searched an 
FCC database (Antenna Structure Registration (ASR)) and determined that 
most communication structures meet at least one of the following 
criteria:
     Height is 200 feet or greater.
     Height <199 feet if within 5 miles of an airport and fails 
the glide calculation (part 17 requirement).
     Height of the extension (e.g., beyond the building roof) 
is 20 feet or more.
    ERG assumed that these structures are more likely to have fixed 
ladders rather than step bolts. As of May 2007, there were 
approximately 93,000 structures in the ASR database. Communication 
structures that are not in the ASR database are smaller and, thus, more 
likely to have step bolts. ERG assumed that the difference between the 
total number of structures (190,000) and the number in the ASR database 
(93,000) would represent the number of structures that could 
potentially have step bolts. ERG assumed that the 97,000 structures 
with step bolts are climbed once a year and that one minute is spent 
inspecting the structure before it is climbed. These unit estimates 
resulted in an annual cost of $0.050 million for NAICS 51 
(Information).
    Sports and performance arenas. According to a recent census, there 
are 1,699 promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events with 
facilities (Census, 2002). ERG was unable to estimate the number of 
step bolts at each facility, but assuming that one hour per year is 
dedicated to inspecting all step bolts at each facility, ERG calculated 
that annual costs would total $0.034 million for NAICS 7113 (promoters 
of performing arts, sports, and similar events with facilities).
    Summing costs for utility poles, communication structures, and 
sports and performance arenas, OSHA estimated that the total annual 
inspection cost for step bolts would be $1.54 million. OSHA requests 
comment on the extent to which visual inspection of step bolts is 
currently conducted in the telecommunications and electric utility 
industries, and in sports and performance arenas. OSHA, in addition, 
requests comment on the assumptions underlying its analysis of costs, 
as well as information on the potential impacts of the proposed 
revision to the requirements to safely climb surfaces with step bolts.
    Manhole steps. ERG estimates there are between 6.6 and 13.2 million 
manholes, with a mid-point estimate of 9.9 million manholes (ERG, 2007, 
Ex. 6). Of these manholes, approximately 85 percent, or 8.4 million 
manholes, are 20 feet or less in depth and, therefore, the majority 
would use steps or portable ladders instead of fixed ladders. By way of 
simplification, ERG assumed that 10 percent of all manholes 20 feet or 
less would be entered once a year, on average, and that it would take 
one minute to inspect the steps prior to entering the manhole. These 
assumptions resulted in an annual cost of $2.1 million for the industry 
that would be primarily affected, NAICS 2213 (water, sewage, and other 
systems).
    Other industries also use manholes for access, such as the electric 
power generation, transmission, and distribution (NAICS 2211) and 
natural gas distribution (NAICS 2212). ERG, however, had no data on the 
number of manholes for those industry groups, but OSHA presumes that 
the costs would be proportional to the number of manholes that are 
estimated for water and sewage systems. OSHA was not able to estimate 
costs for NAICS 2211 and 2212, and, therefore, requests public comment 
on the impact of the requirement for inspecting manhole steps on these 
and any other affected industries.
    The incremental costs for the provision of slip-resistant and 
corrosion-resistant manhole step surfaces would be incurred in the 
future as manholes with steps are replaced at the end of their useful 
life. As described above, there are 9.9 million manholes, of which 85 
percent are 20 feet or less in depth and 15 percent are more than 20 
feet in depth. The manholes less than 20 feet are assumed to have a 
uniform distribution in the use of portable ladders, fixed ladders, and 
steps, resulting in 2.9 million manholes with steps. The manholes 20 
feet or more in depth are assumed to have a uniform distribution 
between fixed ladders and steps, resulting in 0.7 million manholes with 
steps. Therefore, 3.6 million manholes are considered as the universe 
affected by the proposed requirement. The most expensive step found has 
a per-unit cost of $8.50, and it is assumed that this includes a 10 
percent premium to ensure the steps meet the proposed requirements 
(ERG, 2007, Ex. 6).
    OSHA estimated annual step replacement costs by assuming that 10 
percent of the manholes are entered each year, and of those 10 percent 
have a failed rung. At the incremental cost of $0.85 each (10 percent 
of $8.50 per rung), the estimated annual step replacement cost is $0.03 
million. Annual manhole replacement costs are estimated assuming 5 
percent of manholes need to be replaced a year and that steps are 
installed every 16 inches. The estimated annual manhole replacement 
cost is $1.7 million.
Scaffolds and Rope Descent Systems (Sec.  1910.27)
    Training. Cost for any training beyond what is done as a result of 
the 1991 OSHA memorandum on descent control devices are attributed to 
proposed Sec.  1910.30 (see below).
    Sound anchorages. To provide assurances that an anchorage is sound, 
assigned costs involved: (1) A qualified/competent person who would 
inspect the rigging and anchorages on buildings annually, and (2) a 
professional engineer who would certify the soundness of the rigging 
and anchorages every 10 years.
    According to an industry expert contacted by ERG, an estimated 3.0 
million window-cleaning descents take place annually at 750,000 
buildings (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6). Using data collected by the Department of 
Energy (DOE) for surveys on energy use, ERG compared this estimate with 
the number of commercial and residential buildings with four or more 
floors. The 2003 Commercials Buildings Energy Consumption Survey 
identified about 140,000 commercial buildings nationwide (DOE, 2006). 
The 2001 Residential Energy Consumption Survey identified about 2.4 
million apartment buildings with 5 to 10 floors, 0.9 million apartment 
buildings with 11 to 20 floors, and an unspecified number of buildings 
with more than 20 floors (DOE, 2004). Summing the three categories of 
residential buildings, ERG estimated that there are approximately 3.3 
million residential buildings with at least 5 or more floors.
    If it is assumed that each commercial building has its windows 
cleaned annually, that would account for 140,000 of the estimated 
750,000 cleanings per year. If the remaining 610,000 cleanings are 
distributed over the 3.3 million residential buildings, each building 
would, on average, have its windows cleaned every five to six years.
    ERG's industry expert estimated that a minimum of 20 percent of the 
building owners comply with the inspection standard and that the number 
is increasing. However, comments submitted to the Agency in response to 
the 2003 reopening presented a wide range of perspectives on the 
likelihood that building owners inspect their anchorages on a periodic 
basis. Amodeo (2003) noted that some clients view ANSI I-14.1 as 
voluntary and resist having inspections. Kreidenweis (2003) commented 
that few buildings are inspected by an engineer. In contrast, Lebel 
(2003) shared the view that many buildings have a roof plan and 
identified anchorages certified by a professional engineer. Zeolla 
(2003) stated that most buildings that have invested in anchors are 
performing the inspections.
    If, as estimated by ERG, 75 percent of the approximately 750,000 
buildings that are cleaned each year will be affected by the change 
from a voluntary requirement to a mandatory requirement, then OSHA 
estimates that 562,500 buildings would require annual inspections and 
decennial certifications. ERG further assumed that the annual 
inspections would be performed by a production supervisor ($29.73/hour) 
and that it would take one hour to perform the inspection. Annual costs 
for the building inspections would total $16.7 million.
    Table V-23 summarizes the range in costs for a professional 
engineer to certify building anchorages; cost estimates were drawn from 
comments in the record. The estimates are adjusted to 2003 dollars 
using as the deflator the Consumer Price Index--All Urban Consumers 
(BLS, 2007). The costs range from a low of $175 to a high of $2,500, 
and probably represent the range in the size of buildings, complexity 
of anchorage arrangements, and regional standards. The median value is 
$1,000.

                     Table V-23--Estimated Cost for the Certification of Building Anchorages
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    Estimated cost          Estimated cost (2003
                                                          ---------------------------------       dollars)
                          Source                                                           ---------------------
                                                              Low        High       Year       Low        High
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bright, 2007.............................................       $300     $1,500       2006       $274     $1,369
Kreidenweis, 2003........................................      1,000      2,500       2003      1,000      2,500
Lebel, 2003..............................................        175      1,000       2003        175      1,000
Wright, 2003.............................................        400  .........       2003        400  .........
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: ERG, 2007.

    Assuming, as indicated earlier, that building anchorages would be 
certified every ten years, OSHA estimates that 56,250 buildings (one-
tenth of 562,500 buildings certified annually) would need anchorage 
certification every year. At an average cost of $1,000 for 
certification, annual costs for anchorage certification would total 
$56.3 million.
    Summing costs for inspecting and certifying building anchorages, 
OSHA estimates that annual costs for ensuring that building anchorages 
are sound, as required by proposed Sec.  1910.27(b)(2)(iv), would total 
$73.0 million.
Duty To Have Fall Protection (Sec.  1910.28)
    Table V-24 lists the requirements in this proposed section that are 
likely to create new cost burdens on employers. The following 
discussion presents, by requirement, the details of OSHA's cost 
analysis for this section.
    General protection. Proposed Sec.  1910.28(a)(2) covers all 
walking-working surfaces and specifies that walking-working surfaces 
must have the strength and structural integrity to support employees 
safely. As discussed earlier in this cost subsection, the proposed 
general requirements (Sec.  1910.22) provide for the periodic and 
regular inspection of walking-working surfaces by employers to ensure 
that the surfaces are in a safe condition for employees to use. 
Proposed Sec.  1910.28(a)(2) provides further detail as to what should 
be considered in the inspection of surfaces. Thus, OSHA believes that 
the costs for the inspections required by proposed Sec.  1910.28(a)(2), 
are included in the costs estimated for general inspection in proposed 
Sec.  1910.22(d), described earlier.
    Dockboards (bridge plates). Proposed Sec.  1920.28(b)(4) would 
require that guardrails or handrails be installed to protect employees 
on dockboards from falls of four feet or more to a lower level. 
Employers with dockboards having maximum heights that are less than 
four feet would not incur costs under this paragraph. Dockboards 
presenting a fall hazard of four feet up to ten feet are exempted from 
the hand/guardrail requirement if the ramp is used exclusively for 
material handling operations with motorized equipment. To qualify for 
the exception, employees need to be trained.
Training costs for this provision are discussed later in this section.

    Table V-24--New Requirements in Sec.   1910.28, Duty To Have Fall
                               Protection
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Paragraph                             Subject
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   1910.28(a)(2)..............  Employer must ensure that walking-
                                     working surfaces have the strength
                                     and structural integrity to safely
                                     support employees.
Sec.   1910.28(b)(4)(i)...........  Installation of guardrails and
                                     handrails on dockboards (bridge
                                     plates).
Sec.   1910.28(b)(4)(ii)..........  Fall protection training required
                                     for dockboards, in accordance with
                                     Sec.   1910.30, including proper
                                     placement and securing of
                                     dockboards, securing of vehicles,
                                     and proper use of material handling
                                     equipment.
Sec.   1910.28(b)(10)(iii)........  Inspection of safety systems on
                                     fixed ladders used in outdoor
                                     advertising.
Sec.   1910.28(b)(10)(v) and (vi).  Employees that routinely climb the
                                     fixed ladder portions of a
                                     billboard must be a "qualified
                                     climber" and must have both hands
                                     free of tools or material when
                                     ascending or descending a ladder.
                                     Costs associated with this training
                                     are assigned to proposed Sec.
                                     1910.29(h).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Office of Regulatory Analysis, 2007.

    ERG judged that a substantial proportion of dockboards would either 
not incur costs due to height or be able to use the exception. Thus, 
OSHA anticipates that any costs incurred under this provision are 
unlikely to be substantial. OSHA requests comment on the potential 
impacts associated with the duty to protect employees on dockboards 
from falls.
    Outdoor advertising. Based on discussions with the Outdoor 
Advertising Association of America, ERG estimated that the number of 
billboards with fixed ladders over 20 feet is approximately 20,500 
(ERG, 2007, Ex. 6). Billboards are climbed anywhere from one to more 
than 12 times a year, whenever the copy is changed. For the purpose of 
estimating costs, ERG assumes that billboards are climbed an average of 
six times a year, totaling 123,000 climbs (20,500 billboards x 6 
climbs). Each time a billboard is to be climbed, the employee takes two 
minutes to inspect the ladder safety system (246,000 minutes or 4,100 
hours). Employees who climb billboards are generally found in NAICS 
5418 (Advertising and Related Services). In 2008, the average wage 
including benefits for this category was $21.39/hr. Thus, the estimated 
cost to comply with the provision for inspection of ladder safety 
systems on billboards will total approximately $88,000 per year.
    As specified in proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(10)(v) and (vi), 
employees that routinely climb the fixed ladder portions of a billboard 
must satisfy the criteria for "qualified climbers" found in proposed 
Sec.  1910.29(h), must undergo training and demonstrate the capacity to 
perform the necessary climbs safely, and must have both hands free of 
tools or material when ascending or descending a ladder. For the 
purpose of estimating costs, ERG assumed that all employees who climb 
billboards are "qualified climbers" and that the training for a 
qualified climber includes the instruction to have both hands free 
while ascending or descending the ladder (see proposed Sec.  
1910.29(h)(2)). For this preliminary cost analysis, OSHA assigned the 
costs to train a qualified climber under proposed paragraphs Sec.  
1910.28(b)(10)(v) to Sec.  1910.29(h).
Fall Protection Systems Criteria and Practices (Sec.  1910.29)
    For proposed Sec.  1910.29, two requirements are expected to impose 
significant new burdens on employers. Below are details of OSHA's 
approach to estimating costs for this section of the proposed standard.
    Inspection of manila, plastic, and synthetic rope. The proposed 
regulatory text for Sec.  1910.29(b)(15), requiring the inspection of 
manila, plastic, or synthetic rope being used as rails, specifies that 
the inspections must be done as frequently as necessary to ensure the 
strength requirement is met. The estimated inspection cost, then, would 
be the product of the:
     Number of guardrail systems; 
     Proportion that use manila, plastic, or synthetic rope 
used as toprails or midrails; 
     Number of inspections per year; 
     Time required for each inspection (hours); and
     Average wage per inspector per industry ($/hr.).
    At this time, OSHA lacks data on the proportion of guardrail 
systems that use manila, plastic, or synthetic rope as top rails or 
midrails. However, OSHA considers it likely that the inspection of 
these alternate materials for toprails and siderails would form part of 
the inspections performed under proposed Sec.  1910.22, the general 
inspection of walking-working surfaces for safety. That is, proposed 
Sec.  1910.29(b)(15) provides a detail to be included in the inspection 
for those workplaces that use manila, plastic, or synthetic rope as top 
rails or midrails. Therefore, OSHA allocated no additional costs to 
this provision.
    Qualified climbers. Proposed paragraph Sec.  1910.29(h) concerns 
the outdoor advertising/billboard industry. "Qualified climbers" are 
an option open only to this industry. Qualified climbers must:
     Have climbing duties as one of their routine work 
activities (proposed Sec.  1910.29(h)(4)); 
     Be physically capable of performing the climbing duties 
(proposed Sec.  1910.29(h)(1)); 
     Undergo training or an apprenticeship program (proposed 
Sec.  1910.30(h)(2)); and
     Be retrained as necessary (proposed Sec.  1910.30(h)(2)).
    Employers are required to ensure that a qualified climber has the 
skill to safely perform the climb by using (1) performance observations 
throughout the training, and either formal classroom or on-the-job 
training; or (2) performance observations once the climber has had 
formal classroom training, or ensuring the skill of the qualified 
climber through on-the-job training. In the second option, the employer 
does not need to personally observe the climber. In ERG's cost model, a 
combination of employer performance observation and classroom 
training--as found in the first option--contributes to the proper 
preparation of employees.
    For the purposes of estimating costs, ERG assumed that 90 percent 
of the employees in the outdoor advertising industry who climb have 
been trained as qualified climbers. Thus, there would be one-time costs 
associated with qualifying the remaining ten percent of climbers. These 
costs are annualized over ten years at a rate of seven percent. In 
addition, the industry incurs annual costs for:
     Employer performance observation; 
     Training of new employees; 
     Retraining of employees as necessary; and
     Administrative costs to document training and re-training.
    For the purpose of estimating one-time costs, ERG estimated that 
ten percent of the total number of employees who perform construction, 
installation, maintenance, and repair operations in NAICS 5418 
(advertising and related services) (or 713 out of 7,132 employees) 
would need to undergo training to be qualified climbers.
    The National Association of Tower Erectors has developed a climber 
training standard with varying levels of expertise (authorized, 
competent, and competent rescuer), but does not offer training itself 
(NATE, 2006). The OSHA Web site lists a 4-day training session in fall 
arrest systems for $750. Commercial courses in fall protection searched 
on the Web range from one to five days with costs ranging from $500 to 
$2,500 per course (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6). The prices include materials and 
the trainer's time. For the purposes of estimating costs, ERG assumed 
that the requirements in the proposed standard could be met by a 4-day 
training course, at a cost of $1,500 plus the employee's time ($684, 
based on an average wage of $21.39/hr and 32 hours), for a total of 
$2,184. Furthermore, administrative tasks to document the training are 
assumed to be 15 minutes of a supervisor's time for every ten employees 
trained. In all, OSHA estimates that the one-time cost to qualify the 
estimated 713 climbers would be $1.56 million, and the annualized cost 
is $0.22 million per year.\28\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \28\ Employers may offer on-the-job training and would 
presumably do so if the costs are less than that for commercial 
training. Thus, the estimated costs presented here may be 
conservatively high.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For the purposes of estimating the annual costs associated with 
this proposed paragraph, ERG applied the following unit estimates and 
assumptions:
     A supervisor observes each of the estimated 7,132 
qualified climbers for 15 minutes per quarter or 1 hour per qualified 
climber per year; 
     A supervisor spends 15 minutes per year per qualified 
climber on administrative tasks for training and re-training; 
     Ten percent of the climbers need re-training; 
     Retraining consists of an 8-hour refresher course at a 
cost of $500; and
     The turnover rate is 47 percent.
    Based on ERG's analysis (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6), OSHA estimates that the 
annual cost would be $8.2 million, of which $7.4 million is due to the 
need to train new hires.\29\ OSHA requests comment on the assumptions 
and unit cost estimates applied to its analysis of costs for qualified 
climber training.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \29\ OSHA presumes that a qualified climber could not bring his 
or her accreditation if he or she changes companies.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Training Requirements (Sec.  1910.30)
    Fall hazards and equipment hazards. Proposed Sec.  1910.30(a) 
addresses training with respect to fall hazards. The training must be:
     Conducted by a qualified person; 
     Include the nature of fall hazards in the workplace; 
     Include the correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, 
disassembling, and inspecting the fall protection system used; and
     Include the use and operation of guardrail systems, 
personal fall protection systems, safety net systems, warning lines 
used in designated areas, and other (unspecified) protection to be 
used.
    Proposed Sec.  1910.30(b) addresses training with respect to 
equipment hazards. In particular, employees must be trained in the 
proper:
     Care, use, and inspection of equipment covered by subpart 
D before their use in accordance with recognized industry practices and 
manufacturers' recommendations; 
     Placement and securing of dockboards to prevent 
unintentional movement; and
     Rigging and safe use of rope descent systems.
    The costs for the training allocated under proposed Sec.  
1910.27(b)(2)(ii) (rope descent systems) and Sec.  1910.28(b)(4) (duty 
to have fall protection: dockboards) are included in the cost estimate 
for proposed Sec.  1910.30.
    In a previous analysis, ERG estimated the number and percent of 
employees by industry that use personal protective equipment such as 
body belts and/or body harnesses (ERG, 1999, Ex. OSHA-S042-2006-0667-
0318). ERG then applied these industry-specific percentages to the 
number of at-risk employees in 2008 to estimate the number of employees 
that need the type of training required under proposed Sec.  1910.30.
    Some companies already provide this training. ERG used data from 
the NOES survey to estimate, by NAICS code, the level of training that 
is already provided at the baseline.
    For the purpose of estimating costs, ERG assumed that all employees 
that have not already been trained and use personal fall protection 
systems would undergo six hours of training on fall hazards and 
equipment hazards to address the requirements in proposed Sec. Sec.  
1910.30(a) and 1910.30(b)(1).
    Employees in the utility, sewage, and communications industry 
sectors (NAICS 2211-2213 and 5121-5191) are assumed to undergo an 
additional half-day of training to specifically address the proposed 
requirements for step bolts (thus, a total of 10 hours of training). 
Similarly, employees in NAICS codes 4881 through 4884 (support 
activities for transportation by air, rail, water, and road, 
respectively) are assumed to undergo a half-day of training 
specifically to address requirements for dockboards. Window washers, 
found in NAICS 5617 (services to buildings and dwellings), are assumed 
to have an entire day devoted to training on rope descent systems 
(thus, a total of 14 hours of training).
    As specified in the proposed standard, training would be provided 
by a qualified person. For the purpose of estimating costs, ERG assumed 
that the trainer conducts the training at the workplace, for a fee of 
$500 per day. The training fee includes instruction, travel, lodging, 
and per diem expenses, as well as hand-out materials. This fee is 
incurred per every 10 employees (i.e., class size is limited to 10 
people). A supervisor is assumed to spend 15 minutes per employee per 
year in administrative costs to maintain and update training records.
    The estimated total one-time cost for proposed Sec.  1910.30(a) and 
(b) is $81.5 million. This cost is annualized over ten years at an 
interest rate of seven percent. The annualized cost is $11.6 million. 
There is also an annual cost due to the need to train new employees. 
The BLS turnover rates are applied to estimate the annual number of new 
employees that need training. The estimated annual cost is $28.1 
million.
    Retraining. Proposed Sec.  1910.30(c) concerns the need to retrain 
employees whenever the employer has reason to believe that retraining 
is required for safety purposes. This need can occur through such 
circumstances as changes in the workplace, fall protection systems, or 
fall protection equipment that render previous training invalid; or the 
discovery that employee knowledge or use of fall protection systems or 
equipment is no longer adequate. ERG assumed that retraining already 
occurs at establishments that have training programs in place. For the 
remaining employees, ERG assumed that five percent require retraining 
in any given year. The retraining course is assumed to be a 1-hour 
supervisor-led refresher course that focuses on the areas in
which the employee is deficient. Estimated costs for retraining would 
total $4.4 million.
Subpart I[horbar]Personal Protective Equipment
    PPE inspection. Proposed Sec.  1910.140(c)(18) would require that 
personal fall protection systems be inspected before each use for 
mildew, wear, damage, and other deterioration and that defective 
components be removed from service. For the purposes of estimating 
costs, ERG assumed that each employee who wears a personal fall 
protection system does so at the beginning of every work week, the 
employee works 50 weeks per year, and the inspection takes about one 
minute. The associated inspection cost is approximately $7.3 million 
per year.
    Hazard assessment. Proposed Sec.  1910.132(d) requires an employer 
to assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present or are 
likely to be present. ERG assumed that the amount of time needed by an 
employer to walk around the establishment, assess the potential hazard, 
and determine the appropriate PPE and training needed by the employees 
would vary with the size of the establishment. ERG used the number of 
employees as an indicator of establishment size. The time required for 
the hazard assessment was estimated as:
     1 to 19 employees: 1 hour.
     20 to 99 employees: 2 hours.
     100 to 499 employees: 3 hours.
     500+ employees: 4 hours.
    Furthermore, ERG assumed that:
     All establishments in the forestry, oil and gas, utility, 
manufacturing, and transportation sectors (NAICS 1131 through 3399 and 
4811 through 4931) would undertake a hazard assessment because of 
perceived risks; 
     Half the establishments in wholesale and retail sales 
(NAICS 4231 through 4543) would undertake a hazard assessment; and
     One-quarter of the establishments in the service 
industries (NAICS 5111 through 8139) would undertake a hazard 
assessment.
    This analysis results in a one-time cost of $79.0 million which can 
also be expressed as an annualized cost of $11.3 million.
    PPE training. Proposed Sec.  1910.132(f) requires that employees be 
trained prior to using PPE in the workplace. The costs for this 
paragraph are included in the costs for proposed Sec.  1910.30, 
described earlier.

Cost Summary

    Tables V-25 through V-27 summarize the costs by industry for each 
paragraph in the proposed standard. Table V-25 lists the first-year 
costs. These costs are incurred once to bring the employee population 
into compliance with the new requirements. For the purpose of 
evaluating impacts, these one-time costs are annualized over a 10-year 
period at an interest rate of 7 percent. Total first-year costs are 
$173.3 million; annualized, the costs for the first year total $24.7 
million.
    Table V-26 lists the recurring costs, such as inspections and 
training new employees. These costs are incurred annually and are 
estimated at $148.5 million. Table V-27 lists the annual costs to 
industry, that is, the sum of the recurring costs and the annualized 
one-time costs. The cost to industry is estimated at $173.2 million.
    Listing annualized costs in descending order by section of the 
rule, OSHA projects that the most costly provisions are associated with 
scaffolds ($73.0 million), training programs ($44.1 million), and fall 
protection equipment criteria ($18.5 million). For scaffolds, proposed 
Sec.  1910.27(b)(2)(iv) requires that employers use proper rigging, 
including sound anchorages and tiebacks. As described earlier in this 
cost analysis, OSHA interpreted this provision as implying that 
periodic inspections and certifications of building anchorages would be 
scheduled to ensure compliance.
    Because of the inherent risk involved with cleaning windows of 
office buildings and other tall structures while suspended on scaffolds 
or other devices (see Table V-6 for the number of reported fatalities 
in NAICS 561, Administrative and Support Services), the issue of proper 
safety during window cleaning was raised by OSHA in the 2003 notice 
that reopened the rulemaking record. In this notice, OSHA requested 
comment on the hazards associated with window cleaning and the safe 
practices that have been recommended and implemented through the use of 
rope decent systems (controlled descent devices) (68 FR 23534). OSHA's 
analysis of the costs of ensuring sound anchorages and rigging, 
described above and in the ERG report (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6), is based upon 
the experiences and observations of the industry representatives who 
responded to OSHA's request for comment in 2003. In this current 
rulemaking, OSHA requests that interested parties review the details of 
OSHA's analysis of costs for scaffolds in this PEA and submit comments 
into the record.

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TABLE V-25
First Year Costs for the Propsed Standard on Walking-Working Surfaces by Paragraph and Industry

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G. Economic Impacts
Introduction
    OSHA has determined that the costs of complying with the 
requirements of the proposed revisions to subparts D and I will not 
impose adverse economic impacts on employers in the industries affected 
by the rule. The costs imposed by the standard are modest, and the 
increased safety and reduction in injuries and fatalities associated 
with the standard will ultimately reduce employers' direct and indirect 
costs. This preliminary analysis of economic impacts is based on 
industry data described above in section C, Profile of Affected 
Industries, Firms, and Workers, the cost analysis presented in section 
E, Costs of Compliance, and analysis by OSHA's contractor, ERG (ERG, 
2007, Ex. 6).
    OSHA's preliminary impacts are summarized in Table V-28 for the 
two-digit NAICS industry groups affected by the proposed standard. 
"Minimum" and "Maximum" refer to the lowest and highest costs among 
the four-digit NAICS industries categorized within the two-digit group. 
The following section discusses OSHA's methodology for assessing the 
significance of the impacts at the aggregate level presented in Table 
V-29 and at levels of greater industry detail.
Economic Screening Analysis
    To determine whether the proposed rule's projected costs of 
compliance would raise issues of economic feasibility for employers in 
affected industries, i.e., would adversely alter the competitive 
structure of the industry, OSHA first compared compliance costs to 
industry revenues and profits. OSHA then examined specific factors 
affecting individual industries where compliance costs represent a 
significant share of revenue, or where the record contains other 
evidence that the standard could have significant impact on the 
competitive structure of the industry.
    As noted, OSHA examined the potential impacts of the proposed 
standards rule two ways--as a percentage of revenues and as a 
percentage of profits. The estimated average receipts and profits by 
establishment and industry are presented in the Table V-29. Applying 
the methodology employed by ERG (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6), OSHA estimated 2006 
receipts based on 2002 receipts and payroll data from U.S. Census 
Bureau, Statistics of U.S. Businesses, 2002, and payroll data from U.S. 
Census Bureau, Statistics of U.S. Businesses, 2006. For that 
calculation, OSHA assumed that the ratio of receipts to payroll 
remained unchanged between 2002 and 2006. OSHA estimated profits from 
ratios of net income to total receipts as reported for 2000-2006 
(seven-year average) by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Corporation 
Source Book. Profit data were not available at disaggregated levels for 
all industries; therefore, profit rates at more highly aggregated 
levels were used for such industries.

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TABLE V-28
Summary of Cost Impacts Associated with OSHA's Proposed Revisions to the Standards for Supparts D and I 

TABLE V-29
Average Sost impacts on Establishments Affected by OSHA's Proposed Revision to Subparts D and I 
(per Established by 4-Digist NAICS Code)

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    OSHA compared the baseline financial data with total annualized 
incremental costs of compliance by computing compliance costs as a 
percentage of revenues and profits. This impact assessment for all 
firms, presented in Tables V-28 and V-29, is considered a screening 
analysis and is the first step in OSHA's analysis of whether the 
compliance costs potentially associated with the proposed standard 
would lead to significant impacts on establishments in the affected 
industries. The actual impact of the proposed standard on the viability 
of establishments in a given industry, in a static world, depends, to a 
significant degree, on the price elasticity of demand for the services 
sold by establishments in that industry.
    Price elasticity refers to the relationship between the price 
charged for a service and the demand for that service; that is, the 
more elastic the relationship, the less able is an establishment to 
pass the costs of compliance through to its customers in the form of a 
price increase and the more it will have to absorb the costs of 
compliance from its profits. When demand is inelastic, establishments 
can recover most of the costs of compliance by raising the prices they 
charge for that service; under this scenario, profit rates are largely 
unchanged and the industry remains largely unaffected. Any impacts are 
primarily on those using the relevant services. On the other hand, when 
demand is elastic, establishments cannot recover all the costs simply 
by passing the cost increase through in the form of a price increase; 
instead, they must absorb some of the increase from their profits. 
Commonly, this will mean both reductions in the quantity of goods and 
services produced and in total profits, though the profit rate may 
remain unchanged. In general, "when an industry is subject to a higher 
cost, it does not simply swallow it, it raises its price and reduces 
its output, and in this way shifts a part of the cost to its consumers 
and a part to its suppliers," in the words of the court in American 
Dental Association v. Secretary of Labor (984 F.2d 823, 829 (7th Cir. 
1993)).
    The court's summary is in accordance with micro-economic theory. In 
the long run, firms can only remain in business if their profits are 
adequate to provide a return on investment that assures that investment 
in the industry will continue. Over time, because of rising real 
incomes and productivity, firms in most industries are able to assure 
an adequate profit. As technology and costs change, however, the long-
run demand for some products increases and the long-run demand for 
other products decreases. In the face of rising external costs, firms 
that otherwise have a profitable line of business may have to increase 
prices to stay viable. Commonly, increases in prices result in reduced 
demand, but rarely eliminate all demand for the product. Whether this 
decrease in the total production of the product results in smaller 
production for each establishment within the industry, or the closure 
of some plants within the industry, or a combination of the two, is 
dependent on the cost and profit structure of individual firms within 
the industry.
    If demand is completely inelastic (i.e., price elasticity is 0), 
then the impact of compliance costs that are 1 percent of revenues for 
each firm in the industry would result in a 1 percent increase in the 
price of the product or service, with no decline in quantity demanded. 
Such a situation represents an extreme case, but might be correct in 
situations in which there are few if any substitutes for the product or 
service in question, or if the products or services of the affected 
sector account for only a small portion of the income of its consumers.
    If the demand is perfectly elastic (i.e., the price elasticity is 
infinitely large), then no increase in price is possible and before-tax 
profits would be reduced by an amount equal to the costs of compliance 
(minus any savings resulting from improved employee health and/or 
reduced insurance costs) if the industry attempted to keep producing 
the same amount of goods and services as previously. Under this 
scenario, if the costs of compliance are such a large percentage of 
profits that some or all plants in the industry can no longer invest in 
the industry with hope of an adequate return on investment, then some 
or all of the firms in the industry will close. This scenario is highly 
unlikely to occur, however, because it can only arise when there are 
other goods and services that are, in the eyes of the consumer, perfect 
substitutes for the goods and services the affected establishments 
produce.
    A common intermediate case would be a price elasticity of one. In 
this situation, if the costs of compliance amount to 1 percent of 
revenues, then production would decline by 1 percent and prices would 
rise by 1 percent. In this case, the industry revenues would stay the 
same, with somewhat lower production, but similar profit rates (in most 
situations where the marginal costs of production net of regulatory 
costs would fall as well). Consumers would, however, get less of the 
product or the service for their expenditures, and producers would 
collect lower total profits; this, as the court described in American 
Dental Association v. Secretary of Labor, is the more typical case.
    If there is a price elasticity of one, the question of economic 
feasibility is complicated. On the one hand, the industry will 
certainly not be "eliminated" with the level of costs found in this 
rulemaking, since under these assumptions the change in total profits 
is somewhat less than the costs imposed by the regulation. But there is 
still the question of whether the industry's competitive structure will 
be significantly altered. For example, given a 20 percent increase in 
costs, and an elasticity of one, the industry will not be eliminated. 
However, if the increase in costs is such that all small firms in an 
industry will have to close, this could reasonably be concluded to have 
altered its competitive structure. For this reason, when costs are a 
significant percentage of revenues, OSHA examines the differential 
costs by size of firm, and other classifications that may be important.
    As indicated by the impact estimates shown in Tables V-28 and V-29, 
OSHA has determined that, for all affected establishments in general 
industry, revenue impacts will not exceed 0.08 percent for any affected 
industry group, and that profit impacts will not exceed 1.7 percent for 
any affected industry group.
    The economic impact of the proposal is most likely to consist of a 
small increase in prices for the goods and services provided by the 
affected employers of less than 0.02 percent in the majority of cases. 
It is unlikely that a price increase of the magnitude of 0.02 percent 
will significantly alter the quantity of goods or services demanded by 
the public or any other affected customers or intermediaries. If the 
compliance costs of the proposal can be substantially recouped with 
such a minimal increase in prices, there may be little effect on 
profits.
    In general, for most establishments, it would be unlikely that none 
of the compliance costs could be passed along in the form of increased 
prices. In the event that unusual circumstances may inhibit even a 
price increase of 0.02 percent, profits in the majority of affected 
industries would be reduced by a maximum of about 0.1 percent.
    In profit-earning entities, compliance costs can generally be 
expected to be absorbed through a combination of increases in prices or 
reduction in profits. As discussed above, the extent to which the 
impacts of cost increases affect prices or profits depends on the price 
elasticity of demand for the
products or services produced and sold by the entity.
    In the case of cost increases that may be incurred due to the 
requirements of the proposal, all businesses within each of the covered 
industry sectors would be subject to the same requirements. Thus, to 
the extent potential price increases correspond to costs associated 
with achieving compliance with the proposed standards, the elasticity 
of demand for each entity will approach that faced by the industry as a 
whole.
    Given the small incremental increases in prices potentially 
resulting from compliance with the proposed standards and the lack of 
readily available substitutes for the products and services provided by 
the covered industry sectors, demand is expected to be sufficiently 
inelastic in each affected industry to enable entities to substantially 
offset compliance costs through minor price increases without 
experiencing any significant reduction in total revenues or in net 
profits.
    For the economy as a whole, OSHA expects the economic impact of the 
proposed rulemaking to be both an increase in the efficiency of 
production of goods and services and an improvement in the welfare of 
society. First, as demonstrated by the analysis of costs and benefits 
associated with compliance with the requirements of the proposed rule, 
OSHA expects that societal welfare will increase as a result of these 
standards, as the benefits achieved clearly and strongly justify the 
relatively small costs necessary. The impacts of the proposal involve 
net benefits of over $100 million that are achieved in a relatively 
cost-effective manner.
    Second, many of the costs associated with the injuries and 
fatalities resulting from the risks addressed by the proposal have 
until now been externalized. That is, the costs incurred by society to 
protect workers exposed to falls during the production of certain goods 
and services have not been fully reflected in the prices of those 
products and services. The costs of production have been partly borne 
by workers who suffer the consequences associated with the activities 
causing the risks. To the extent that fewer of these costs are 
externalized, the price mechanism will enable the market to result in a 
more efficient allocation of resources. It should be noted that 
reductions in externalities by themselves do not necessarily increase 
efficiency or social welfare unless the costs of achieving the 
reductions are outweighed by the associated benefits.
    OSHA concludes that compliance with the requirements of the 
proposal is economically feasible in every affected industry sector. 
This conclusion is based on the criteria established by the OSH Act, as 
interpreted in relevant case law. In general, the courts have held that 
a standard is economically feasible if there is a reasonable likelihood 
that the estimated costs of compliance "will not threaten the 
existence or competitive structure of an industry, even if it does 
portend disaster for some marginal firms" (United Steelworkers of 
America v. Marshall, 647 F.2d 1189, 1272 (DC Cir. 1980)). As 
demonstrated by the PEA and the supporting evidence, the potential 
impacts associated with achieving compliance with the proposal fall far 
within the bounds of economic feasibility in each industry sector.
    OSHA does not expect compliance with the requirements of the 
proposal to threaten the viability of entities, or the existence or 
competitive structure of any of the affected industry sectors. In 
addition, based on an analysis of the costs and economic impacts 
associated with this rulemaking, OSHA preliminarily concludes that the 
effects of the proposal on international trade, employment, wages, and 
economic growth for the United States would be negligible.

H. Voluntary Initial Regulatory Flexibility Screening Analysis

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended in 1996 (SBA, 1996), 
requires the preparation of an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
(IRFA) for certain proposed rules (5 U.S.C. 601-612). Under the 
provisions of the law, each such analysis shall contain:
    1. A description of the impact of the proposed rule on small 
entities; 
    2. A description of the reasons why action by the agency is being 
considered; 
    3. A succinct statement of the objectives of, and legal basis for, 
the proposed rule; 
    4. A description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the number 
of small entities to which the proposed rule will apply; 
    5. A description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and 
other compliance requirements of the proposed rule, including an 
estimate of the classes of small entities which will be subject to the 
requirements and the type of professional skills necessary for 
preparation of the report or record; 
    6. An identification, to the extent practicable, of all relevant 
Federal rules which may duplicate, overlap or conflict with the 
proposed rule; and
    7. A description and discussion of any significant alternatives to 
the proposed rule which accomplish the stated objectives of applicable 
statutes and which minimize any significant economic impact of the 
proposed rule on small entities, including
    a. The establishment of differing compliance or reporting 
requirements or timetables that take into account the resources 
available to small entities; 
    b. The clarification, consolidation, or simplification of 
compliance and reporting requirements under the rule for such small 
entities; 
    c. The use of performance rather than design standards; 
    d. An exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for 
such small entities.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act further states that the required 
elements of the IRFA may be performed in conjunction with, or as part 
of, any other agenda or analysis required by any other law if such 
other analysis satisfies the relevant provisions.
    To determine the need for an IRFA, OSHA conducted a voluntary 
initial regulatory flexibility screening analysis to assess the 
potential impacts of the proposed standard on affected small entities. 
On the basis of the screening analysis, presented below, OSHA certifies 
that the proposed standard will not have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities.
1. Impact of the Proposed Rule on Small Entities
    Based on analysis by ERG (ERG, 2007, Ex. 6), OSHA estimated 
compliance costs and economic impacts for small entities affected by 
the proposed rule. Tables V-2 and V-3 in section C presented, 
respectively, the profiles for general industry entities classified as 
small according to Small Business Administration (SBA) criteria and for 
entities with fewer than 20 employees. ERG assigned costs to small 
entities by first determining the per-employee compliance costs for 
those cost items that are a function of the number of affected 
employees at a facility, and the per-establishment cost for those items 
that do not vary with establishment size. ERG then calculated, by 
industry, the average number of employees for each of the two classes 
of small entities, multiplied these averages by per-employee compliance 
cost, and then added the establishment-based cost to determine the 
average compliance cost for each type of small entity. These 
statistics, multiplied by the numbers of small entities, produced the 
total compliance costs in each industry incurred by small entities.
    Table V-30 shows the resultant annualized compliance costs by 
industry sector for SBA-defined small entities, while Table V-31 shows 
the costs for entities with fewer than 20 employees. Compliance costs 
for small entities totaled $125.0 million, compared to $173.2 million 
for all establishments. Compliance costs for the smallest entities 
totaled $96.0 million.
    OSHA calculated the economic impacts of these costs by comparing 
average compliance costs with average receipts and profits. These 
calculations are shown in Tables V-32 and V-33, presenting OSHA's 
preliminary assessment of impacts on small entities and very small 
entities (fewer than 20 employees). Among SBA-defined small entities, 
impacts of project compliance costs on profits were less than five 
percent for all industries, and these impacts were larger than 0.5 
percent for only two industries: NAICS 2213, Water, Sewage and Other 
Systems (0.57 percent); and NAICS 5617, Services to Buildings and 
Dwellings (1.87 percent). For entities with fewer than 20 employees, 
compliance costs as a percent of profits were also less than five 
percent for all industries, and these impacts were larger than one 
percent for only two industries: NAICS 2213, Water, Sewage and Other 
Systems (1.24 percent); and NAICS 5617, Services to Buildings and 
Dwellings (3.34 percent).

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TABLE V-30
Compliance Costs for Small Buisiness Entities Affected by OSHA's Proposed Standard (by 2-Digit NAICS)

TABLE V-31
Compliance Costs for Small Buisiness Entities (Fewer than 20 Employees) Affected by OSHA's Proposed Standard 
Annualized Compliance Costs

TABLE V-32
Average Cost Impacts on Small Buisiness Entities Affected by OSHA's Proposed Revision to Subparts D and I 
(Per Entitiy by 4-Digit NAICS Code)

TABLE V-33
Cost Impacts  Impacts on Very Small Buisiness Entities (Fewer than 20 Employees) Affected by OSHA's Proposed Revision to Subparts D and I 
(Per Entitiy by 4-Digit NAICS Code)

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2. A Description of the Reasons Why Action by the Agency Is Being 
Considered
    Employees in general industry performing construction, 
installation, maintenance, and repair tasks are exposed to a range of 
significant slip, trip, and fall hazards that can and do cause serious 
injury and death. OSHA estimates that approximately 300,000 serious 
injuries and 300 fatalities occur annually among these employees. 
Although some of these incidents may have been prevented with better 
compliance with existing safety standards, research and analyses 
conducted by OSHA have found that many preventable injuries and 
fatalities would continue to occur even if full compliance with the 
existing standards were achieved. Without counting incidents that would 
potentially have been prevented with compliance with existing 
standards, an estimated 3,706 additional injuries and 20 fatalities 
would be prevented annually through full compliance with the proposed 
standards.
    As explained above, additional benefits associated with this 
rulemaking involve providing updated, clear, and consistent safety 
standards regarding fall protection in general industry to the relevant 
employers, employees, and interested members of the public. The 
existing OSHA standards for walking-working surfaces in general 
industry are over 30 years old and inconsistent with the more recently 
promulgated standards addressing fall protection in construction. OSHA 
believes that the proposed updated standards are easier to understand 
and to apply and will benefit employers and employees by facilitating 
compliance while improving safety.
3. Statement of the Objectives of, and Legal Basis for, the Proposed 
Rule
    The primary objective of the proposed standards is to provide an 
increased degree of occupational safety for employees in general 
industry performing construction, installation, maintenance, and repair 
tasks. As stated above, an estimated 3,706 injuries and 20 fatalities 
would be prevented annually through compliance with the proposed 
standards in addition to those that may be prevented through compliance 
with existing standards. Another objective of the proposed rulemaking 
is to provide updated, clear, and consistent safety standards regarding 
fall protection in general industry to the relevant employers, 
employees, and interested members of the public. The proposed updated 
standards are easier to understand and to apply, and they will benefit 
employers by facilitating compliance while improving safety.
    The legal basis for the proposed rule is the responsibility given 
the Department of Labor through the Occupational Safety and Health 
(OSH) Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 561 et seq.). The OSH Act authorizes and 
obligates the Secretary of Labor to promulgate mandatory occupational 
safety and health standards as necessary "to assure so far as possible 
every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working 
conditions and to preserve our human resources." 29 U.S.C. 651(b). The 
legal authority can also be cited as 29 U.S.C. 655(b).
4. Description of and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which 
the Proposed Rule Will Apply
    OSHA has completed a preliminary analysis of the impacts associated 
with this proposal, including an analysis of the type and number of 
small entities to which the proposed rule would apply. The proposed 
standards would primarily impact workers performing construction, 
installation, maintenance, and repair tasks throughout general 
industry. To determine the number of small entities potentially 
affected by this rulemaking, OSHA used the definitions of small 
entities developed by the Small Business Administration for each 
industry. In section C of this PEA, OSHA discussed its methodology for 
determining the number of affected small entities and presented its 
estimates in Table V-2. As shown in that table, OSHA estimates that 5.1 
million small entities, employing 43.5 million employees, including 9.3 
million employees directly exposed to slip, trip, and fall hazards, 
would be covered by the scope of the proposed standard. Industries 
expected to have the highest number of affected at-risk employees 
include wired telecommunications carriers (606,000 employees); 
automotive repair and maintenance (480,000 employees); and lessors of 
real estate (231,000 employees).
5. Description of the Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other 
Compliance Requirements of the Proposed Rule
    OSHA is proposing to revise the standards addressing the work 
practices to be used, and other requirements to be followed, for the 
activities in general industry that expose workers to slip, trip, and 
fall hazards. The existing standards in subpart D deal with the hazards 
of walking and working surfaces and are part of the initial package of 
standards promulgated by OSHA in 1971 under section 6(a) of the 
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act) (29 U.S.C. 
655(a)). During the period since OSHA promulgated subpart D, interested 
parties have suggested changes in these regulations. The majority of 
the existing OSHA standards for walking-working surfaces are over 30 
years old and inconsistent with numerous national consensus standards 
and more recently promulgated OSHA standards addressing fall protection 
elsewhere in general industry and construction.
    Section E, Costs of Compliance, described, for categories of 
employee training, the administrative costs that are expected to 
present a new burden for affected employers. The costs to document the 
training and re-training of employees are not considered by OSHA to be 
recordkeeping, but rather are seen as typical administrative expenses 
in a safety program.
6. Federal Rules Which May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rule
    OSHA has not identified any Federal rules which may duplicate, 
overlap, or conflict with the proposal, and requests comments from the 
public regarding this issue.
7. Alternatives to the Proposed Rule Which Accomplish the Stated 
Objectives of Applicable Statutes and Which Minimize Any Significant 
Economic Impact of the Proposed Rule on Small Entities
    OSHA evaluated several alternatives to the proposed standards to 
ensure that the proposed requirements would accomplish the stated 
objectives of applicable statutes and would minimize any significant 
economic impact of the proposal on small entities. In developing the 
proposal, and especially in establishing compliance or reporting 
requirements or timetables that affect small entities, the resources 
available to small entities were taken into account. Compliance and 
reporting requirements under the proposal that are applicable to small 
entities were clarified, consolidated, and simplified to the extent 
practicable. Wherever possible, OSHA has proposed the use of 
performance rather than design standards. An exemption from coverage of 
the rule for small entities was not considered to be a viable option 
because the safety and health of the affected employees would be unduly 
jeopardized.
    Many other specific alternatives to the proposed requirements were
considered. Section IV of the notice, Summary and Explanation of the 
Proposed Rule, provides discussion and explanation of the particular 
requirements of the proposal.
    OSHA has made every effort to provide maximum flexibility in the 
choice of controls that are permitted under the proposed rule. To 
demonstrate the relative economic efficiency (i.e., cost effectiveness) 
of the proposed standard, OSHA has selected eight provisions in 
proposed subpart D where alternative control strategies were considered 
but rejected as inefficient from a cost-effectiveness perspective. For 
these eight provisions, the table below presents OSHA's evaluation of 
the potential impacts associated with alternatives to the proposed 
requirements.

    Table V-34--Impacts Associated With Regulatory Alternatives for Selected Provisions in Proposed Subpart D
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Alternative         Potential impacts of
          Provision               Primary-choice control(s)        control(s)         alternative control(s)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 1910.23 Ladders......  Covers all ladders except for    All ladders in    Probably not significant in
                                machine-integrated or fire       scope.            costs, but not justified with
                                fighting/rescue ladders.                           respect to benefits.
Section 1910.24 Step bolts     Design changes to step bolts     Eliminate         Requirement to ensure that all
 and manhole steps.             and manhole steps on new         grandfathering    step bolts and manhole steps
                                installations must be            of older          meet the strength and design
                                performed 90 days after the      structures.       criteria in proposed subpart
                                standard's effective date.                         D would demand technical
                                                                                   resources that could exceed
                                                                                   the capacity of affected
                                                                                   industries in the near term,
                                                                                   given the need to inspect all
                                                                                   existing manholes and make
                                                                                   changes to many.
Section 1910.25 Stairways....  Where ship stairs and spiral     Prohibit ship     Potentially large costs with
                                stairs are used as primary       stairs and        few benefits.
                                means of egress, they must       spiral stairs
                                meet the requirements            in all new
                                specified by the standard.       installations.
Section 1910.26 Dockboards     In paragraph (b), OSHA proposes  Specify the       Probably modest costs but with
 (bridge plates).               that dockboards put into         means of          few benefits.
                                service at least 90 days after   achieving the
                                the effective date of the        desired
                                final rule be designed,          performance.
                                constructed, and maintained to
                                prevent equipment (such as
                                hand trucks and vehicles) from
                                running off the edge.
Section 1910.27 Scaffolds and  Proposed paragraph (b)(1)        Allow use of RDS  OSHA states earlier in this
 rope descent systems.          prohibits the use of a rope      at all heights.   PEA that impacts of the
                                descent system (RDS) at                            primary choice would be minor
                                heights greater than 300 feet                      due to current availability
                                (91.4 m) above grade unless                        of powered platforms or other
                                access cannot otherwise be                         systems for washing windows
                                attained safely and                                on tall buildings. OSHA
                                practicably.                                       requests comment on this
                                                                                   assessment.
Section 1910.28 Duty to have   The proposed rule allows         Specify, surface  Depending on specifications,
 fall protection.               employers to choose from         by surface, the   costs could be substantial
                                several options in providing     means of          with modest benefits.
                                fall protection. These include   achieving the
                                conventional fall protection     desired
                                systems such as guardrail        performance.
                                systems, safety net systems,
                                and personal fall protection
                                systems (restraint systems,
                                personal fall arrest systems,
                                and positioning systems) and,
                                in some instances, non-
                                conventional means. An example
                                of non-conventional means
                                would be the establishment of
                                a designated area in which an
                                employee is to work.
Section 1910.28 Duty to have   Proposed paragraph (b)(8) is a   Require           Potentially significant costs
 fall protection.               new provision, proposed to       conventional      with feasibility/
                                address the specific fall        fall protection   practicability concerns.
                                hazard created by vehicle        systems:
                                repair pits and assembly pits.   guardrails,
                                Access to the edge (within 6     personal fall
                                feet (1.8 m)) of the pit must    arrest or
                                be limited to trained,           travel
                                authorized employees             restraint
                                ((b)(8)(i)); the floor must be   systems.
                                marked ((b)(8)(ii)) to
                                designate the unprotected
                                area; and caution signs must
                                be posted to warn employees of
                                the unprotected area
                                ((b)(8)(iii)).
Section 1910.28 Duty to have   In proposed paragraph (b)(9),    For fixed         Major costs and modest
 fall protection.               OSHA addresses fall hazards      ladders,          benefits; tens of thousands
                                related to fixed ladders.        require that      of fixed ladders would need
                                Under the proposed standard,     cages, wells,     cages, wells, and landing
                                no fall protection is required   and landing       platforms.
                                when employees are exposed to    platforms be
                                falls from fixed ladders of 24   provided, but
                                feet (7.3 m) in length or less.  disallow the
                               If the employer chooses a cage    use of ladder
                                or well, no ladder sections      safety systems.
                                may exceed 50 feet (15.2 m) in
                                length, and each section must
                                be offset from adjacent
                                sections with landing
                                platforms at maximum intervals
                                of 50 feet (15.2 m). If an
                                employer chooses a ladder
                                safety system, no additional
                                measures are proposed.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis, Office of Regulatory Analysis.
    Non-regulatory alternatives were also considered in determining the 
appropriate approach to reducing occupational hazards associated with 
work on elevated or slippery surfaces in general industry. These 
alternatives were discussed in the section of this PEA entitled 
"Examination of Alternative Approaches."

I. References

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Association. (ANSI/IWCA, 2001.) Window Cleaning Safety. IWCA I-14.1-
2001, October 2001.
Amodeo, Linda. (Amodeo, 2003.) Comments submitted to OSHA Docket 
S029, Exhibit 3-14, Linda Amodeo, Vice President, City Wide Building 
Services, Inc., July 24, 2003.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (BLS, 2007.) Consumer Price Index, All 
Urban Consumers, U.S. City Average, June 15, 2007. ftp://
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Statistics, 2008. http://www.bls.gov/oes/home.htm.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (BLS, 2008.) Job Openings and Labor 
Turnover Survey, 2008.
Cohen, Alexander and Michael Colligan. (Cohen and Colligan, 1998.) 
Assessing Occupational Safety and Health Training: A Literature 
Review. DDHS (NIOSH) Publication 98-145, June 1998.
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. (CTBUH, 2006.) Web 
Site: http://www.ctbuh.org/. Accessed 23 August 2006. Database 
hosted by Emporis. http://buildings.emporis.com/
?nav=theplatformconcept&lng=3. Accessed by ERG on August 23, 2006.
Department of Energy. (DOE, 2006.) 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy 
Consumption Survey. Table B10: Number of Floors, Number of Buildings 
and Floorspace for Non-Mall Commercial Buildings. Energy Information 
Administration, 2006. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cbecs/cbecs2003/detailed_tables_2003/detailed_tables_2003.html.
Department of Energy. (DOE, 2004.) 2001 Residential Energy 
Consumption Surveys. 2001 Housing Characteristics Tables. Table HC1-
1a. Housing Unit Characteristics by Climate Zone, Million U.S. 
Households, (2001). Energy Information Administration, 2004. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/recs/recs2001/detail_tables.html.
DiChacho, Rosita. (DiChacho. 2006.) Personal communication between 
Rosita DiChacho, New York Department of Labor, Division of Safety & 
Health, Engineering Services Unit and Maureen F. Kaplan, Eastern 
Research Group, August 23, 2006.
Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG, 2007.) Technical and Analytical 
Support and Docket Review for OSHA's Preliminary Analysis of Costs, 
Benefits, and Economic Impacts for OSHA's Proposed Standard for 
Walking and Working Surfaces. Final Report. Prepared under Contract 
No. GS10F0125P for the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Occupational Safety and 
Health Administration, Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis, 
Office of Regulatory Analysis, July 27, 2007. (Ex. 6.)
Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG, 1999.) PPE Cost Survey: Final 
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of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of 
Regulatory Analysis, June 23, 1999. Docket No. S-042, Exhibit 14 
(Ex. OSHA-S042-2006-0667-0318).
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1307-2004. http://standards.ieee.org/reading/ieee/std/numerical.html. 
Accessed by ERG on July 24, 2006.
Kreidenweis, Andy. (Kreidenweis, 2003.) Comments submitted to OSHA 
Docket S-029, Exhibit 3-126, Andy Kreidenweis, Braco Window Cleaning 
Service Inc., July 30, 2003.
Lebel, Marc. (Lebel, 2003.) Comments submitted to OSHA Docket S-029, 
Exhibit 3-1. Marc Lebel, Pro-Bel Enterprises Limited, July 18, 2003.
National Association of Tower Erectors. (NATE, 2006.) Web site: 
http://www.natehome.com/MemberBenefitsServices/NATECLIMBERTRAININGSTANDARD/Index.cfm). 
Accessed by ERG on July 24,2006.
National Coalition Against the Misuses of Pesticides. (NCAMP, 1997.) 
Poison Poles--A Report About Their Toxic Trail and Safer 
Alternatives. Estimate of Pole Miles and Distribution Poles by 
State, 1997. http://www.ncamp.org/poisonpoles/tables/table2.html.
National Cooperative Highway Research Program. (NCHRP, 2004.) NCHRP 
Report 500: Guidance for Implementation of the AASHTO Strategic 
Highway Safety Plan. Volume 8: A Guide for Reducing Collisions 
Involving Utility Poles. Transportation Research Board, 2004. 
http://safety.transportation.org/htmlguides/utl_pole/exec_sum.htm.
National Fire Protection Association. (NFPA, 2006.) Standard 101. 
Life Safety Code. 2006 Edition. 7.2.2.2.3 Spiral stairs. 
http://www.nfpa.org/freecodes/free_access_document.asp. Accessed by ERG 
on July 24, 2006.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (NIOSH, 
1988.) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for 
Disease Control. National Institute for Occupational Safety and 
Health. National Occupational Exposure Survey. Volume III: Analysis 
of Management Interview Responses, March 1988.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 2009.) 
Analysis of OSHA Integrated Management Information System inspection 
data, 1995-2001. January 2009.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 2007.) 
Accident Investigation Search, 2007. 
http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/accidentsearch.html.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 2006a.) 
Accident Investigation Search, 2006. 
http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/accidentsearch.html.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 2006b.) 
Standard Interpretations: 2/10/2006--The use of ship's stairs 
instead of fixed stairs in general industry. 
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=25301. 
Accessed by ERG on July 24, 2006.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 2006c.) 
Standard Interpretations: 2/10/2006--Circumstances under which 
installation of fixed industrial stairs with a slope between 50 
degrees and 70 degrees from the horizontal would be considered a de 
minimis violation. 
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=25299. 
Accessed by ERG on July 24, 2006.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 2006d.) OSHA 
Web site. Resource Center Loan Program. Materials by subject. 
http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/ote/resource-center/loan.html. 
Accessed by ERG on July 28.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 2003.) 
Standard Interpretations: 05/05/2003--Standards applicable to step 
bolts and manhole steps; load requirements for step bolts. 
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24564 corrected 4/4/2005. 
Accessed by ERG on July 24, 2006.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 2003.) 29 CFR 
Part 1910 Walking and Working Surfaces; Personal Protective 
equipment (Fall Protection Systems); Proposed Rule. Federal Register 
68: 23528-23568, May 2, 2003.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 1996.) 29 CFR 
Part 1926. Safety Standards for Scaffolds Used in the Construction 
Industry; Final Rule. Federal Register 61: 46026-46126, August 30, 
1996.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 1994.) 
Background Document to the Regulatory Impact and Regulatory 
Flexibility Assessment for the PPE Standard. Office of Regulatory 
Analysis, March 15, 1994. Docket S-060, Exhibit 56.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 1993.) Fixed 
Ladders Used on Outdoor Advertising Structures/Billboards in the 
Outdoor Advertising Industry. OSHA Instruction STD 1-1.14, January 
26, 1993. http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=1756. 
Accessed by ERG on August 25, 2006.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 1991a.)
December 5, 1989, letter from Mr. Thomas J. Shepich to Mr. Carl 
Pedersen regarding Descent Control Devices. Memorandum to Regional 
Administrators from Patricia K. Clark, Director, Directorate of 
Compliance Programs, March 12, 1991. OSHA Docket S-029, Exhibit 1-
18.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 1991b.) Grant 
of Variance. Federal Register 56: 8801, March 1, 1991. 
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=13148.
Accessed by ERG on August 26, 2006.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 1990a.) 
Preliminary Regulatory Impact and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis of 
Proposed Subparts D and I of 29 CFR Part 1910 Walking and Working 
Surfaces. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of 
Regulatory Analysis, March 6, 1990. OSHA Docket S-029, Exhibit 4.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 1990a.) 
Application of Gannett Outdoor Companies for a Variance Concerning 
Fixed Ladders. Federal Register 55: 26796-26797, June 29, 1990. 
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=13085. 
Accessed by ERG on August 25,
2006.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (OSHA, 1981.) 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Standard 
Interpretations: 12/02/1981. Alternating tread type stair is 
approved as safe for use. 
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=18983.
Accessed by ERG on July 24, 2006.
Office of Management and Budget. (OMB, 2005.) Regulatory Reform of 
the U.S. Manufacturing Sector.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/OMB/inforeg/reports/manufacturing_initiative.pdf. 
Accessed by ERG on July 24, 2006.
Office of Management and Budget. (OMB, 2003.) Regulatory Analysis. 
Circular A-4, September 17, 2003. 
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a004/a-4.pdf.
Office of Management and Budget. (OMB, 2002.) North American 
Industry Classification System--2002. Executive Office of the 
President, 2002.
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Producers and Distributors. 115th Edition of the Electrical World 
Directory. The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2007.
Small Business Administration. (SBA, 1996.) Regulatory Flexibility 
Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354), amended by the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121).
Small Business Administration. (SBA, 2006.) Table of Small Business 
Size Standards Matched to North American Industry Classification 
System Codes, 2006. 
http://www.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_homepage/serv_sstd_tablepdf.pdf.
U.S. Census Bureau. (Census Bureau, 2002/2006.) Statistics of U.S. 
Businesses, 2002/2006. http://www.census.gov/csd/susb/index.html.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (U.S. EPA, 2000.) Guidelines 
for Preparing Economic Analyses. EPA 240-R-00-003, September 2000. 
http://yosemite.epa.gov/ee/epa/eed.nsf/webpages/Guidelines.html; 
Chapter 7 also available in OSHA Docket No. H-054a, Exhibit 35-334.
U.S. Internal Revenue Service. (IRS, 2003.) Corporation Source Book, 
2003. http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/bustaxstats/article/0,,id=149687,00.html.
Viscusi, Kip and Joseph Aldy. (Viscusi and Aldy, 2003.) "The Value 
of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates 
Throughout the World." The Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 27-1 
(2003): 5-76.
Workers' Compensation Research Institute. (WCRI, 1993.) "Income 
Replacement in California." WCRI Research Brief; Special Edition. 
Volume 9, number 4S, Cambridge, MA, December 1993. Also available in 
OSHA Docket S-777, Exhibit 26-1608.
Wright, Michael C. (Wright, 2003.) Comments submitted to OSHA Docket 
S-029, Exhibit 4-19, Michael C Wright, LJB, Inc., July 23, 2007.
Zeolla, Robert J. (Zeolla, 2003) Comments submitted to OSHA Docket 
S-029, Exhibit 4-6, Robert J. Zeolla, Jr., President, Sunset Window 
Cleaning Company. June 5, 2003.

VI. Applicability of Existing National Consensus Standards

    Section 6(b)(8) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 
("the Act"; 29 U.S.C. 655(b)(8)) requires OSHA to explain "why a 
rule promulgated by the Secretary differs substantially from an 
existing national consensus standard," by publishing "a statement of 
the reasons why the rule as adopted will better effectuate the purposes 
of the Act than the national consensus standard." The Agency is not 
proposing to adopt any of the 34 national consensus standards listed in 
the Reference section of the proposal because the Agency believes that 
it is too difficult and costly for employers, especially employers in 
small businesses, to determine which of these national consensus 
standards apply to their workplaces, and then to collate and organize 
the relevant standards for compliance purposes. In this regard, no 
single, national consensus standard would fully address all of the fall 
hazards found in most of these workplaces.

VII. OMB Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    The proposed Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective 
Equipment (Fall Protection PPE) Standard contains collection of 
information (paperwork) requirements that are subject to review by the 
Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 ("PRA-95"), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., and OMB's regulations 
at 5 CFR part 1320. The Paperwork Reduction Act defines a "collection 
of information" as "the obtaining, causing to be obtained, 
soliciting, or requiring the disclosure to third parties or the public 
of facts or opinions by or for an agency regardless of form or format" 
(44 U.S.C. 3502(3)(A)). OSHA has OMB approval for the existing 
paperwork requirements contained in both the Walking and Working 
Surfaces Standard, and in the Personal Protective Equipment Standard in 
two separate Information Collection Requests (ICRs) titled, Standard on 
Walking-Working Surfaces (29 CFR part 1910, subpart D) OMB control 
number 1218-0199, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for General 
Industry (29 CFR part 1910, subpart I), OMB Control number 1218-2005.
    OSHA has submitted both ICRs addressing the collection of 
information requirements identified in this Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NPRM) to OMB for review (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)). OSHA solicits 
comments on the collection of information requirements and the 
estimated burden hours associated with these collections, including 
comments on the following:
     Whether the proposed collection of information 
requirements are necessary for the proper performance of the Agency's 
functions, including whether the information is useful; 
     The accuracy of OSHA's estimate of the burden (time and 
cost) of the information collection requirements, including the 
validity of the methodology and assumptions used; 
     Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information collected; and
     Ways to minimize the burden on employers who must comply, 
for example, by using automated or other technological techniques for 
collecting and transmitting information.

    The title, a description of the need for and proposed use of the 
information, a description of the likely respondents, and the proposed 
frequency of response to the information collections are described 
below for the collection of information requirements in the proposed 
revisions to subparts D and I,along with an estimate of the annual 
reporting burden and cost.
     For proposed 29 CFR part 1910, subpart D:
    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Title: Standard on Walking-Working Surfaces (29 CFR part 1910, 
subpart D).
    OMB Control Number: 1218-0199.
    Description and Proposed Use of the Collections of Information: The 
proposed standard would impose new information collection requirements 
for purposes of PRA-95 and removes collection of information 
requirements in the existing standard (see 1218-0199). The collection 
of information requirements in the proposed standard have not been 
approved by OMB. These two proposed requirements are described in the 
following paragraphs.
    Proposed Sec.  1910.23(b)(10) requires employers to place "Do Not 
Use" or similar language on signs on ladders with structural or other 
defects in accordance with Sec.  1910.145 (Specifications for accident 
prevention signs and tags). This provision is necessary to protect 
workers from defective ladders.
    Under proposed Sec.  1910.28(b)(8), employers need not provide fall 
protection to employees who are exposed to falling into automotive, 
repair, or assembly pits provided certain conditions are met, including 
a requirement to post a caution sign stating "Caution--Open Floor" or 
similar legend to warn of the fall hazard. (See proposed Sec.  
1910.28(b)(8)(iii)). These signs provide warning to employees who are 
exposed to fall hazards in repair, service, and assembly pits.
    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.
    Number of Respondents: 62,310.
    Frequency: On occasion.
    Average Time per Response: 3 minutes.
    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 3,116 hours.
    Estimated Costs (Operation and Maintenance): $0.
     For proposed 29 CFR part 1910, subpart I:
    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Title: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for General Industry (29 
CFR part 1910, subpart I).
    OMB Control Number: 1218-0205.
    Description and Proposed Use of the Collections of Information: The 
proposed standard would expand the burden of the currently approved 
information collection requirements (see 1218-0205) because the 
proposed standard would impose new information collection requirements 
for purposes of PRA-95. The two collection of information requirements 
in the proposed standard, described in the following paragraphs, have 
not been approved by OMB.
    Paragraph (d) of existing Sec.  1910.132 requires employers to 
conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace to determine if there are 
certain hazards from which employees can be protected through the use 
of PPE; namely eye and face, foot, head, and hand hazards. Under the 
proposal, this provision would be expanded to add fall hazards to the 
list of hazards covered by the workplace assessment, thus requiring 
employers to determine if there are any fall hazards from which 
employees can be protected by the use of fall protection PPE. This 
provision is necessary to protect workers from fall hazards.
    Likewise, under existing Sec.  1910.132(f), employers must provide 
training for each employee who was identified in the hazard assessment 
as needing to use fall protection. The proposed revision would expand 
the current requirement to include training employees who would be 
using fall protection PPE. Also, under existing Sec.  1910.132(f)(3), 
employers must provide retaining when there is reason to believe that 
any previously trained employee does not have the understanding and 
skill to use PPE properly, and existing paragraph (f)(4) of Sec.  
1910.132 requires that employers certify that employees have received 
and understood the required PPE training. The training certification 
must include the name of the employee(s) trained, the date(s) of 
training, and the subject of the certification (i.e., a statement 
identifying the document as a certification of training in the use of 
PPE). The proposed revision would expand the certification record to 
include employees who have been trained in the use of PPE for fall 
protection.
    The proposed revisions would result in the initial (first year) 
burden outlined below. After the first year, however, the burden will 
be significantly lower.
    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.
    Number of Respondents: 1.3 million establishments.
    Frequency: On occasion.
    Average Time per Response: Ranges from three minutes to document 
and maintain training records, to four hours for larger establishments 
to do a hazard assessment to include identification of fall hazards.
    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 5.1 million burden hours.
    Estimated Costs (Operation and Maintenance): $0.
    Submitting comments. Members of the public who wish to comment on 
the paperwork requirements in this proposal must send their written 
comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: 
OSHA Desk Officer (RIN 1218-AB80), Office of Management and Budget, 
Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503. The Agency 
encourages commenters to also submit their comments on these paperwork 
requirements to the rulemaking docket (Docket Number OSHA-2007-0072), 
along with their comments on other parts of the proposed rule. For 
instructions on submitting these comments to the rulemaking docket, see 
the sections of this Federal Register notice titled DATES and 
ADDRESSES. Comments submitted in response to this notice are public 
records; therefore, OSHA cautions commenters about submitting personal 
information such as Social Security numbers and date of birth.
    Docket and inquiries. To access the docket to read or download 
comments and other materials related to this paperwork determination, 
including the complete Information Collection Request (ICR) (containing 
the Supporting Statement with attachments describing the paperwork 
determinations in detail), use the procedures described under the 
section of this notice titled ADDRESSES. You also may obtain an 
electronic copy of the complete ICR by visiting the Web page at 
http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain, scroll under "Currently Under 
Review" to "Department of Labor (DOL)" to view all of the DOL's 
ICRs, including those ICRs submitted for proposed rulemakings. To make 
inquiries, or to request other information, contact Ms. Theda Kenney, 
Directorate of Standards and Guidance, OSHA, Room N-3609, U.S. 
Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20210; telephone (202) 693-2222.
    The Department notes that a Federal agency cannot conduct or 
sponsor a collection of information unless it is approved by OMB under 
the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB control number, and the 
public is not required to respond to a collection of information unless 
it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Also, not 
withstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall be subject to 
penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if the 
collection of information does not display a currently valid OMB 
control number.

VIII. Federalism

    OSHA reviewed this NPRM in accordance with the Executive Order on 
Federalism (Executive Order 13132, 64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), which 
requires that Federal agencies, to the extent possible, refrain from 
limiting State policy options, consult with States prior to taking any 
actions that would restrict State policy options, and take such actions 
only when clear constitutional authority exists and the problem is 
national in scope. Executive Order 13132 provides for preemption of 
State law only with the expressed consent of Congress. Any such 
preemption must be limited to the extent possible.
    Under section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 
("OSH Act"; U.S.C. 651 et seq.), Congress expressly provides that 
States may adopt, with Federal approval, a plan for the development and 
enforcement of occupational safety and health standards; States that 
obtain Federal approval for such a plan are referred to as "State-Plan 
States." (29 U.S.C. 667.) Occupational safety and health standards 
developed by State-Plan States must be at least as effective in 
providing safe and healthful employment and places of employment as the 
Federal standards. Subject to these requirements, State-Plan States are 
free to develop and enforce their own requirements for occupational 
safety and health standards.
    While OSHA drafted this NPRM to protect employees in every State, 
section 18(c)(2) of the Act permits State-Plan States and Territories 
to develop and enforce their own standards for walking-working surfaces 
and personal fall protection provided these requirements are at least 
as effective in providing safe and healthful employment and places of 
employment as the final requirements that result from this proposal.
    In summary, this NPRM complies with Executive Order 13132. In 
States without OSHA-approved State Plans, any standard developed from 
this proposal would limit State policy options in the same manner as 
every standard promulgated by OSHA. In States with OSHA-approved State 
Plans, this rulemaking would not significantly limit State policy 
options.

IX. State Plan States

    Section 18(c)(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 
(29 U.S.C. 667(c)(2)) requires State-Plan States to adopt mandatory 
standards promulgated by OSHA. Accordingly, the 25 States and 2 
Territories with their own OSHA-approved occupational safety and health 
plans would have to adopt provisions comparable to the provisions in 
this proposed rule within 6 months after the Agency publishes the final 
rule that it develops from this proposal. The Agency believes that the 
proposed rule would provide employers in State-Plan States and 
Territories with critical information and methods necessary to protect 
their employees from falls and other hazards associated with walking-
working surfaces. The 25 States and 2 Territories with State Plans are: 
Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, 
Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto 
Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, 
and Wyoming. Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and the 
Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans that apply to State and 
local government employees only. Until a State-Plan State/Territory 
promulgates its own comparable provisions based on the final rule 
developed from this proposal, Federal OSHA will provide the State/
Territory with interim enforcement assistance, as appropriate.

X. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    OSHA reviewed this proposed rule according to the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act of 1995 ("UMRA"; 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) and Executive 
Order 12875 (58 FR 58093). As discussed above in section V. of this 
preamble ("Preliminary Economic Analysis and Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Screening Analysis"), the Agency estimates that compliance 
with this proposed rule would require private-sector employers to 
expend about $159.2 million each year. However, while this proposed 
rule establishes a federal mandate in the private sector, it is not a 
significant regulatory action within the meaning of section 202 of the 
UMRA (2 U.S.C. 1532).
    Under voluntary agreement with OSHA, some States enforce compliance 
with their State standards on public sector entities, and these 
agreements specify that these State standards must be equivalent to 
OSHA standards. Thus, although OSHA has included compliance costs for 
the affected public-sector entities in its analysis of the expected 
impacts associated with the proposal, the proposal would not involve 
any unfunded mandates being imposed on any State or local government 
entity. Consequently, this proposed rule does not meet the definition 
of a "Federal intergovernmental mandate" (see section 421(5) of the 
UMRA (2 U.S.C. 658(5))). Therefore, for the purposes of the UMRA, the 
Agency preliminarily certifies that this proposed rule does not mandate 
that State, local, and tribal governments adopt new, unfunded 
regulatory obligations.

XI. Public Participation

    OSHA invites comments on all aspects of the proposed rule. 
Throughout this document OSHA has invited comment on specific issues 
and requested information and data about practices at establishments 
and industries affected by this proposal. OSHA will carefully review 
and evaluate these comments, information, and data, as well as all 
other information in the rulemaking record, to determine how to 
proceed.
    Comments. The Agency invites interested parties to submit written 
data, views, and arguments concerning this proposal. In particular, the 
Agency welcomes comments on its determination of the economic or other 
regulatory impacts of the proposed rule on the regulated community. 
When submitting comments, follow the procedures specified above in the 
sections titled DATES and ADDRESSES. The comments must clearly identify 
the provision of the proposal being addressed, the position taken with 
respect to each issue, and the basis for that position. Comments, along 
with supporting data and references, received by the end of the 
specified comment period will become part of the proceedings record, 
and will be available electronically for public inspection at the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov), or may be read 
at the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Ave., NW., 
Washington. (See the section of this Federal Register notice titled 
ADDRESSES for additional information on how to access these documents.)
    Informal Public Hearings. Requests for a hearing should be 
submitted to the Agency as set forth above under the sections of this 
notice titled DATES and ADDRESSES.

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 1910

    Falls; Fall arrest; Fall protection; Fall restraint; Ladders;
Occupational safety and health; Scaffolds; Stair; Walking-working 
surfaces; Window cleaning.

XII. Authority and Signature

    This document was prepared under the authority of David Michaels, 
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. 
Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20210.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on April 29, 2010.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

Proposed Regulatory Text

    Pursuant to sections 4, 6, and 8 of the OSH Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 
653, 655, 657), Secretary of Labor's Order No. 5-2007 (72 FR 31159), 
and 29 CFR part 1911, it is hereby amending subparts D and I of 29 CFR 
part 1910 as set forth below.

PART 1910--OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH STANDARDS

    1. Subpart D is revised to read as follows:
Subpart D--Walking-Working Surfaces
Sec.
1910.21 Scope, application, and definitions.
1910.22 General requirements.
1910.23 Ladders.
1910.24 Step bolts and manhole steps.
1910.25 Stairways.
1910.26 Dockboards (bridge plates).
1910.27 Scaffolds (including rope descent systems).
1910.28 Duty to have fall protection.
1910.29 Fall protection systems criteria and practices.
1910.30 Training requirements.

    Authority:  Secs. 4, 6, and 8 of the Occupational Safety and 
Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657), Secretary of Labor's 
Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), and 9-83 (48 FR 
35736), 1-90 (55 FR 9033), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), or 5-2007 (72 FR 
31159), as applicable. Subpart D is also issued under 29 CFR part 
1911.

Subpart D--Walking-Working Surfaces


Sec.  1910.21  Scope, application and definitions.

    (a) Scope and application. This subpart applies to all general 
industry workplaces. It covers all walking-working surfaces unless 
specifically excluded by individual sections of this subpart.
    (b) Definitions.
    Alternating tread-type stair means a series of steps (treads) 
usually attached to a center support in an alternating manner so that a 
user of the stair normally does not have both feet on the same level.
    Authorized describes an employee who is approved or assigned by the 
employer to perform a specific type of duty or an employee who is 
permitted by the employer to be at a specific location.
    Cage means a barrier mounted on the side rail of a fixed ladder or 
fastened to the structure behind the fixed ladder and which is designed 
to enclose the climbing space of the ladder to safeguard the employee 
while climbing the ladder. A cage may also be called a "cage guard" 
or "basket guard."
    Carrier means a track of a ladder safety system consisting of a 
flexible cable or rigid rail which is secured to the ladder or 
structure by mountings.
    Combination ladder means a portable ladder that can be used as a 
stepladder, single extension ladder, trestle ladder, or stairwell 
ladder. Its components may be used as a single ladder.
    Designated area means a distinct portion of a walking-working 
surface delineated by a perimeter warning line in which temporary work 
may be performed without additional fall protection.
    Dockboard (bridge plate) means a portable or fixed device for 
spanning the gap or compensating for the difference in level between 
loading platforms and carriers.
    Equivalent means alternate designs, materials, or methods that the 
employer can demonstrate will provide an equal or greater degree of 
safety for employees compared to the method or item specified in this 
subpart.
    Extension ladder means a non-self-supporting portable ladder 
adjustable in length.
    Failure means a load refusal, breakage, or separation of component 
parts. Load refusal is the point where the ultimate strength is 
exceeded.
    Fall hazard means any condition on a walking-working surface that 
exposes an employee to injury from a fall on the same level or to a 
lower level.
    Fall protection means any equipment, device, or system that 
prevents an employee from experiencing a fall from elevation or that 
mitigates the effect of such a fall.
    Fixed ladder means a ladder, including an individual rung ladder, 
which is permanently attached to a structure, building, or equipment. 
It does not include ship stairs or manhole steps.
    Grab bars means individual handholds placed adjacent to or as an 
extension of ladder side rails for the purpose of providing access 
beyond the limits of the ladder.
    Guardrail system means a barrier erected to prevent employees from 
falling to lower levels.
    Handrail means a rail used to provide employees a handhold for 
support.
    Hoist area means any elevated access opening to a walking-working 
surface where hoisted equipment or materials are loaded or received.
    Hole means a gap or void 2 inches (5 cm) or more in its least 
dimension, in a floor, roof, or other walking-working surface.
    Individual rung ladder means a ladder consisting of rungs 
individually attached to a structure, building, or piece of equipment. 
It does not include manhole steps.
    Ladder means a device with rungs, steps, or cleats typically used 
to gain access to a different elevation.
    Ladder safety system means a device, other than a cage or well, 
designed to eliminate or reduce the possibility of falls from ladders. 
A ladder safety system usually consists of a carrier (the track of 
flexible cable or rigid rail), safety sleeve (moving component which 
travels on the carrier), lanyard, connectors, and body belt or harness.
    Ladder stand (see "Mobile ladder stand").
    Lower level means an area to which an employee could fall. Such 
areas include ground levels, floors, roofs, ramps, runways, 
excavations, pits, tanks, materials, water, equipment, and similar 
surfaces.
    Manhole steps means steps individually attached or set into the 
walls of a manhole structure.
    Maximum intended load (designed working load) means the total load 
of all employees, equipment, tools, materials, transmitted loads, and 
other loads reasonably anticipated to be applied to a walking-working 
surface.
    Mobile means manually propelled and/or movable.
    Mobile ladder stand (ladder stand) means a mobile, fixed-size, 
self-supporting ladder consisting of flat treads in the form of steps 
accessing a top step. The assembly may include handrails and is 
intended for use by one employee.
    Mobile ladder stand platform means a mobile, fixed-height, self-
supporting unit having one or more standing levels, provided with means 
of access or egress to the platform or platforms.
    Open riser means the gap between the treads of stairways without 
upright members (risers).
    Opening means a gap or void 30 inches (76 cm) or more high and 18 
inches (46 cm) or more wide in any wall or partition through which 
employees can fall to a lower level.
    Platform means a walking-working surface elevated above the 
surrounding area.
    Portable ladder means a ladder that can readily be moved or carried 
and usually consists of side rails joined at intervals by steps, rungs, 
cleats, or rear braces.
    Qualified describes a person who, by possession of a recognized 
degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive 
knowledge, training, and experience has successfully
demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the 
subject matter, the work, or the project.
    Qualified climber means an employee engaged in outdoor advertising 
who, by virtue of physical capabilities, training, work experience, and 
job assignment, is authorized by the employer to climb fixed ladders 
without using fall protection.
    Ramp means an inclined surface between different elevations that is 
used for the passage of employees, vehicles, or both.
    Riser means the upright member of a step situated at the back of a 
lower tread and near the leading edge of the next higher tread.
    Rope descent system means a suspension device that supports one 
employee in a chair (seat board) and allows the user to descend in a 
controlled manner and to stop at any time at a desired level of 
descent. A rope descent system is a variation of the single-point 
adjustable suspension scaffold. Also known as a controlled descent 
device, controlled descent equipment, or controlled descent apparatus.
    Rung, step, or cleat means, when used on a ladder, a cross-piece on 
which a person may step to ascend or descend.
    Runway means a passageway for persons, elevated above the 
surrounding floor or ground level, such as a catwalk, a foot walk along 
shafting, or a walkway between buildings.
    Safety factor means the ratio of the design load and the ultimate 
strength of the material.
    Scaffold means any temporary elevated or suspended platform, and 
its supporting structure, including points of anchorage, used to 
support employees or materials or both. The term "scaffold" does not 
include crane or derrick suspended personnel platforms.
    Ship stairs (ship ladders) means a stairway that is equipped with 
treads and stair rails, has a slope between 50 and 70 degrees from the 
horizontal, and has open risers.
    Side-step ladder means a ladder from which an employee getting off 
at the top must step sideways from the ladder to reach the landing.
    Single-point adjustable suspension scaffold means a suspension 
scaffold consisting of a platform suspended by a single rope from an 
overhead support and equipped with means to permit the movement of the 
platform to desired work levels.
    Spiral stairway means a stairway having a helical (spiral) 
structure attached to a supporting pole.
    Stair rail or stair rail system means a vertical barrier (such as 
rails, decorative panels, and mesh) erected along open sides of 
stairways to prevent employees from falling to lower levels. The top 
surface of a stair rail system may also be a handrail.
    Standard stairs means a permanently installed stairway. Ship 
stairs, spiral stairs, and alternating tread-type stairs are not 
standard stairs.
    Stepladder means a self-supporting portable ladder, non-adjustable 
in length, with flat steps and a hinged back.
    Step-bolt (pole step) means a bolt or rung attached at intervals 
along a structural member and used for foot placement during climbing 
or standing.
    Stepstool means a self-supporting, foldable, portable ladder, 
nonadjustable in length, 32 inches (81 cm) or less in overall size, 
with flat steps and without a pail shelf, designed so that the ladder 
top cap, as well as all steps, can be climbed on. The side rails may 
continue above the top cap.
    Through ladder means a type of fixed ladder designed to allow a 
person to get off at the top by stepping through the ladder to reach a 
landing.
    Tieback means an attachment from an anchorage (e.g., structural 
member) to a supporting device.
    Toeboard means a low protective barrier that is designed to prevent 
the fall of materials and equipment to lower levels and provide 
protection from falls for employees.
    Tread means the horizontal member of a step.
    Unprotected sides and edges means any side or edge of a walking-
working surface (except at entrances to points of access) where there 
is no wall or guardrail system at least 39 inches (99 cm) high.
    Walking-working surface means any surface horizontal or vertical, 
on or through which an employee walks, works, or gains access to a 
workplace location. Walking-working surfaces include, but are not 
limited to, floors, stairs, steps, roofs, ladders, ramps, runways, 
aisles, and step bolts.
    Well means a permanent, complete enclosure around a fixed ladder. 
Proper clearances for a well provide the person climbing the ladder the 
same protection as a cage.


Sec.  1910.22  General requirements.

    (a) Surface conditions. (1) All places of employment, passageways, 
storerooms, and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly, and in a 
sanitary condition.
    (2) The floor of every workroom shall be maintained in a clean and, 
so far as possible, a dry condition. Where wet processes are used, 
drainage shall be maintained and false floors, platforms, mats, or 
other dry standing places shall be provided where practicable.
    (3) Employers must ensure that all surfaces are designed, 
constructed, and maintained free of recognized hazards that can result 
in injury or death to employees.
    (b) Application of loads. Employers must ensure that walking-
working surfaces are:
    (1) Designed, constructed, and maintained to support their maximum 
intended load; and
    (2) Not loaded beyond their maximum intended load.
    (c) Access and egress. The employer must ensure employees are 
provided with and use a safe means of access to and egress from one 
walking-working surface to another.
    (d) Maintenance and repair. (1) The employer must ensure through 
regular and periodic inspection and maintenance that walking-working 
surfaces are in a safe condition for employee use.
    (2) The employer must ensure that all hazardous conditions are 
promptly corrected or repaired. If the repair can not be made 
immediately, the hazard must be guarded to prevent employee use.
    (3) Where hazardous conditions may affect the structural integrity 
of the walking-working surface, a qualified person must perform or 
supervise the maintenance or repair of that surface.


Sec.  1910.23  Ladders.

    (a) Application. This section covers all ladders, except those used 
only for firefighting or rescue operations and ladders that are 
designed into (an integral part of) a machine or piece of equipment.
    (b) General requirements for all ladders. (1) Ladder rungs and 
steps must be parallel, level, and uniformly spaced when the ladder is 
in position for use.
    (2) Rungs, cleats, and steps of ladders must be spaced not less 
than 10 inches (25 cm) nor more than 14 inches (36 cm) apart, as 
measured between the center lines of the rungs, cleats, and steps, 
except that:
    (i) Rungs and steps on ladders in elevator shafts must be spaced no 
less than 6 inches (15 cm) apart, nor more than 16.5 inches (42 cm) 
apart, as measured along the ladder side rails; and
    (ii) Rungs and steps on fixed ladders on telecommunication towers 
must be installed no more than 18 inches (46 cm) apart.
    (3) Rungs, cleats, and steps of stepstools must be not less than 8 
inches
(20 cm) apart, nor more than 12 inches (30 cm) apart, as measured 
between the center lines of the rungs, cleats, and steps.
    (4) Except as provided below, ladder rungs and steps must have a 
minimum clear width of 11.5 inches (29 cm) for portable ladders and 16 
inches (41 cm) for individual rung and fixed ladders.
    (i) Narrow rungs that are not designed to be stepped on, such as 
those located on the tapered end of fruit pickers' ladders and similar 
ladders, are exempt from the minimum rung width requirement.
    (ii) Manhole entry ladders that are supported by manhole openings 
must have rungs or steps that have a clear width of at least 9 inches 
(23 cm).
    (iii) Rolling ladders used in telecommunication centers must have a 
clear width of at least 8 inches (20 cm).

    Note to paragraph (b)(4) of this section:  When ladder safety 
systems meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 are used on fixed 
or individual-rung ladders, the clear width is measured before the 
installation of the ladder safety system.

    (5) Wooden ladders must not be coated or covered with any material 
that may obscure structural defects.
    (6) Metal ladders must be protected against corrosion.
    (7) Ladder surfaces must be free of puncture or laceration hazards.
    (8) Ladders must be used only for the purposes for which they were 
designed.
    (9) Ladders must be inspected before use to identify any visible 
defects that could cause employee injury.
    (10) Ladders with structural or other defects must immediately be 
tagged "Do Not Use" or with similar language in accordance with Sec.  
1910.145 and must be removed from service until repaired in accordance 
with Sec.  1910.22(d), or replaced.
    (11) Employers shall ensure that, when ascending or descending a 
ladder, employees face the ladder.
    (12) Employers shall ensure that employees use at least one hand to 
grasp the ladder when progressing up and down the ladder.
    (13) Employers shall ensure that employees do not carry any object 
or load that could cause employees to lose balance and fall.
    (c) Portable ladders. (1) Rungs and steps of portable metal ladders 
must be corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant 
material, or otherwise treated to minimize the possibility of slipping.
    (2) Each stepladder or any combination ladder that is used in a 
stepladder mode must be designed with a metal spreader or locking 
device to hold the front and back sections securely in an open position 
while in use.
    (3) Ladders must not be loaded beyond the maximum intended load for 
which they were designed and tested, or beyond the manufacturer's rated 
capacity. The maximum intended load, as defined in Sec.  1910.21(b), 
includes the worker and all tools and supplies carried.
    (4) Ladders must be used only on stable and level surfaces unless 
secured or stabilized to prevent accidental displacement.
    (5) The use of portable single rail ladders is prohibited.
    (6) Ladders must not be moved, shifted, or extended while occupied 
by an employee.
    (7) Ladders placed in any location where they can be displaced by 
other activities or by traffic, such as ladders used in passageways, 
doorways, or driveways, must be secured to prevent accidental 
displacement unless a temporary barricade, such as a row of traffic 
cones, is used to keep the activities or traffic away from the ladder.
    (8) The top of a stepladder must not be used as a step.
    (9) A non-self-supporting ladder must not be used on slippery 
surfaces unless it is secured and stabilized.
    (10) The top of a non-self-supporting ladder must be placed with 
the two rails supported unless it is equipped with a single support 
attachment.
    (11) When portable ladders are used to gain access to an upper 
landing surface, the ladder siderails must extend at least 3 feet (0.9 
m) above that upper landing surface. (See Figure D-1.)
    (12) When work is performed on or near electrical circuits, the 
requirements of Sec.  1910.333(c) apply.
    (13) Ladders and ladder sections must not be tied or fastened 
together to provide longer length unless they are specifically designed 
for such use.
    (14) The reach of ladders and ladder sections must not be increased 
by any means unless the equipment is specifically designed for the 
application.

Figure D-1

    (d) Fixed ladders. (1) Fixed ladders must be capable of supporting 
their maximum intended load.
    (2) Fixed ladders installed on or after (date 90 days after the 
effective date of the final rule) must be designed, constructed, and 
maintained as follows:
    (i) Fixed ladders must be capable of supporting two live loads of 
at least 250 pounds (113 kg) each, concentrated between any two 
consecutive attachments, plus anticipated loads caused by ice buildup, 
winds, rigging, and impact loads resulting from the use of ladder 
safety systems. The number and position of additional concentrated live 
loads of 250 pounds (113 kg) each, determined from anticipated usage of 
the ladder, must also be included in determining the capabilities of 
fixed ladders.
    (ii) Each step or rung must be capable of supporting at least a 
single concentrated load of 250 pounds (113 kg) applied in the middle 
of the step or rung.
    (3) The minimum perpendicular clearance from the centerline of the 
steps and rungs, or grab bars, or both, to the nearest permanent object 
in back of the ladder must be 7 inches (18 cm), except in the case of 
an elevator pit ladder, for which a minimum perpendicular clearance of 
4.5 inches (11 cm) is required. Grab bars must not protrude on the 
climbing side beyond the rungs of the ladder which they serve.
    (4) The side rails of through or side-step ladders must extend 42 
inches (1.1 m) above the top of the access level or landing platform 
served by the ladder. For a parapet ladder, the access level must be 
the roof if the parapet is cut to permit passage through the parapet; 
if the parapet is continuous, the access level must be the top of the 
parapet.
    (5) For through ladder extensions, the steps or rungs must be 
omitted from the extension and the extension of the side rails must be 
flared to provide not less than 24 inches (61 cm) nor more than 30 
inches (76 cm) clearance between side rails. Where ladder safety 
systems are provided, the maximum clearance between side rails of the 
extensions must not exceed 36 inches (91 cm).
    (6) For side-step ladders, the side rails and the steps or rungs 
must be continuous in the extension. (See Figure D-2.)
    (7) Grab bars must extend 42 inches (1.1 m) above the access and 
egress levels or landing platforms served by the ladder.
    (8) The minimum size (cross-section) of the grab bars must be the 
same as the rungs of the ladder.
    (9) Where a fixed ladder terminates at a hatch (see Figure D-3), 
the hatch cover must:
    (i) Open with sufficient clearance for the employee to permit easy 
access to or egress from the ladder; and
    (ii) Open at least 70 degrees from the horizontal, if 
counterbalanced.
    (10) Fixed individual rung ladders must be constructed to prevent 
the employee's feet from sliding off the end. (See Figure D-4.)
    (11) The use of fixed ladders having a pitch greater than 90 
degrees from the horizontal is prohibited.
    (12) The step-across distance from the centerline of the steps or 
rungs of a fixed ladder must:
    (i) Not be less than 7 inches (18 cm) nor more than 12 inches (30 
cm) to the nearest edge of the structure, building, or equipment 
accessed from through ladders.
    (ii) Not be less than 15 inches (38 cm) nor more than 20 inches (51 
cm) to the access and egress points of the platform edge for side-step 
ladders.
    (13) Fixed ladders without cages or wells must have:
    (i) A clear width of at least 15 inches (38 cm) to the nearest 
permanent object on each side of the centerline of the ladder. (See 
Figure D-2.)
    (ii) A minimum perpendicular distance of 30 inches (76 cm) from the 
center line of the steps and rungs to the nearest object on the 
climbing side except when unavoidable obstructions are encountered, 
then the minimum clearance may be reduced to 24 inches (61 cm) provided 
deflector plates are installed. (See Figure D-5.)

    Note to paragraph (d) of this section: The duty to provide fall 
protection for employees working on fixed ladders is found at Sec.  
1910.28 and the criteria for such fall protection systems is found 
at Sec.  1910.29.

BILLING CODE 4510-29-P

Figure D-2 Thru D-5  
Ladder Clearences

BILLING CODE 4510-29-C

    (e) Mobile ladder stands and mobile ladder stand platforms (Mobile 
ladder stands and platforms)--(1) General design requirements. (i) 
Mobile ladder stands and platforms must have a step width of at least 
16 inches (41 cm).
    (ii) The steps, standing levels, and platforms of mobile ladder 
stands and platforms must be provided with a slip resistant surface. 
This surface may be an integral part of the surface or be provided by a 
secondary process or operation, e.g., dimpling, knurling, shotblasting, 
coating, metal spraying, or slip resistant tapes that must be durable 
in nature.
    (iii) Wheels or casters, when under load, must be designed to 
support their proportional share of four times the rated load, plus the 
proportional share of the unit's weight.
    (iv) Mobile ladder stands and platforms that use wheels or casters, 
rigid and swivel, must be equipped with a system to impede horizontal 
movement.
    (v) The maximum work surface heights of mobile ladder stands and 
platforms must not exceed four times the least base dimension without 
additional support. When greater heights are needed, outriggers, 
counterweights, or comparable means must be used to maintain this 
minimum base ratio.
    (vi) Mobile ladder stands and platforms must be capable of 
supporting at least four times their intended load.
    (vii) Occupied mobile ladder stands and platforms must not be 
moved.
    (2) Design requirements for mobile ladder stands. (i) Steps must be 
uniformly spaced and arranged with a rise of not more than 10 inches 
(25 cm), and a depth of not less than 7 inches (18 cm). The slope of 
the step stringer (inclined side support) to which the steps are 
attached must not be more than 60 degrees measured from the horizontal.
    (ii) All ladder stands with a top step height of 4 to 10 feet (1.2 
m to 3 m) must be provided with handrails having a vertical height of 
29.5 inches (75 cm) to 37 inches (94 cm) measured from the front edge 
of a step. The use of removable gates or non-rigid members such as 
chains may be permitted for special use applications.
    (iii) All ladder stands with a top step over 10 feet high (3 m) 
must have the top step protected on three sides by a handrail with a 
vertical height of at least 36 inches (91 cm). The use of removable 
gates or non-rigid members such as chains may be permitted for special 
use applications. Top steps that are 20 inches (51 cm) or more, front 
to back, must be provided with a midrail and toeboard.
    (iv) The standing areas of mobile ladder stands must be within the 
base frame.
    (3) Design requirements for mobile ladder stand platforms. (i) 
Steps of a ladder stand platform must conform to paragraph (e)(2)(i) of 
this section. However, when the employer demonstrates that compliance 
with paragraph (e)(3)(i) is not practicable, steeper slopes or vertical 
rung ladders may be used, provided the units are stabilized to prevent 
overturning.
    (ii) All ladder stand platforms with a platform height of 4 to 10 
feet (1.2 m to 3 m) must be provided with handrails having a vertical 
height of 29.5 inches (75 cm) to 37 inches (94 cm) measured from the 
front edge of a step. Handrails in the platform area above the flat 
surface must have a vertical height of at least 36 inches (91 cm) and 
include a midrail. The use of removable gates or non-rigid members such 
as chains may be permitted for special use applications.
    (iii) All ladder stand platforms with a platform height of over 10 
feet (3 m) high must have guardrails and toeboards meeting the 
requirements of Sec.  1910.29 on the exposed sides and ends of the 
platform. The use of removable gates or non-rigid members such as 
chains may be permitted for special use applications.


Sec.  1910.24  Step bolts and manhole steps.

    (a) Step bolts. (1) All step bolts installed on or after (date 90 
days after the effective date of the final rule) that are used in 
corrosive environments must be constructed of, or coated with, a 
material that will retard corrosion of the step bolt.
    (2) Step bolts must be designed to prevent the employee's foot from 
slipping or sliding off the end of the step bolt.
    (3) Step bolts must be spaced uniformly, 12 inches (30 cm) minimum 
center to center, alternately spaced, 18 inches (46 cm) maximum. (See 
Figure D-6.) The spacing from the entry and exit surface to the first 
step bolt may be different from the spacing between the other step 
bolts.
    (4) The minimum clear width of each step bolt must be 4.5 inches 
(11 cm).
    (5) The minimum perpendicular distance between the centerline of 
the step bolt to the nearest permanent object in back of the bolt must 
be at least 7 inches (18 cm). Where obstructions cannot be avoided, toe 
clearances may be reduced to 4.5 inches (11 cm).
    (6) Step bolts installed before (date 90 days after the effective 
date of the final rule) must be capable of supporting their maximum intended load.
    (7) Each step bolt installed on or after (date 90 days after the 
effective date of the final rule) must be capable of supporting, 
without failure, at least four times its maximum intended load.
    (8) Step bolts must be visually inspected before each use and be 
maintained in accordance with Sec.  1910.22.
    (9) Step bolts that are bent more than 15 degrees from the 
perpendicular (regardless of direction) must be removed and replaced 
with bolts that meet the requirements of this section.

Figure D-6

    (b) Manhole steps. (1) Manhole steps installed before (date 90 days 
after the effective date of the final rule) must be capable of 
supporting their maximum intended load.
    (2) The employer must ensure that manhole steps installed on or 
after (date 90 days after the effective date of the final rule):
    (i) Are provided with slip-resistant surfaces such as, corrugated, 
knurled, or dimpled surfaces; 
    (ii) Are constructed of, or coated with, a material that will 
retard corrosion of the step if used in corrosive environments; 
    (iii) Have a minimum clear step width of 10 inches (25 cm); 
    (iv) Are spaced uniformly, not more than 16 inches (41 cm) apart; 
    Exception to paragraph (b)(2)(iv) of this section: The spacing from 
the entry and exit surface to the first manhole step may be different 
from the spacing between the other steps.
    (v) Have a minimum perpendicular distance between the centerline of 
the manhole step to the nearest permanent object in back of the step of 
at least 4.5 inches (11 cm); and
    (vi) Are designed to prevent the employee's foot from slipping or 
sliding off the end of the manhole step.
    (3) Manhole steps must be visually inspected before each use and be 
maintained in accordance with Sec.  1910.22.


Sec.  1910.25  Stairways.

    (a) General requirements. (1) This section covers all stairs 
including standard stairs, spiral stairs, ship stairs, and alternating 
tread-type stairs. This section does not cover: Stairs serving floating 
roof tanks; stairs on scaffolds; stairs designed into a machine or 
piece of equipment; or stairs on self-propelled motorized mobile 
equipment.
    (2) Handrails and stair rail systems must be provided as required 
in Sec.  1910.28.

    Note to paragraph (a)(2) of this section:  The top rail of a 
stair rail system may also serve as a handrail when installed in 
accordance with Sec.  1910.29(f).

    (3) Except as required in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, 
vertical clearance above any stair tread to an overhead obstruction 
must be at least 6 feet, 8 inches (2.1 m) measured from the leading 
edge of the tread.
    (4) Stairs must be installed with uniform riser heights and tread 
depths between landings.
    (5) Stairway landings and platforms must be no less than the width 
of the stair and not less than 30 inches (76 cm) in length as measured 
in the direction of travel.
    (6) When a door or a gate opens directly on a stairway, a platform 
must be provided, and the swing of the door or gate must not reduce the 
effective usable depth to less than 20 inches (51 cm) for platforms 
installed before (date 90 days after the effective date of the final 
rule) and 22 inches (56 cm) for platforms installed on or after (date 
90 days after the effective date of the final rule). (See Figure D-7.)
    (7) Stairs must be designed and constructed to carry five times the 
normal anticipated live load, but never less than a concentrated load 
of 1,000 pounds (454 kg) applied at any point.
    (8) Standard stairs must be provided for access from one walking-
working surface to another where operations necessitate regular and 
routine travel between levels and for access to operating platforms for 
equipment. However, winding stairways may be installed on tanks and 
similar round structures when the diameter of the structure is five (5) 
feet (1.5 m) or more.
    (9) Spiral stairs, ship stairs, or alternating tread-type stairs 
are not permitted except for special limited usage and secondary access 
situations when the employer can demonstrate it is not practical to 
provide a standard stairway.

Figure D-7 and D-8
Door or Gate Openening to Stairway, Dimensions of Standard Stairs

    (b) Standard stairs. In addition to paragraph (a) of this section, 
standard stairs must:
    (1) Be installed at angles between 30 and 50 degrees from the 
horizontal; 
    (2) Have a maximum riser height of 9.5 inches (24 cm); 
    (3) Have a minimum tread depth of 9.5 inches (24 cm), except when 
open risers are used; and
    (4) Have a minimum width of 22 inches (56 cm) between vertical 
barriers.


    (c) Spiral stairways. In addition to paragraph (a) of this section, 
spiral stairways must have:
    (1) A clear width not less than 26 inches (66 cm); 
    (2) Risers with a maximum height of 9.5 inches (24 cm); 
    (3) A minimum headroom above the spiral stairway of 6 feet, 6 
inches (2 m) measured vertically from the center of the leading edge of 
the tread; 
    (4) Treads with a minimum depth of 7.5 inches (19 cm) at a point 12 
inches (30 cm) from the narrowest edge; and
    (5) Uniform size treads.
    (d) Ship stairs. In addition to paragraph (a) of this section, ship 
stairs must:
    (1) Be installed at a slope of 50 to 70 degrees from the 
horizontal; 
    (2) Have open risers; and
    (3) Have treads with a minimum depth of 4 inches (10 cm), a minimum 
width of 18 inches (46 cm), and a vertical rise between tread surfaces 
in the range of 6.5 to 12 inches (17 to 30 cm).

Figure D-9

    (e) Alternating tread-type stairs. In addition to paragraph (a) of 
this section, alternating tread-type stairs must have:
    (1) A series of steps installed at a slope between 50 and 70 
degrees from the horizontal; 
    (2) A distance of 20 to 24 inches (51 to 61 cm) between the 
handrails; 
    (3) Treads with a minimum depth of 8.5 inches (22 cm); 
    (4) Open risers if the depth is less than 9.5 (24 cm) inches; and
    (5) Treads that are a minimum of 7 inches (18 cm) wide at the 
nosing (i.e., leading edge of a tread).


Sec.  1910.26  Dockboards (bridge plates).

    (a) Portable and powered dockboards must be capable of supporting 
their maximum intended load.
    (b) Dockboards put into service on or after (date 90 days after the 
effective date of the final rule) must be designed, constructed, and 
maintained to prevent equipment from running off the edge.
    (c) Portable dockboards must be secured in position by anchoring or 
equipping them with devices which will prevent their slipping. Where 
this is infeasible, the employer must ensure there is substantial 
contact between the portable dockboard and the unattached surface or 
surfaces.
    (d) Vehicles onto which a dockboard has been placed must be 
prevented from moving (e.g., using wheel chocks or sand shoes) while 
the dockboard is being used by employees.
    (e) Portable dockboards must be equipped with handholds or other 
means to permit safe handling.


Sec.  1910.27  Scaffolds (including rope descent systems).

    (a) Scaffolds. Scaffolds, other than rope descent systems, used in 
general industry must meet the requirements for scaffolds in part 1926 
(Safety and Health Regulations for Construction) of this chapter.
    (b) Rope descent systems. (1) The use of a rope descent system is 
prohibited for heights greater than 300 feet (91 m) above grade unless 
the employer can demonstrate that access cannot otherwise be attained 
safely and practicably.
    (2) When rope descent systems are used, employers must:
    (i) Use equipment in accordance with the instructions, warnings, 
and design limitations set by manufacturers and distributors.
    (ii) Train employees in accordance with Sec.  1910.30; 
    (iii) Inspect all equipment used in rope descent systems each day 
before use and remove damaged equipment from service; 
    (iv) Use proper rigging, including sound anchorages and tiebacks, 
with particular emphasis on providing tiebacks when counterweights, 
cornice hooks, or similar non-permanent anchorages are used; 
    (v) Use a separate, independent personal fall arrest system meeting 
the requirements of subpart I of this part; 
    (vi) Ensure that all lines are capable of sustaining a minimum 
tensile load of 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg); 
    (vii) Provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a 
fall; 
    (viii) Ensure ropes are effectively padded where they contact edges 
of the building, anchorage, obstructions, or other surfaces which might 
cut or weaken the rope; 
    (ix) Provide for stabilization at the specific work location when 
descents are greater than 130 feet (39.6 m); 
    (x) Secure equipment, such as tools, squeegees, or buckets by a 
tool lanyard or similar method to prevent equipment from falling; and,
    (xi) Protect suspension ropes from exposure to open flames, hot 
work, corrosive chemicals, or other destructive conditions.


Sec.  1910.28  Duty to have fall protection.

    (a) General. (1) This section sets requirements for employers to 
provide fall protection. All fall protection required by this section 
must conform to the criteria set forth in Sec.  1910.29, except that 
personal fall protection systems (for example, personal fall arrest 
systems, restraint systems, and positioning device systems) must 
conform to the criteria set forth in subpart I of this part. This 
section does not apply to: Fall hazards presented by the exposed 
perimeters of entertainment stages or rail station platforms. 
Additionally, this section does not apply to powered platforms covered 
by Sec.  1910.66(j), aerial lifts covered by Sec.  1910.67(c)(2)(v), 
the portion of telecommunications work covered by Sec.  1910.268(n)(7) 
and (n)(8), or the portion of electric power generation, transmission, 
and distribution work covered by Sec.  1910.269(g)(2)(v).
    (2) The employer must ensure that the walking-working surfaces used 
by its employees have the strength and structural integrity to support 
them safely, before allowing employees to work on those surfaces.
    (b) Protection from fall hazards--(1) Unprotected sides and edges. 
The employer shall ensure that each employee on a walking-working 
surface (horizontal and vertical) with an unprotected side or edge 
which is 4 feet (1.2 m) or more above a lower level is protected from 
falling by the use of one or more of the following:
    (i) Guardrail systems meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of 
this subpart; 
    (ii) Designated area meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of 
this subpart; 
    (iii) Safety net systems meeting the requirements part 1926 of this 
chapter; 
    (iv) Travel restraint systems meeting the requirements of subpart I 
of this part; or,
    (v) Personal fall arrest systems meeting the requirements of 
subpart I of this part.
    (vi) When the employer demonstrates that use of guardrails on the 
"working side" of platforms used in slaughtering facilities, or at 
loading racks, loading docks, or teeming platforms, is infeasible, the 
work may be done without guardrails provided:
    (A) The work operation for which guardrails are infeasible is in 
process; 
    (B) Access to the platform is limited to authorized employees; and,
    (C) The authorized employees have been trained in accordance with 
Sec.  1910.30.
    (2) Hoist areas. (i) Each employee in a hoist area must be 
protected from falling 4 feet (1.2 m) or more to lower levels by a 
guardrail system meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of this 
subpart; or a personal fall arrest system or a travel restraint system 
meeting the requirements of subpart I of this part.
    (ii) If guardrail systems, chains, gates, or portions thereof, are 
removed to facilitate the hoisting operation (e.g., during landing of 
materials), and an employee must lean through the access opening or out 
over the edge of the access opening (for example, to receive or guide 
equipment and materials), that employee must be protected from fall 
hazards by a personal fall arrest system meeting the requirements of 
subpart I of this part. In addition, a grab handle must be provided on 
each side of the opening.
    (3) Holes. (i) Each employee on walking-working surfaces must be 
protected from falling through holes (including skylights) more than 4 
feet (1.2 m) above lower levels by:
    (A) Covers meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of this 
subpart; 
    (B) A guardrail system meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of 
this subpart; 
    (C) A travel restraint system meeting the requirements of subpart I 
of this part; or,
    (D) A personal fall arrest system meeting the requirements of 
subpart I of this part.
    (ii) Each employee on a walking-working surface must be protected 
from tripping in or stepping into or through holes by covers meeting 
the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of this subpart.
    (iii) Each employee on a walking-working surface must be protected 
from objects falling through overhead holes by covers meeting the 
requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of this subpart.
    (4) Dockboards (bridge plates). (i) Each employee on a dockboard 
must be protected from falling 4 feet (1.2 m) or more to lower levels 
by a guardrail or handrail system, except as provided by (b)(4)(ii) of 
this section.
    (ii) Fall protection (guardrail or handrail systems) is not 
required when:
    (A) Dockboards are being used solely for materials handling 
operations with motorized equipment; 
    (B) Employees engaged in those operations are exposed to fall 
hazards of 10 feet (3 m) or less; and
    (C) Those employees have been trained, in accordance with Sec.  
1910.30, to recognize and avoid the hazards associated with this work. 
Training must include instruction in the proper placement and securing 
of dockboards, securing of vehicles, and the proper use of materials 
handling equipment.
    (5) Runways and similar walkways. (i) Each employee on a runway or 
similar walkway must be protected from falling 4 feet (1.2 m) or more 
to lower levels by a guardrail system. Wherever tools, machine parts or 
objects are likely to be used on the runway, a toeboard must also be 
provided along each exposed side.
    (ii) Runways used exclusively for special purposes may have the 
railing on one side omitted when the employer demonstrates that 
operating conditions necessitate such an omission, provided the 
employer minimizes the fall hazard by providing a runway that is at 
least 18 inches (46 cm) wide, and providing employees with, and 
ensuring the proper use of, personal fall arrest systems or travel 
restraint systems meeting the requirements of subpart I of this part.
    (6) Dangerous equipment. (i) Each employee less than 4 feet (1.2 m) 
above dangerous equipment must be protected from falling into or onto 
the dangerous equipment by a guardrail or a travel restraint system 
unless the equipment is covered or guarded to eliminate the hazard.
    (ii) Each employee 4 feet (1.2 m) or more above dangerous equipment 
must be protected from fall hazards by:
    (A) A guardrail system meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of 
this subpart; 
    (B) A safety net system meeting the requirements part 1926 of this 
chapter; 
    (C) A travel restraint system meeting the requirements of subpart I 
of this part; or
    (D) A personal fall arrest system meeting the requirements of 
subpart I of this part.
    (7) Wall openings. Each employee working on, at, above, or near 
wall openings (including those with chutes attached) where the outside 
bottom edge of the wall opening is 4 feet (1.2 m) or more above lower 
levels and the inside bottom edge of the wall opening is less than 39 
inches (99 cm) above the walking-working surface, must be protected 
from falling by the use of:
    (i) A guardrail system meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of 
this subpart; 
    (ii) A designated area meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of 
this subpart; 
    (iii) A safety net system meeting the requirements of part 1926 of 
this chapter; 
    (iv) A travel restraint system meeting the requirements of subpart 
I of this part; or,
    (v) A personal fall arrest systems meeting the requirements of 
subpart I of this part.
    (8) Repair, service, and assembly pits (pits) less than 10 feet in 
depth. Repair, service, and assembly pits less than 10 feet (3 m) deep 
need not be protected by a fall protection system provided that the 
following requirements are met:
    (i) Access to any area within 6 feet (1.8 m) of the edge of the pit 
is limited to trained, authorized employees; 
    (ii) Floor markings in colors contrasting to that of the 
surrounding area are applied, or rope, wire, or chain with support 
stanchions meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29(d), or a 
combination of these are placed at a distance of at least 6 feet (1.8 
m) from the edge of the pit; and,
    (iii) Caution signs stating, "Caution--Open Floor," or a similar 
legend, are posted so that they are readily visible to employees 
entering the pit area.

    Note to paragraph (b)(8)(iii) of this section:  Caution signs 
must meet the requirements of Sec.  1910.145.

    (9) Fixed ladders. The following requirements apply to all fixed 
ladders except those used in outdoor advertising. Requirements for 
fixed ladders used in outdoor advertising are found in Sec.  
1910.28(b)(10).
    (i) Fixed ladders must be provided with cages, wells, ladder safety 
systems, or personal fall protection systems when the length of the 
climb is less than 24 feet (7.3 m), but the top of the ladder is at a 
distance greater than 24 feet (7.3 m) above lower levels.
    (ii) Where the total length of a climb equals or exceeds 24 feet 
(7.3 m), fixed ladders must be equipped with one of the following:
    (A) Ladder safety system meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 
of this subpart; 
    (B) Personal fall protection system meeting the requirements of 
subpart I of this part, and rest platforms at intervals not to exceed 
150 ft (45.7 m); or
    (C) A cage or well, and multiple ladder sections, with each ladder 
section not to exceed 50 feet (15.2 m) in length. Ladder sections must 
be offset from adjacent sections, and landing platforms must be 
provided at maximum intervals of 50 feet (15.2 m).

    Note to paragraph (b)(9) of this section:  Total length of climb 
is the total vertical distance that an employee could climb when 
traveling between the start of a climb to the finished height of the 
climb. This total distance includes all ladder segments of a climb, 
as well as any vertical distance in between ladder segments.

    (10) Outdoor advertising (billboards). The employer must ensure 
that: (i) For climbs on the fixed ladder of up to 50 feet (15.2 m), or 
heights of up to 65 feet (19.8 m) from grade, each employee who climbs 
a combination of a portable and a fixed ladder wears a body belt or 
body harness equipped with an appropriate 18 inch (46 cm) rest lanyard 
as a means to tie off to the fixed ladder as required by subpart I of 
this part.
    (ii) Each employee who climbs a combination of a portable and a 
fixed ladder where the length of the fixed ladder climb exceeds 50 feet 
(15.2 m), or where the ladder ascends to heights exceeding 65 feet 
(19.8 m) from grade is protected through the installation of an 
appropriate ladder safety system for the entire length of the fixed 
ladder climb.
    (iii) Each employee who climbs fixed ladders equipped with ladder 
safety systems uses the systems properly, and follows appropriate 
procedures for inspection and maintenance of the systems.
    (iv) All ladder safety systems installed on fixed ladders are 
properly maintained and used.
    (v) Each employee who routinely climbs fixed ladders undergoes 
training and demonstrates the physical capability to perform the 
necessary climbs safely. Each employee must satisfy the criteria for 
qualified climber found in Sec.  1910.29(h).
    (vi) Each employee keeps both hands free of tools or material when 
ascending or descending a ladder.
    (vii) Each employee is protected by an appropriate fall protection 
system upon reaching his or her work position.
    (11) Stairways. (i) Each employee exposed to a fall of 4 feet (1.2 
m) or more to lower levels from an unprotected side or edge of a 
stairway landing must be protected by a guardrail or stair rail system.
    (ii) Every flight of stairs having 3 treads and 4 or more risers 
must be equipped with stair railing systems and hand rails as follows:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                With earth built
          Stair width               Enclosed          One open side          Two open sides     up on both sides
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Less than 44 inches (1.1 m)...  At least one      One stair rail system  One stair rail system
                                 handrail.         with handrail on       with handrail on
                                                   open side.             each open side.
44 inches (1.1 m) through 88    One handrail on   One stair rail system  One stair rail system
 inches (2.2 m).                 each enclosed     with handrail on       with handrail on
                                 side.             open side.             each open side.
Greater than 88 inches (2.2 m)  One handrail on   One stair rail system  One stair rail system
                                 each enclosed     with handrail on       with handrail on
                                 side and one      open side and one      each open side and
                                 intermediate      intermediate           one intermediate
                                 handrail          handrail located in    handrail located in
                                 located in the    the middle of the      the middle of the
                                 middle of the     stair.                 stair.
                                 stair.
Exterior stairs less than 44    ................  .....................  .....................  One handrail on
 inches (1.1 m).                                                                                 at least one
                                                                                                 side.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note to table: The width of the stair must be clear of all obstructions except handrails.

    (iii) Notwithstanding the table above, where ship stairs or 
alternating tread type stairs are installed, they must be equipped with 
handrails on both sides.
    (12) Scaffolds (inlcuding rope descent systems). (i) Each employee 
on a scaffold must be protected from falls in accordance with part 1926 
of this chapter.
    (ii) Each employee using a rope descent system must be protected 
from falling 4 feet (1.2 m) or more to lower levels by a personal fall 
arrest system meeting the requirements of subpart I of this part.
    (13) Walking-working surfaces not otherwise addressed. Except as 
provided in this section or by fall protection provisions of other 
subparts of part 1910, each employee on a walking-working surface 4 
feet (1.2 m) or more above lower levels must be protected from falling 
by:
    (i) A guardrail system meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of 
this subpart; 
    (ii) A designated area meeting the requirements of Sec.  1910.29 of 
this subpart; 
    (iii) A safety net system meeting the requirements of part 1926 of 
this chapter; 
    (iv) A travel restraint system meeting the requirements of subpart 
I of this part; or,
    (v) A personal fall arrest system meeting the requirements of 
subpart I of this part.
    (14) Protection for floor holes. (i) Every stairway floor hole 
shall be guarded by a guardrail system constructed in accordance with 
paragraph Sec.  1910.29(b) of this subpart. The guardrail system shall 
be provided on all exposed sides (except at the entrance to the 
stairway). For infrequently used stairways where traffic across the 
opening prevents the use of a fixed guardrail system (as when located 
in aisle spaces), employers have the option of using a guard that 
consists of a hinged floor-opening cover of standard strength and 
construction, and a removable guardrail system on all exposed sides 
(except at the entrance to stairway).
    Note to paragraph Sec.  1910.28(b)(14)(i):  For the purpose of 
this provision, the term "infrequently" means use of the stairway 
on less than a daily basis.

    (ii) Every ladderway floor hole or platform shall be guarded by a 
guardrail system with toeboards on all exposed sides (except at 
entrance to the hole), with the passage through the guardrail system 
provided by a swinging gate or offset such that an employee cannot walk 
directly into the ladderway floor hole.
    (iii) Every hatchway and chute-floor hole shall be guarded by one 
of the following:
    (A) A hinged floor-hole cover of standard strength and construction 
equipped with a guardrail system permanently attached so as to leave 
only one exposed side. When the hole is not in use, the cover shall be 
closed or the exposed side shall be guarded by a removable guardrail 
system with top and mid rails; 
    (B) A removable guardrail system with toeboard on not more than two 
sides of the hole and fixed guardrail system with toeboards on all 
other exposed sides. The removable guardrail system shall remain in 
place when the hole is not in use; or
    (C) When operating conditions require feeding material through a 
hatchway or chute hole, each employee shall be protected from falling 
through the hole by a guardrail system or a travel-restraint system.
    (c) Protection from falling objects. When an employee is exposed to 
falling objects, the employer must ensure that each employee wear head 
protection meeting the requirements of subpart I of this part, and must 
implement one or more of the following measures:
    (1) Erect toeboards, screens, or guardrail systems to prevent 
objects from falling from higher levels; 
    (2) Erect a canopy structure and keep potential falling objects far 
enough from the edge of the higher level so that those objects would 
not go over the edge if they were accidentally displaced; or
    (3) Barricade the area to which objects could fall, prohibit 
employees from entering the barricaded area, and keep objects far 
enough from the edge so those objects do not go over the edge.


Sec.  1910.29  Fall protection systems criteria and practices.

    (a) General. (1) Fall protection systems required by this part must 
comply with the applicable provisions of this section except that 
personal fall protection systems, including all body belts and body 
harnesses, must meet the applicable requirements of subpart I of this 
part.
    (2) Employers must provide and install all fall protection systems 
required by this subpart and must comply with all other pertinent 
requirements (including training) of this subpart before any employee 
begins work that necessitates fall protection.
    (b) Guardrail systems. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(16) of 
this section, guardrail systems, and their use must comply with the 
following provisions:
    (1) Top edge height of top rails, or equivalent guardrail system 
members, must be 42 inches (107 cm) plus or minus 3 inches (8 cm) above 
the walking-working level. When conditions warrant, the height of the 
top edge may exceed the 45-inch (114 cm) height, provided the guardrail 
system meets all other criteria of paragraph (b) of this section.
    (2) Midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, or 
equivalent intermediate structural members must be installed between 
the top edge of the guardrail system and the walking-working surface 
when there is no wall or parapet wall at least 21 inches (53 cm) high.
    (i) Midrails, when used, must be installed at a height midway 
between the top edge of the guardrail system and the walking-working 
level.
    (ii) Screens and mesh, when used, must extend from the top rail to 
the walking-working level and along the entire opening between top rail 
supports.
    (iii) Intermediate members (such as balusters), when used between 
posts, must be not more than 19 inches (48 cm) apart.
    (iv) Other structural members (such as additional midrails and 
architectural panels) must be installed such that there are no openings 
in the guardrail system that are more than 19 inches (48 cm) wide.
    (3) Guardrail systems must be capable of withstanding, without 
failure, a force of at least 200 pounds (890 N) applied within 2 inches 
(5 cm) of the top edge, in any outward or downward direction, at any 
point along the top edge.
    (4) When the 200-pound (890-N) test load specified in paragraph 
(b)(3) of this section is applied in a downward direction, the top edge 
of the guardrail must not deflect to a height less than 39 inches (99 
cm) above the walking-working level.
    (5) Midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, solid 
panels, and equivalent structural members must be capable of 
withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 150 pounds (667 N) 
applied in any downward or outward direction at any point along the 
midrail or other member.
    (6) Guardrail systems must be surfaced to prevent injury to an 
employee from punctures or lacerations, and to prevent snagging of 
clothing.
    (7) The ends of all top rails and midrails must not overhang the 
terminal posts, except where such overhang does not constitute a 
projection hazard.
    (8) Steel banding and plastic banding must not be used as top rails 
or midrails.
    (9) Top rails and midrails must be at least 0.25-inches (0.6 cm) in 
diameter or thickness.
    (10) When guardrail systems are used at hoisting areas, a chain 
gate or removable guardrail section must be placed across the access 
opening between guardrail sections when hoisting operations are not 
taking place.
    (11) When guardrail systems are used at holes, they must be erected 
on all unprotected sides or edges of the hole.
    (12) When guardrail systems are used around holes used for the 
passage of materials, the hole must have not more than two sides 
provided with removable guardrail sections to allow the passage of 
materials. When the hole is not in use, it must either be closed over 
with a cover or a guardrail system must be provided along all 
unprotected sides or edges.
    (13) When guardrail systems are used around holes used as points of 
access (such as ladderways), they must either be provided with a gate, 
or be so offset that a person cannot walk directly into the hole.
    (14) Guardrail systems used on ramps and runways must be erected 
along each unprotected side or edge.
    (15) Manila, plastic, or synthetic rope being used for top rails or 
midrails must be inspected as frequently as necessary to ensure that it 
continues to meet the strength requirements of paragraph (b)(3) of this 
section.
    (16) Criteria for guardrail systems on scaffolds must meet the 
applicable requirements set forth in part 1926 of this chapter.

Figure D-10

    (c) Safety net systems. Criteria for safety net systems must meet 
the applicable requirements set forth in part 1926 of this chapter.
    (d) Designated areas. (1) Where designated areas are permitted by 
Sec.  1910.28 (see Sec.  1910.28(b)(1)), the employer must ensure that:
    (i) Employees remain within the designated area while work 
operations are underway; 
    (ii) The work be of a temporary nature, such as maintenance on 
roof-top equipment; 
    (iii) Designated areas be established only on surfaces that have a 
slope from the horizontal of 10 degrees or less (or slope of 4 in 12 or 
less); and
    (iv) The perimeter of the designated area be delineated with a line 
consisting of a rope, wire, or chain in accordance with the criteria in 
paragraphs (d)(2) through (d)(4) of this section.
    (2) After being erected with the line (such as rope, wire, or 
chain) attached:
    (i) Stanchions must be capable of resisting, without tipping over, 
a force of at least 16 pounds (71 N) applied horizontally against the 
stanchion. The force must be applied 30 inches (76 cm) above the work 
surface and perpendicular to the designated area perimeter, and in the 
direction of the unprotected side or edge; 
    (ii) The line must have a minimum breaking or tensile strength of 
500 pounds (2.2 kN). After being attached to the stanchions, the line 
must be capable of supporting, without breaking, the loads applied to 
the stanchions as prescribed in paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section; 
    (iii) The line must be attached at each stanchion in such a way 
that pulling on one section of the line between stanchions will not 
result in slack being taken up in adjacent sections before the 
stanchion tips over; 
    (iv) The line must be installed in such a manner that its lowest 
point (including sag) is no less than 34 inches (86 cm) or more than 39 
inches (99 cm) from the walking-working surface; and
    (v) The line forming the designated area must be clearly visible 
from any unobstructed location within the designated area up to 25 feet 
(7.6 m) away, or at the maximum distance a worker may be positioned 
away from the line, whichever is less.
    (3)(i) Stanchions must be erected as close to the work area as is 
permitted by the task.
    (ii) The perimeter of the designated area must be erected at least 
6 feet (1.8 m) from the unprotected side or edge.
    (iii) When mobile mechanical equipment is being used, the line must 
be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 m) from the unprotected side or 
edge which is parallel to the direction of mechanical equipment 
operation, and not less than 10 feet (3 m) from the unprotected side or 
edge which is perpendicular to the direction of mechanical equipment 
operation.
    (4) Access to the designated area must be by a clear path, formed 
by two lines, attached to stanchions that meet the strength, height, 
and visibility requirements of this paragraph.
    (e) Covers. Covers for holes in floors, roofs, and other walking-
working surfaces must meet the following requirements:
    (1) Covers located in roadways and vehicular aisles must be capable 
of supporting, without failure, at least twice the maximum axle load of 
the largest vehicle expected to cross over the cover.
    (2) All other covers must be capable of supporting, without 
failure, at least twice the weight of employees, equipment, and 
materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.
    (3) All covers must be secured when installed so as to prevent 
accidental displacement, e.g., displacement by wind, equipment, or 
employees.
    (4) All covers must be color-coded or marked with the word "HOLE" 
or "COVER" to provide warning of the hazard.
    (5) The requirement of paragraph (e)(4) does not apply to cast iron 
manhole covers or steel grates, such as those used on streets or 
roadways.
    (f) Handrail and stair rail systems. (1) Height criteria. (i) 
Handrails may not be less than 30 inches (76 cm) or more than 37 inches 
(94 cm) from the upper surface of the tread.
    (ii) The height of stair rail systems installed before (date 90 
days after the effective date of the final rule) must not be less than 
30 inches (76 cm) from the upper surface of the tread. The height of 
stair rail systems installed on or after (date 90 days after the 
effective date of the final rule) must be not less than 36 inches (91 
cm).

    Note to paragraphs (f)(1)(i) and (f)(1)(ii) of this section:  
The height of a handrail or a stair rail system must be measured 
from the upper surface of the top rail to the surface of the tread 
in line with the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread.

    (iii) A stair rail may serve as a handrail when the height of the 
top edge is not more than 37 inches (94 cm) nor less than 36 inches (91 
cm) when measured at the forward edge of the tread surface.
    (2) Finger clearance. The minimum clearance between handrails, 
including the top edge of stair rail systems serving as handrails, and 
any obstructions must be 3 inches (8 cm).
    (3) Surfaces. Handrail and stair rail systems must be surfaced to 
prevent injury to employees from punctures or lacerations, and to prevent 
snagging of clothing.
    (4) Openings in stair rails. Openings in a stair rail system must 
be a maximum of 19 inches (48 cm) in their least dimension.
    (5) Handhold. Handrails must have the shape and dimension necessary 
to provide a firm handhold for employees.
    (6) Projection hazards. Ends of stair rail systems and handrails 
must not present a projection hazard.
    (7) Strength criteria. Handrails and the top rails of stair rail 
systems must be capable of withstanding, without permanent deformation 
or a loss of support, a force in any downward or outward direction at 
any point along the top edge, of at least 200 pounds (890 N) applied 
within 2 inches (5 cm) of the top edge of the rail.

Figures D-11 and D-12

    (g) Cages, wells, and platforms used with fixed ladders. (1) Cages 
and wells installed on fixed ladders must be designed to permit easy 
access to or egress from the ladder that they enclose. The cages and 
wells must be continuous throughout the length of the fixed ladder 
except for access, egress, and other transfer points. Cages and wells 
must be designed and constructed to contain employees in the event of a 
fall and to direct them to a lower landing.
    (2) Platforms used with fixed ladders must provide a horizontal 
surface of at least 24 inches by 30 inches (61 cm by 76 cm).

Figures D-13 and D-14

    (h) Qualified Climbers. This option is available only to employees 
engaged in outdoor advertising operations, as established by Sec.  
1910.28(b)(10).
    (1) A qualified climber must be physically capable, as demonstrated 
through observations of actual climbing activities or by a physical 
examination, of performing the duties that may be assigned.
    (2) A qualified climber must have successfully completed a training 
or apprenticeship program that included hands-on training for the safe 
climbing of ladders and must be retrained as necessary to ensure the 
necessary skills are maintained.
    (3) The employer must ensure through performance observations and 
formal classroom or on-the-job training that the qualified climber has 
the skill to safely perform the climb.
    (4) A qualified climber must perform climbing duties as a routine 
work activity.
    (i) Ladder safety systems. (1) Design criteria for systems 
components. Ladder safety systems must permit the employee using the 
system to ascend or descend without continually having to hold, push, 
or pull any part of the system, leaving both hands free for climbing.
    (2) The connection between the carrier or lifeline and the point of 
attachment to the body belt or harness must not exceed 9 inches (23 cm) 
in length.
    (3) Mountings for rigid carriers must be attached at each end of 
the carrier, with intermediate mountings, as necessary, spaced along 
the entire length of the carrier to provide strength necessary to stop 
employee falls.
    (4) Mountings for flexible carriers must be attached at each end of 
the carrier. Cable guides utilized with a flexible carrier must be 
installed at a minimum spacing of 25 feet (7.6 m) and a maximum spacing 
of 40 feet (12.2 m) along the entire length of the carrier.
    (5) The design and installation of mountings and cable guides must 
not reduce the design strength of the ladder.
    (6) Ladder safety systems and their support systems must be capable 
of withstanding without failure a drop test consisting of an 18-inch 
(41-cm) drop of a 500-pound (227-kg) weight.
    (j) Personal fall protection systems. Body belts, harnesses, and 
other components used in personal fall arrest systems, work positioning 
systems, and travel restraint systems must meet the applicable 
requirements of subpart I of this part.
    (k) Protection from falling objects. Toeboards, guardrails, and 
canopies, when used as falling object protection, must comply with the 
following provisions:
    (1) Toeboards must be erected along the edge of the overhead 
walking-working surface for a distance sufficient to protect employees 
below.
    (2) Toeboards must be: (i) A minimum of 3.5 inches (9 cm) in 
vertical height from their top edge to the level of the walking-working 
surface. They must have not more than a 0.25-inch (0.5-cm) clearance 
above the walking-working surface. They must be solid or have openings 
not over 1 inch (3 cm) in the greatest dimension; 
    (ii) At least 2.5 inches (6 cm) high where toeboards are used 
around repair, service, and assembly pits, except that toeboards may be 
omitted at sections around the pits where the toeboard would prevent 
access to vehicles over pits.
    (3) Where tools, equipment, or materials are piled higher than the 
top edge of a toeboard, paneling or screening must be erected from the 
walking-working surface or toeboard to the top of a guardrail system's 
top rail or midrail for a distance sufficient to protect employees.
    (4) Toeboards must be capable of withstanding, without failure, a 
force of at least 50 pounds (222 N) applied in any downward or outward 
direction at any point along the toeboard.
    (5) All openings on guardrail systems must be small enough to 
prevent passage of potential falling objects.
    (6) Canopies must be strong enough to prevent collapse and to 
prevent penetration by any falling objects.
    (l) Grab handles. Each grab handle must be no less than 12 inches 
(30 cm) in length, be mounted to give at least 3 inches (8 cm) of 
clearance from the framing or opening, and be capable of withstanding a 
maximum horizontal pull-out force equal to two times the intended load 
or 200 pounds (890 N), whichever is greater.


Sec.  1910.30  Training requirements.

    (a) Fall Hazards. (1) The employer must provide training for each 
employee who uses personal fall protection equipment and those required 
to be trained as indicated elsewhere in this subpart. The training must 
enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and the 
procedures to be followed to minimize these hazards.
    (2) The employer must ensure that each employee is trained by a 
qualified person. The employee must be trained in the following areas:
    (i) The nature of fall hazards in the work area; 
    (ii) The correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, 
disassembling, and inspecting the fall protection systems to be used; 
    (iii) The use and operation of guardrail systems, safety net 
systems, warning lines used in designated areas, and other protection; 
and
    (iv) The use, operation, and limitations of personal fall 
protection systems including proper hook-up, anchoring and tie-off 
techniques, methods of use, and proper methods of equipment inspection 
and storage as recommended by the manufacturer.
    (b) Equipment hazards. (1) The employer must ensure that each 
employee is trained in the proper care, use, and inspection of 
equipment covered by this subpart before they use the equipment.
    (2) The employer must ensure that each employee is instructed in 
the proper placing and securing of dockboards to prevent unintentional 
movement.
    (3) The employer must ensure that each employee who uses rope 
descent systems is trained and retrained as necessary in the proper 
rigging and safe use of the equipment in accordance with Sec.  1910.27.
    (c) Retraining. When the employer has reason to believe that any 
employee who has already been trained does not have the understanding 
and skill required by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, the 
employer must retrain that employee. Situations where retraining is 
required include, but are not limited to, the following:
    (1) Changes in the workplace render previous training invalid; 
    (2) Changes in the types of fall protection systems or equipment to 
be used render previous training invalid; or
    (3) Inadequacies in an affected employee's knowledge or use of fall 
protection systems or equipment indicate that the employee has not 
retained the requisite understanding or skill.
    (d) Training must be understandable. The employer must provide 
information and training to each employee in a manner that is 
understandable to that employee.
    2. Revise the authority citation for subpart F of part 1910 to read 
as follows:

    Authority:  Secs. 4, 6, 8, Occupational Safety and Health Act of 
1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657); Secretary of Labor's Order No. 12-71 
(36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059) 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 
9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 
or 5-2007 (72 FR 31159), as applicable; and 29 CFR part 1911.

Subpart F--Powered Platforms, Manlifts, and Vehicle-Mounted Work 
Platforms

    3-4. In Sec.  1910.66:
    A. Revise paragraphs (f)(5)(ii)(L) and (M), (f)(5)(iii)(B), and 
(j); 
    B. Remove and reserve Appendix C; and
    C. Amend Appendix D by revising paragraph (c)(4) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  1910.66  Powered platforms for building maintenance.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (5) * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (L) The platform shall be provided with a secondary wire rope 
suspension system if the platform contains overhead structures which 
restrict the emergency egress of employees. A horizontal lifeline or a 
direct connection anchorage shall be provided, as part of a personal 
fall arrest system which meets the requirements of subpart I of this 
part, for each employee on such a platform.
    (M) A vertical lifeline shall be provided as part of a personal 
fall arrest system which meets the requirements of subpart I of this 
part, for each employee on a working platform suspended by two or more 
wire ropes, if the failure of one wire rope or suspension attachment 
will cause the platform to upset. If a secondary wire rope suspension 
is used, vertical lifelines are not required for the personal fall 
arrest system, provided that each employee is attached to a horizontal 
lifeline anchored to the platform.
    (iii) * * *
    (B) Each single point suspended working platform shall be provided 
with a secondary wire rope suspension system which will prevent the 
working platform from falling should there be a failure of the primary 
means of support, or if the platform contains overhead structures which 
restrict the egress of the employees. A horizontal lifeline or a direct 
connection anchorage shall be provided, as part of a personal fall 
arrest system which meets the requirements of subpart I of this part, 
for each employee on the platform.
* * * * *
    (j) Personal fall protection. Employees on working platforms shall 
be protected by a personal fall arrest system meeting the requirements 
of subpart I of this part and as otherwise provided by this standard.
* * * * *

Appendix C to Sec.  1910.66 [Reserved]

Appendix D to Sec.  1910.66--Existing Installations (Mandatory)

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (4) Access to the roof car. Safe access to the roof car and from 
the roof car to the working platform shall be provided. If the 
access to the roof car at any point of its travel is not over the 
roof area or where otherwise necessary for safety, then self-
closing, self-locking gates shall be provided. Applicable provisions 
of subpart D, Walking-Working Surfaces, apply.
* * * * *
    5. In Sec.  1910.67, revise paragraph (c)(2)(v) to read as follows:


Sec.  1910.67  Vehicle-mounted elevating and platforms.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (v) A positioning system or a personal fall arrest system which 
complies with subpart I of this part shall be worn and attached to the 
boom or basket when working from an aerial lift.
* * * * *

    6. In Sec.  1910.68, revise paragraphs (b)(8)(ii) and (b)(12) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  1910.68  Manlifts.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (8) * * *
    (ii) Construction. The rails shall be standard guardrails with 
toeboards meeting the provisions in subpart D of this part.
* * * * *
    (12) Emergency exit ladder. A fixed metal ladder accessible from 
both the "up" and "down" run of the manlift shall be provided for 
the entire travel of the manlift. Such escape ladders shall comply with 
subpart D of this part.
* * * * *

Subpart I--[Amended]

    7. The authority citation for subpart I is revised to read as 
follows:

    Authority: Sections 4, 6, and 8 of the Occupational Safety and 
Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657); Secretary of Labor's 
Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), 9-83 (48 FR 
35736), 1-90 (55 FR 9033), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), or 5-2007 (72 FR 
31159) as applicable, and 29 CFR part 1911.
    Sections 29 CFR 1910.133, 1910.135, and 1910.136 also issued 
under 5 U.S.C. 553.

    8. Paragraph (g) of Sec.  1910.132 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  1910.132  General requirements.

* * * * *
    (g) Paragraphs (d) and (f) of this section apply only to Sec. Sec.  
1910.133, 1910.135, 1910.136, 1910.138, and 1910.140. Paragraphs (d) 
and (f) of this section do not apply to Sec. Sec.  1910.134 and 
1910.137.


Sec.  1910.139  [Reserved]

    9. Section 1910.139 is reserved.
    10. Add new Sec.  1910.140 to read as follows:


Sec.  1910.140  Personal fall protection systems.

    (a) Scope and application. Personal fall protection systems 
required by part 1910 must comply with the applicable provisions of 
this section. This section establishes performance, care, and use 
criteria for all personal fall protection systems covered by this 
section. Additional requirements for specific types of personal fall 
protection systems are contained in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this 
section.
    (b) Definitions.
    Anchorage means a secure point of attachment for lifelines, 
lanyards, or deceleration devices.
    Belt terminal means an end attachment of a window cleaner's 
positioning system used for securing the belt or harness to a window 
cleaner's belt anchor.
    Body belt means a strap with means both for securing about the 
waist and for attaching to other components such as a lanyard or 
lifeline, used with positioning systems, travel restraint systems, or 
ladder safety systems.
    Body harness means straps which may be secured about the employee 
in a manner to distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the 
thighs, pelvis, waist, chest, and shoulders with means for attaching it 
to other components of a personal fall arrest system.
    Buckle means any device for holding the body belt or body harness 
closed around the employee's body.
    Carrier means the track of a ladder safety system consisting of a 
flexible cable or rigid rail which is secured to the ladder or 
structure by mountings.
    Competent person means a person who is capable of identifying 
hazardous or dangerous conditions in any personal fall protection 
system or any component thereof, as well as in their application and 
uses with related equipment.
    Connector means a device that is used to couple (connect) parts of 
the fall protection system together.
    D-ring means a connector used integrally in a harness as an 
attachment element or fall arrest attachment; in a lanyard, energy 
absorber, lifeline, or anchorage connector as an integral connector; or 
in a positioning or travel restraint system as an attachment element.
    Deceleration device means any mechanism that serves to dissipate 
energy during a fall.
    Deceleration distance means the vertical distance a falling 
employee travels before stopping, from the point at which the 
deceleration device begins to operate, excluding lifeline elongation 
and free fall distance. It is measured as the distance between the 
location of an employee's body harness attachment point at the moment 
of activation (at the onset of fall arrest forces) of the deceleration 
device during a fall, and location of that attachment point after the 
employee comes to a full stop.
    Equivalent means alternative designs, materials or methods to 
protect against a hazard, which the employer can demonstrate will 
provide an equal or greater degree of safety for employees compared to 
the methods, materials, or designs specified in the standard.
    Free fall means the act of falling before the personal fall arrest 
system begins to apply force to arrest the fall.
    Free fall distance means the vertical displacement of the fall 
arrest attachment point on the employee's body belt or body harness 
between onset of the fall and just before the system begins to apply 
force to arrest the fall. This distance excludes deceleration distance, 
lifeline and lanyard elongation, but includes any deceleration device 
slide distance or self-retracting lifeline/lanyard extension before the 
devices operate and fall arrest forces occur.
    Lanyard means a flexible line of rope, wire rope, or strap which 
generally has a connector at each end for connecting the body belt or 
body harness to a deceleration device, lifeline, or anchorage.
    Lifeline means a component consisting of a flexible line for 
connection to an anchorage at one end to hang vertically (vertical 
lifeline) or for connection to anchorages at both ends to stretch 
horizontally (horizontal lifeline), and which serves as a means for 
connecting other components of a personal fall protection system to the 
anchorage.
    Personal fall arrest system means a system used to arrest an 
employee in a fall from a working level. It consists of an anchorage, 
connector, and a body harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration 
device, lifeline, or suitable combinations of these.
    Personal fall protection system means a system used to protect an 
employee from falling, or to safely arrest an employee's fall, should a 
fall occur. Examples include: A personal fall arrest system, a 
positioning system, or a travel restraint system.
    Positioning system (sometimes called a work positioning system) 
means a system of equipment and connectors which, when used with its 
body belt or body harness, allows an employee to be supported on an 
elevated vertical surface, such as a wall or windowsill, and work with 
both hands free.
    Qualified means a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, 
certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, 
training, and experience has successfully demonstrated the ability to 
solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or 
the project.
    Rope grab means a deceleration device that travels on a lifeline 
and automatically, by friction, engages the lifeline and locks so as to 
arrest the fall of an employee. A rope grab usually employs the 
principle of inertial locking, cam/lever locking, or both.
    Self-retracting lifeline/lanyard means a deceleration device 
containing a drum-wound line which can be slowly extracted from, or 
retracted onto, the drum under slight tension during normal movement by 
the employee, and after onset of a fall, automatically locks the drum 
and arrests the fall.
    Snaphook means a connector comprised of a hook-shaped body with a 
normally closed gate or similar arrangement that may be manually opened 
to permit the hook to receive an object and when released, 
automatically closes and locks to retain the object. Opening requires 
two separate actions. Snaphooks are generally one of two types, namely:
    (1) Automatic-locking type (permitted) with a self-closing and 
self-locking gate which remains closed and locked until intentionally 
unlocked and opened for connection or disconnection; and
    (2) Non-locking type (prohibited) with a self-closing gate which 
remains closed, but not locked, until intentionally opened for 
connection or disconnection.
    Travel restraint (tether) line means a rope or wire rope used to 
transfer forces from a body support to an anchorage or anchorage 
connector in a travel restraint system.
    Travel restraint system means a combination of an anchorage, 
anchorage connector, lanyard (or other means of connection), and body 
support intended to be used by an employee to limit travel to prevent 
exposure to a fall hazard. A travel restraint system is used such that 
it does not support any portion of the employee's weight; otherwise the 
system would be a positioning system or a personal fall arrest system.
    Window cleaner's belt means a belt that consists of a waist-belt, 
an integral terminal runner or strap, and belt terminals.
    Window cleaner's belt anchor (window anchor) means specifically 
designed fall-preventing attachment points, permanently affixed to a 
window frame or to a building part immediately adjacent to the window 
frame, for direct attachment of the terminal portion of a window 
cleaner's belt.
    Window cleaner's positioning system means a system which consists 
of a window cleaner's belt secured to window anchors.
    Work positioning system (see "Positioning system" above).
    (c) General requirements. The following requirements apply to all 
personal fall protection systems.
    (1) Connectors must be drop forged, pressed or formed steel, or 
made of equivalent materials.
    (2) Connectors must have a corrosion-resistant finish, and all 
surfaces and edges must be smooth to prevent damage to interfacing 
parts of the system.
    (3) When vertical lifelines are used, each employee must be 
attached to a separate lifeline.
    (4) Lanyards and vertical lifelines must have a minimum breaking 
strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).

    Note to paragraph (c)(4) of this section:  The use of knots in 
lanyards and vertical lifelines may significantly reduce the 
breaking strength.

    (5) Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards that automatically limit 
free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less must have components 
capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 3,000 pounds (13.3 kN) 
applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully 
extended position.
    (6) Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards that do not limit free 
fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less, ripstitch lanyards, and 
tearing and deforming lanyards must be capable of sustaining a minimum 
tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) applied to the device with the 
lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.
    (7) D-rings and snaphooks must be capable of sustaining a minimum 
tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).
    (8) D-rings and snaphooks must be proof tested to a minimum tensile 
load of 3,600 pounds (16 kN) without cracking, breaking, or incurring 
permanent deformation.
    (9) Snaphooks must be the locking type, which require two separate, 
consecutive movements to open.
    (10) Unless designed for the following connections, snaphooks must 
not be connected:
    (i) Directly to webbing, rope, or wire rope; 
    (ii) To each other; 
    (iii) To a D-ring to which another snaphook or connector is 
attached; 
    (iv) To a horizontal life line; or
    (v) To any object that is incompatibly shaped or dimensioned in 
relation to the snaphook such that unintentional disengagement could 
occur when the connected object depresses the snaphook gate, allowing 
the components to separate.
    (11) Horizontal lifelines:
    (i) Must be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of 
a qualified person; and
    (ii) Must be part of a complete personal fall arrest system that 
maintains a safety factor of at least two.
    (12) Anchorages used for attachment to personal fall protection 
equipment must be independent of any anchorage being used to support or 
suspend platforms on which employees work.
    (13) Except for window cleaner's belt anchors, which are covered 
under paragraph (e) of this section, anchorages must be capable of 
supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) for each employee attached, 
or must be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of 
qualified person as part of a complete personal fall protection system 
that maintains a safety factor of at least two.
    (14) Travel restraint lines must be capable of sustaining a tensile 
load of at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).
    (15) Lifelines and carriers must not be made of natural fiber rope. 
When polypropylene ropes are used, they must contain an ultraviolet 
(UV) light inhibitor.
    (16) Personal fall protection systems and their components must be 
used exclusively for employee fall protection and not for any other 
purpose, such as hoisting equipment or materials.
    (17) A personal fall protection system or its components subjected 
to impact loading must be immediately removed from service and must not 
be used again for employee protection until a competent person inspects 
it and determines that it is undamaged and suitable for re-use.
    (18) Personal fall protection systems must be inspected before each 
use for mildew, wear, damage, and other deterioration, and defective 
components must be removed from service.
    (19) Ropes, belts, lanyards, and harnesses used for personal fall 
protection must be compatible with all connectors used.
    (20) Ropes, belts, lanyards, lifelines, and harnesses used for 
personal fall protection must be protected from being cut, abraded, 
melted, or otherwise damaged.
    (21) The employer must provide for prompt rescue of employees in 
the event of a fall.
    (22) Personal fall protection systems must be worn with the 
attachment point of the body harness located in the center of the 
wearer's back near shoulder level, or above the wearer's head, except 
that the attachment point may be located in the pre-sternal position if 
the free fall distance is limited to 2 feet (0.6 m) or less and the 
maximum arresting forces are limited to 900 lbs (4 kN).
    (d) Personal fall arrest systems--(1) System performance criteria. 
In addition to the general requirements in paragraph (c) of this 
section, personal fall arrest systems must, when stopping a fall:
    (i) Limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 
kN); 
    (ii) Bring an employee to a complete stop and limit the maximum
deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet (1.1 m); and
    (iii) Have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential 
impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of 6 feet (1.8 m), 
or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less.

    Note to paragraph (d)(1) of this section:  If the personal fall 
arrest system meets the criteria and protocols contained in Appendix 
D to Sec.  1910.140, and if the system is being used by an employee 
having a combined tool and body weight of less than 310 pounds (140 
kg), the system will be considered to be in compliance with the 
provisions of paragraphs (d)(1)(i) through (d)(1)(iii) of this 
section. If the system is used by an employee having a combined tool 
and body weight of 310 pounds (140 kg) or more, then the employer 
must appropriately modify the criteria and protocols of the appendix 
to provide proper protection for such heavier weights, or the system 
will not be deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of 
paragraphs (d)(1)(i) through (d)(1)(iii) of this section.

    (2) System use criteria.
    (i) On suspended scaffolds or similar work platforms with 
horizontal lifelines that may become vertical lifelines, the devices 
used to connect to the horizontal lifeline must be capable of locking 
in both directions on the lifeline.
    (ii) Personal fall arrest systems must be rigged in such a manner 
that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m) nor 
contact any lower level.
    (3) Body belts. Body belts are prohibited as part of a personal 
fall arrest system.
    (e) Positioning systems. In addition to the general requirements in 
paragraph (c) of this section, positioning systems must meet the 
following requirements.
    (1) System performance requirements. (i) General. All positioning 
systems, except window cleaner's positioning systems, must be capable 
of withstanding, without failure, a drop test consisting of a 4-foot 
(1.2-m) drop of a 250-pound (113-kg) weight.

    Note to paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section:  Positioning 
systems meeting the tests contained in Appendix D to 1910.140 are 
considered to be in compliance with these paragraphs.

    (ii) Window cleaner's positioning systems. All window cleaner's 
positioning systems must:
    (A) Be capable of withstanding without failure a drop test 
consisting of a 6-foot (1.8-m) drop of a 250-pound (113-kg) weight; 
and,
    (B) Limit the initial arresting force to not more than 2,000 pounds 
(8.9 kN), with a duration not to exceed 2 milliseconds, and must limit 
any subsequent arresting forces imposed on the falling employee to not 
more than 1,000 pounds (4.5 kN).

    Note to paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section:  Positioning 
systems meeting the tests contained in Appendix D to 1910.140 are 
considered to be in compliance with these paragraphs.

    (iii) Lineman's body belt and pole strap systems. The following 
additional test provisions apply to lineman's body belt and pole strap 
systems:
    (A) A dielectric test of 819.7 volts, AC, per centimeter (25,000 
volts per foot) for 3 minutes without visible deterioration; 

    Note to paragraph (e)(1)(iii)(A) of this section: Positioning 
straps that pass direct current tests at equivalent voltages are 
considered as meeting this requirement.

    (B) A leakage test of 98.4 volts, AC, per centimeter (3,000 volts 
per foot) with a leakage current of no more than 1 mA; 

    Note to paragraph (e)(1)(iii)(B) of this section:  Positioning 
straps that pass direct current tests at equivalent voltages are 
considered as meeting this requirement.

    (2) System use criteria for window cleaners positions systems.
    (i) Window cleaner's belts must be designed and constructed so 
that:
    (A) Belt terminals will not pass through their fastenings on the 
belt or harness should one terminal become loosened from its window 
anchor; and
    (B) The length of the runner from terminal tip to terminal tip is 8 
feet (2.44 m) or less.
    (ii) The anchors on a building to which the belt is to be fastened 
must be installed in the side frames of the window or in the mullions 
at a point not less than 42 inches (106.7 cm) or more than 51 inches 
(129.5 cm) above the window sill.
    (iii) Each anchor, and the structure to which it is attached, must 
be capable of supporting a minimum load of 6,000 pounds (26.5 kN).
    (iv) Rope that has sustained wear or deterioration materially 
affecting its strength must not be used.
    (v) An anchor whose fastenings or supports are damaged or 
deteriorated must be removed or rendered unusable by detachment of its 
anchor head.
    (vi) The use of an installed window cleaner's belt anchor for any 
purpose other than attachment of a window cleaner's belt is prohibited.
    (vii) Both belt terminals must be attached to separate window 
cleaner's belt anchors during the cleaning operation.
    (viii) Cleaning work is not permitted on a sill or ledge on which 
there is snow, ice, or any other slippery condition, or on a weakened 
or rotted sill or ledge.
    (ix) A window cleaner may work from a windowsill only if a minimum 
standing room in relation to slope is provided as follows:
    (A) When the sill width is at least 4 inches (10.1 cm), work is 
permitted with a slope of the sill from horizontal up to 15 degrees; 
    (B) For slopes between 15 and 30 degrees from horizontal, but in no 
case greater than 30, the minimum acceptable sill width is four inches 
(10.1 cm), plus 0.4 inches (1.0 cm) for every degree of slope greater 
than 15 degrees.
    (x) The employer must ensure that the window cleaner attach at 
least one belt terminal to a window anchor before climbing through the 
window opening. The belt must not be completely disconnected from both 
anchors until the employee is back inside the window opening.
    (xi)(A) The employer must ensure the window cleaner does not pass 
from one window to another while outside the building, but must return 
inside and repeat the belt terminal attachment procedure for each 
window as described in paragraph (e)(13) of this section.
    (B) Traveling on the outside of the building is permitted if at 
least one window cleaner's belt terminal is attached at all times and 
the distance between anchors does not exceed 4 feet (1.2 m) 
horizontally, unless the sill or ledge is at least 1 foot (0.31 m) wide 
and the slope is less than 5 degrees, in which case the distance 
between anchors may be as much as 6 feet (1.8 m). However, this method 
of traveling shall not be permitted if the sill or ledge is not 
continuous with at least 6 inches (0.15 m) in front of the mullions or 
if each window unit is not readily accessible.
    11. Add new Appendices C and D to subpart I of part 1910 to read as 
follows:

Appendix C to Subpart I of Part 1910--Personal Fall Protection Systems 
Non-Mandatory Guidelines

    The following information generally applies to all personal fall 
protection systems and is intended to assist employers and employees 
comply with the requirements of Sec.  1910.140 for personal fall 
protection systems.
    (a) Planning considerations. It is important for employers to 
plan prior to using personal fall protection systems. Probably the 
most overlooked component of planning is locating suitable anchorage 
points. Such planning should ideally be done before the structure or 
building is constructed so that anchorage points can be used later 
for window cleaning or other building maintenance.
    (b) Selection and use considerations. (1) The kind of personal 
fall protection system selected should be appropriate for the 
employee's specific work situation. Free fall distances should 
always be kept to a minimum. Many systems are designed for 
particular work applications, such as climbing ladders and poles; 
maintaining and servicing equipment; and window cleaning. 
Consideration should be given to the environment in which the work 
will be performed. For example, the presence of acids, dirt, 
moisture, oil, grease, or other substances, and their potential 
effects on the system selected, should be evaluated. Hot or cold 
environments may also affect fall protection systems. Wire rope 
should not be used where electrical hazards are anticipated. As 
required by Sec.  1910.140(c)(21), the employer must provide a means 
for promptly rescuing an employee should a fall occur.
    (2) Where lanyards, connectors, and lifelines are subject to 
damage by work operations, such as welding, chemical cleaning, and 
sandblasting, the component should be protected, or other securing 
systems should be used. Unless designed for use in a personal fall 
protection system, equipment such as linemen's pole straps should 
not be used as lanyards because such equipment may not meet the 
strength and performance criteria necessary for a personal fall 
arrest system. The employer should fully evaluate the work 
conditions and environment (including seasonal weather changes) 
before selecting the appropriate personal fall protection system. 
Once in use, the system's effectiveness should be monitored. A 
program for cleaning and maintaining the system may be necessary.
    (c) Testing considerations. Before purchasing a personal fall 
protection system, an employer should insist that the supplier 
provide information about its test performance (using recognized 
test methods) so the employer will know that the system meets the 
criteria in Sec.  1910.140. Otherwise, the employer should test the 
equipment to ensure that it is in compliance. Appendix D to this 
subpart contains test methods which are recommended for evaluating 
the performance of any system. There are some circumstances in which 
an employer can evaluate a system based on data and calculations 
derived from the testing of similar systems. Enough information must 
be available for the employer to demonstrate that its system and the 
tested system(s) are similar in both function and design.
    (d) Component compatibility considerations. Ideally, a personal 
fall protection system is designed, tested, and supplied as a 
complete system. However, it is common practice for lanyards, 
connectors, lifelines, deceleration devices, body belts, and body 
harnesses to be interchanged since some components wear out before 
others. Employers and employees should realize that not all 
components are interchangeable. For instance, a lanyard should not 
be connected between a body harness and a deceleration device of the 
self-retracting type (unless specifically allowed by the 
manufacturer) since this can result in additional free fall for 
which the system was not designed. In addition, positioning 
components, such as pole straps, ladder hooks and rebar hooks, 
should not be used in personal fall arrest systems unless they meet 
the appropriate requirements of part 1910 (e.g., Sec. Sec.  
1910.140, .268 and .269). Any substitution or change to a personal 
fall protection system should be fully evaluated or tested by a 
competent person to determine that it meets applicable OSHA 
standards before the modified system is put in use.
    (e) Employee training considerations. As required by Sec.  
1910.30, before an employee uses a fall protection system, the 
employer must ensure that he or she is trained in the proper use of 
the system. This may include the following: The limits of the 
system; proper anchoring and tie-off techniques; estimating freefall 
distance, including determining elongation and deceleration 
distance; methods of use; and inspection and storage. Careless or 
improper use of fall protection equipment can result in serious 
injury or death. Employers and employees should become familiar with 
the material in this standard and appendix, as well as 
manufacturers' recommendations, before a system is used. It is 
important for employees to be aware that certain tie-offs (such as 
using knots and tying around sharp edges) can reduce the overall 
strength of a system. Employees also need to know the maximum 
permitted free fall distance. Training should stress the importance 
of inspections prior to use, the limitations of the equipment to be 
used, and unique conditions at the worksite that may be important. 
Also, OSHA suggests that rope be used according to manufacturer's 
recommendations, especially if polypropylene rope is used.
    (f) Instruction considerations. Employers should obtain 
comprehensive instructions from the supplier or a qualified person 
as to the system's proper use and application, including, where 
applicable:
    1. The force measured during the sample force test; 
    2. The maximum elongation measured for lanyards during the force 
test; 
    3. The deceleration distance measured for deceleration devices 
during the force test; 
    4. Caution statements on critical use limitations; 
    5. Limits of the system; 
    6. Proper hook-up, anchoring and tie-off techniques, including 
the proper D-ring or other attachment point to use on the body 
harness; 
    7. Proper climbing techniques; 
    8. Methods of inspection, use, cleaning, and storage; and
    9. Specific lifelines that may be used.
    (g) Inspection considerations. Personal fall protection systems 
must be regularly inspected before each use. Any component with a 
significant defect, such as a cut, tear, abrasion, mold, or evidence 
of undue stretching, an alteration or addition that might affect its 
efficiency, damage due to deterioration, fire, acid, or other 
corrosive damage, distorted hooks or faulty hook springs, tongues 
that are unfitted to the shoulder of buckles, loose or damaged 
mountings, non-functioning parts, or wear, or internal deterioration 
must be removed from service immediately, and should be tagged or 
marked as unusable, or destroyed.
    (h) Rescue considerations. As required by Sec.  1910.140(c)(21), 
when personal fall arrest systems are used, special consideration 
must be given to rescuing an employee should a fall occur. The 
availability of rescue personnel, ladders or other rescue equipment 
should be evaluated. In some situations, equipment allowing 
employees to rescue themselves after the fall has been arrested may 
be desirable, such as devices that have descent capability.
    (i) Tie-off considerations. Employers and employees should at 
all times be aware that the strength of a personal fall arrest 
system is based on its being attached to an anchoring system that 
does not significantly reduce the strength of the system (such as an 
eye-bolt/snaphook anchorage). Therefore, if a means of attachment is 
used that will reduce the strength of the system, that component 
should be replaced by a stronger one that will also maintain the 
appropriate maximum deceleration characteristics. The following is a 
listing of some situations in which employers and employees should 
be especially cautious.
    1. Tie-off using a knot in the lanyard or lifeline (at any 
location). The strength of the line can be reduced by 50 percent or 
more if a knot is used. Therefore, a stronger lanyard or lifeline 
should be used to compensate for the knot, or the lanyard length 
should be reduced (or the tie-off location raised) to minimize free 
fall distance, or the lanyard or lifeline should be replaced by one 
which has an appropriately incorporated connector to eliminate the 
need for a knot.
    2. Tie-off around rough or sharp (e.g. "H" or "I" beams) 
surfaces. This practice reduces strength drastically. Such tie-offs 
should be avoided whenever possible. An alternate means should be 
used such as a snaphook/D-ring connection, a tie-off apparatus 
(steel cable tie-off), an effective padding of the surfaces, or an 
abrasion-resistant strap around the supporting member. If these 
alternative means of tie-off are not available, the employer should 
try to minimize the potential free fall distance.
    3. Knots. Sliding hitch knots should not be used except in 
emergency situations. The one-and-one sliding hitch knot should 
never be used because it is unreliable in stopping a fall. The two-
and-two, or three-and-three knots (preferable) may be used in 
emergency situations; however, care should be taken to limit free 
fall distances because of reduced lifeline/lanyard strength. OSHA 
recommends that a competent or qualified person oversee the use of 
knots.
    (j) Horizontal lifelines. Horizontal lifelines, depending on 
their geometry and angle of sag, may be subjected to greater loads 
than the impact load imposed by an attached component. When the 
angle of horizontal lifeline sag is less than 30 degrees, the impact 
force imparted to the lifeline by an attached lanyard is greatly 
amplified. For example, with a sag angle of 15 degrees the force 
amplification is about 2:1, and at 5 degrees sag it is about 6:1. 
Depending on the angle of sag, and the line's elasticity, the 
strength of the horizontal lifeline, and the anchorages to which it 
is attached should be increased a number of times over that of the 
lanyard.
Extreme care should be taken in considering a horizontal lifeline 
for multiple tie-offs. If there are multiple tie-offs to a 
horizontal lifeline, and one employee falls, the movement of the 
falling employee and the horizontal lifeline during arrest of the 
fall may cause other employees to fall. Horizontal lifeline and 
anchorage strength should be increased for each additional employee 
to be tied-off. For these and other reasons, the systems using 
horizontal lifelines must be designed only by qualified persons. 
OSHA recommends testing installed lifelines and anchors prior to 
use.
    (k) Eye-bolts. It must be recognized that the strength of an 
eye-bolt is rated along the axis of the bolt, and that its strength 
is greatly reduced if the force is applied at right angles to this 
axis (in the direction of its shear strength). Care should also be 
exercised in selecting the proper diameter of the eye to avoid 
creating a roll-out hazard (accidental disengagement of the snaphook 
from the eye-bolt).
    (l) Vertical lifeline considerations. As required by Sec.  
1910.140(c)(3), each employee must have a separate lifeline when the 
lifeline is vertical. If multiple tie-offs to a single lifeline are 
used, and one employee falls, the movement of the lifeline during 
the arrest of the fall may pull other employees' lanyards, causing 
them to fall as well.
    (m) Snaphook considerations. As required by Sec.  
1910.140(c)(10), the following connections must be avoided unless 
the locking snaphook has been designed for them because they are 
conditions that can result in rollout:
    (1) Direct connection of a snaphook to a horizontal lifeline; 
    (2) Two (or more) snaphooks connected to one D-ring; 
    (3) Two snaphooks connected to each other; 
    (4) Snaphooks connected directly to webbing, rope, or wire rope; 
and
    (5) Improper dimensions of the D-ring, rebar, or other 
connection point in relation to the snaphook dimensions which would 
allow the snaphook gate to be depressed by a turning motion of the 
snaphook.
    (n) Free fall considerations. Employers and employees should 
always be aware that a system's maximum arresting force is evaluated 
under normal use conditions established by the manufacturer, and in 
no case using free fall distance in excess of 6 feet (1.8 m). Even a 
few additional feet of free fall can significantly increase the 
arresting force on the employee, possibly to the point of causing 
injury and possibly exceeding the strength of the system. Because of 
this, the free fall distance should be kept to a minimum, and, as 
required by Sec.  1910.140(d)(2), must never be greater than 6 feet 
(1.8 m). To assure this, the tie-off attachment point to the 
lifeline or anchor should be located at or above the connection 
point of the fall arrest equipment to the harness. (Otherwise, 
additional free fall distance is added to the length of the 
connecting means (i.e., lanyard)). Tying off to the walking-working 
surface will often result in a free fall greater than 6 feet (1.8 
m). For instance, if a 6-foot (1.8-m) lanyard is used, the total 
free fall distance will be the distance from the walking-working 
level to the harness connection plus the 6 feet (1.8 m) of lanyard.
    (o) Elongation and deceleration distance considerations. During 
fall arrest, a lanyard will stretch or elongate, whereas activation 
of a deceleration device will result in a certain stopping distance. 
These distances should be available with the lanyard or device's 
instructions and must be added to the free fall distance to arrive 
at the total fall distance before an employee is fully stopped. The 
additional stopping distance may be significant if the lanyard or 
deceleration device is attached near or at the end of a long 
lifeline, which may itself add considerable distance due to its own 
elongation. As required by Sec.  1910.140(d)(2), sufficient distance 
to allow for all of these factors must also be maintained between 
the employee and obstructions below, to prevent an injury due to 
impact before the system fully arrests the fall. In addition, a 
minimum of 12 feet (3.7 m) of lifeline should be allowed below the 
securing point of a rope-grab-type deceleration device, and the end 
terminated to prevent the device from sliding off the lifeline. 
Alternatively, the lifeline should extend to the ground or the next 
working level below. These measures are suggested to prevent the 
employee from inadvertently moving past the end of the lifeline and 
having the rope grab become disengaged from the lifeline.
    (p) Obstruction considerations. In selecting a location for tie-
off, employers and employees should consider obstructions in the 
potential fall path of the employee. Tie-offs that minimize the 
possibilities of exaggerated swinging should be considered.

Appendix D to Subpart I--Test Methods and Procedures for Personal Fall 
Protection Systems Non-Mandatory Guidelines

    This appendix contains test methods for personal fall protection 
systems which may be used to determine if they meet the system 
performance criteria specified in paragraphs (d) and (e) of Sec.  
1910.140.

Test Methods for Personal Fall Arrest Systems (Paragraph (d))

    (a) General. The following sets forth test procedures for 
personal fall arrest systems as defined in paragraph (d) of Sec.  
1910.140.
    (b) General test conditions.
    (1) Lifelines, lanyards and deceleration devices should be 
attached to an anchorage and connected to the body harness in the 
same manner as they would be when used to protect employees.
    (2) The fixed anchorage should be rigid, and should not have a 
deflection greater than 0.04 inches (1 mm) when a force of 2,250 
pounds (10 kN) is applied.
    (3) The frequency response of the load measuring instrumentation 
should be 120 Hz.
    (4) The test weight used in the strength and force tests should 
be a rigid, metal cylindrical or torso-shaped object with a girth of 
38 inches plus or minus 4 inches (96 cm plus or minus 10 cm).
    (5) The lanyard or lifeline used to create the free fall 
distance should be supplied with the system, or in its absence, the 
least elastic lanyard or lifeline available should be used with the 
system.
    (6) The test weight for each test should be hoisted to the 
required level and should be quickly released without having any 
appreciable motion imparted to it.
    (7) The system's performance should be evaluated, taking into 
account the range of environmental conditions for which it is 
designed to be used.
    (8) Following the test, the system need not be capable of 
further operation.
    (c) Strength test.
    (1) During the testing of all systems, a test weight of 300 
pounds plus or minus 3 pounds (136.4 kg plus or minus 1.4 kg) should 
be used. (See item number 4 of paragraph (b)of this appendix.)
    (2) The test consists of dropping the test weight once. A new 
unused system should be used for each test.
    (3) For lanyard systems, the lanyard length should be 6 feet 
plus or minus 2 inches (1.83 plus or minus 5 cm) as measured from 
the fixed anchorage to the attachment on the body harness.
    (4) For rope-grab-type deceleration systems, the length of the 
lifeline above the centerline of the grabbing mechanism to the 
lifeline's anchorage point should not exceed 2 feet (0.61 m).
    (5) For lanyard systems, for systems with deceleration devices 
which do not automatically limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 
m) or less, and for systems with deceleration devices which have a 
connection distance in excess of 1 foot (0.3 m) (measured between 
the centerline of the lifeline and the attachment point to the body 
harness), the test weight should be rigged to free fall a distance 
of 7.5 feet (2.3 m) from a point that is 1.5 feet (46 cm) above the 
anchorage point, to its hanging location (6 feet below the 
anchorage). The test weight should fall without interference, 
obstruction, or hitting the floor or ground during the test. In some 
cases a non-elastic wire lanyard of sufficient length may need to be 
added to the system (for test purposes) to create the necessary free 
fall distance.
    (6) For deceleration device systems with integral lifelines or 
lanyards that automatically limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 
m) or less, the test weight should be rigged to free fall a distance 
of 4 feet (1.22 m).
    (7) Any weight that detaches from the harness should constitute 
failure for the strength test.
    (d) Force test--(1) General. The test consists of dropping the 
respective test weight specified in (d)(2)(i) or (d)(3)(i) once. A 
new, unused system should be used for each test.
    (2) For lanyard systems. (i) A test weight of 220 pounds plus or 
minus three pounds (100 kg plus or minus 1.6 kg) should be used. 
(See item number 4 of paragraph (b) above.)
    (ii) Lanyard length should be 6 feet plus or minus 2 inches 
(1.83 m plus or minus 5 cm) as measured from the fixed anchorage to 
the attachment on the body harness.
    (iii) The test weight should fall free from the anchorage level 
to its hanging location (a total of 6 feet (1.83 m) free fall 
distance) without interference, obstruction, or hitting the floor or 
ground during the test.
    (3) For all other systems. (i) A test weight of 220 pounds plus 
or minus 2 pounds (100 kg plus or minus 1.0 kg) should be used. (See 
item number 4 of paragraph (b) of this appendix.)
    (ii) The free fall distance to be used in the test should be the 
maximum fall distance physically permitted by the system during 
normal use conditions, up to a maximum free fall distance for the 
test weight of 6 feet (1.83 m), except as follows:
    (A) For deceleration systems having a connection link or 
lanyard, the test weight should free fall a distance equal to the 
connection distance (measured between the centerline of the lifeline 
and the attachment point to the body harness).
    (B) For deceleration device systems with integral lifelines or 
lanyards that automatically limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 
m) or less, the test weight should free fall a distance equal to 
that permitted by the system in normal use. (For example, to test a 
system with a self-retracting lifeline or lanyard, the test weight 
should be supported and the system allowed to retract the lifeline 
or lanyard as it would in normal use. The test weight would then be 
released and the force and deceleration distance measured).
    (4) Failure. A system fails the force test when the recorded 
maximum arresting force exceeds 2,520 pounds (11.2 kN) when using a 
body harness.
    (5) Distances. The maximum elongation and deceleration distance 
should be recorded during the force test.
    (e) Deceleration device tests--(1) General. The device should be 
evaluated or tested under the environmental conditions (such as 
rain, ice, grease, dirt, and type of lifeline) for which the device 
is designed.
    (2) Rope-grab-type deceleration devices. (i) Devices should be 
moved on a lifeline 1,000 times over the same length of line a 
distance of not less than 1 foot (30.5 cm), and the mechanism should 
lock each time.
    (ii) Unless the device is permanently marked to indicate the 
type of lifelines that must be used, several types (different 
diameters and different materials), of lifelines should be used to 
test the device.
    (3) Other self-activating-type deceleration devices. The locking 
mechanisms of other self-activating-type deceleration devices 
designed for more than one arrest should lock each of 1,000 times as 
they would in normal service.

Test Methods for Positioning Systems (Paragraph (e))

    (a) General. The following sets forth test procedures for 
positioning systems as defined in paragraph (e) of Sec.  1910.140. 
The requirements in this appendix for personal fall arrest systems 
set forth procedures that may be used, along with the procedures 
listed below, to determine compliance with the requirements for 
positioning systems.
    (b) Test conditions.
    (1) The fixed anchorage should be rigid and should not have a 
deflection greater than 0.04 inches (1 mm) when a force of 2,250 
pounds (10 kN) is applied.
    (2) For window cleaner's belts, the complete belt should 
withstand a drop test consisting of a 250 pound (113 kg) weight 
falling free for a distance of 6 feet (1.83 m). The weight should be 
a rigid object with a girth of 38 inches plus or minus 4 inches (96 
cm plus or minus 10 cm). The weight should be placed in the 
waistband with the belt buckle drawn firmly against the weight, as 
when the belt is worn by a window cleaner. One belt terminal should 
be attached to a rigid anchor and the other terminal should hang 
free. The terminals should be adjusted to their maximum span. The 
weight fastened in the freely suspended belt should then be lifted 
exactly 6 feet (1.83 m) above its "at rest" position and released 
so as to permit a free fall of 6 feet (1.83 m) vertically below the 
point of attachment of the terminal anchor. The belt system should 
be equipped with devices and instrumentation capable of measuring 
the duration and magnitude of the arrest forces. Failure of the test 
should consist of any breakage or slippage sufficient to permit the 
weight to fall free of the system. In addition, the initial and 
subsequent arresting forces should be measured and should not exceed 
2,000 pounds (8.5 kN) for more than 2 milliseconds for the initial 
impact, or exceed 1,000 pounds (4.5 kN) for the remainder of the 
arrest time.
    3. All other positioning systems (except for restraint line 
systems) should withstand a drop test consisting of a 250 pound (113 
kg) weight free falling a distance of 4 feet (1.2 m). The weight 
shall be a rigid object with a girth of 38 inches plus or minus 4 
inches (96 cm plus or minus 10 cm). The body belt or harness should 
be affixed to the test weight as it would be to an employee. The 
system should be connected to the rigid anchor in the manner that 
the system would be connected in normal use. The weight should be 
lifted exactly 4 feet (1.2 m) above its "at rest" position and 
released so as to permit a vertical free fall of 4 feet (1.2 m). 
Failure of the system should be indicated by any breakage or 
slippage sufficient to permit the weight to fall free to the ground.

Subpart N--[Amended]

    12. Revise the authority citation for subpart N of part 1910 to 
read as follows:

    Authority:  Secs. 4, 6, 8, Occupational Safety and Health Act of 
1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657); Secretary of Labor's Order No. 12-71 
(36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059) 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 
9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 
or 5-2007 (72 FR 31159), as applicable.
    Section 1910.178 also amended under section 4 of the 
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 653).
    Sections 1910.176, 1910.177, 1910.178, 1910.179, 1910.180, 
1910.181, and 1910.184 also issued under 29 CFR part 1911.

    13. In Sec.  1910.178, revise paragraph (j) to read as follows:


Sec.  1910.178   Powered industrial trucks.

* * * * *
    (j) Dockboards (bridge plates). See subpart D of this part.
    14. In Sec.  1910.179, revise paragraphs (c)(2), (d)(3), and 
(d)(4)(iii) to read as follows:


Sec.  1910.179   Overhead and gantry cranes.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) Access to crane. Access to the car and/or bridge walkway shall 
be by a conveniently placed fixed ladder, stairs, or platform requiring 
no step over any gap exceeding 12 inches (30 cm). Fixed ladders shall 
be in conformance with subpart D of this part.
* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (3) Toeboards and handrails for footwalks. Toeboards and handrails 
shall be in compliance with subpart D of this part.
    (4) * * *
    (iii) Ladders shall be permanently and securely fastened in place 
and shall be constructed in compliance with subpart D of this part.
* * * * *
    15. Revise the authority citation for subpart R of part 1910 to 
read as follows:

    Authority: Secs. 4, 6, 8, Occupational Safety and Health Act of 
1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657); Secretary of Labor's Order No. 12-71 
(36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059) 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 
9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 
or 5-2007 (72 FR 31159), as applicable; and 29 CFR part 1911.

    16. In Sec.  1910.261, revise paragraphs (c)(15)(ii), (e)(4), 
(g)(2)(ii), (g)(13)(i), (h)(1), (j)(4)(iii), (j)(5)(i), (k)(6), 
(k)(13)(i) and (k)(15) to read as follows:


Sec.  1910.261  Pulp, paper and paperboard mills.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (15) * * *
    (ii) Where conveyors cross passageways or roadways, a horizontal 
platform shall be provided under the conveyor, extended out from the 
sides of the conveyor a distance equal to 1\1/2\ times the length of 
the wood handled. The platform shall extend the width of the road plus 
2 feet (61 cm) on each side, and shall be kept free of wood and 
rubbish. The edges of the platform shall be provided with toeboards or 
other protection to prevent wood from falling, in accordance with 
subpart D of this part.
* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (4) Runway to the jack ladder. The runway from the pond or 
unloading dock to the table shall be protected with standard handrails 
and toeboards. Inclined portions shall have cleats or equivalent 
nonslip surfacing in
accordance with subpart D of this part. Protective equipment shall be 
provided for persons working over water.
* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (ii) The worker shall be provided with eye protection, a supplied 
air respirator and a personal fall protection system meeting the 
requirements of subpart I of this part during inspection, repairs or 
maintenance of acid towers. The line shall be extended to an attendant 
stationed outside the tower opening.
* * * * *
    (13) * * *
    (i) Blow-pit openings preferably shall be on the side of the pit 
instead of on the top. Openings shall be as small as possible when 
located on top, and shall be protected in accordance with subpart D of 
this part.
* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (1) Bleaching engines. Bleaching engines, except the Bellmer type, 
shall be completely covered on the top, with the exception of one small 
opening large enough to allow filling, but too small to admit an 
employee. Platforms leading from one engine to another shall have 
standard guardrails in accordance with subpart D of this part.
* * * * *
    (j) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (iii) When beaters are fed from the floor above, the chute opening, 
if less than 42 inches (1.06 m) from the floor, shall be provided with 
a guardrail system meeting the requirements of subpart D of this part, 
or other equivalent enclosures. Openings for manual feeding shall be 
sufficient only for entry of stock, and shall be provided with at least 
two permanently secured crossrails or other fall protection system that 
meet the requirements of subpart D of this part.
* * * * *
    (5) * * *
    (i) All pulpers having the top or any other opening of a vessel 
less than 42 inches (107 cm) from the floor or work platform shall have 
such openings guarded by guardrail systems meeting the requirements of 
subpart D of this part, or other equivalent enclosures. For manual 
changing, openings shall be sufficient only to permit the entry of 
stock, and shall be provided with at least two permanently secured 
crossrails, or other fall protection systems meeting the requirements 
of subpart D of this part.
* * * * *
    (k) * * *
    (6) Steps. Steps of uniform rise and tread with nonslip surfaces 
conforming to subpart D of this part shall be provided at each press.
* * * * *
    (13) * * *
    (i) A guardrail complying with subpart D of this part shall be 
provided at broke holes.
    (15) Steps. Steps or ladders complying with subpart D of this part 
and tread with nonslip surfaces shall be provided at each calendar 
stack. Handrails and hand grips complying with subpart D of this part 
shall be provided at each calendar stack.
* * * * *


Sec.  1910.262   [Amended]

    17. In paragraph (r) of Sec.  1910.262 remove the term "Sec.  
1910.23" and replace it with the term "subpart D to this part".


Sec.  1910.265   [Amended]

    18. In paragraph (c)(5)(i) of Sec.  1910.265, remove the term 
"Sec.  1910.24" and replace it with the term "subpart D to this 
part".
    19. Revise paragraphs (c)(4)(v) and (f)(6) of Sec.  1910.265 to 
read as follows:


Sec.  1910.265   Sawmills.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (v) Elevated platforms. Where elevated platforms are used routinely 
on a daily basis, they shall be equipped with stairways or fixed 
ladders, conforming to subpart D of this part.
* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (6) Ladders. A fixed ladder complying with the requirements of 
subpart D of this part, or other adequate means, shall be provided to 
permit access to the roof. Where controls and machinery are mounted on 
the roof, a permanent stairway with standard handrail shall be 
installed in accordance with the requirements of subpart D of this 
part.
* * * * *
    20. In Sec.  1910.268:
    A. Revise paragraphs (g)(1); 
    B. Remove paragraph (g)(2); 
    C. Redesignate (g)(3) as (g)(2); and
    D. Revise paragraph (h).


Sec.  1910.268   Telecommunications.

* * * * *
    (g) Personal climbing equipment--(1) General. A positioning system 
or a personal fall arrest system shall be provided and the employer 
shall ensure their use when work is performed at positions more than 4 
feet (1.2 m) above the ground, on poles, and on towers, except as 
provided in paragraph (n)(7) and (n)(8) of this section. These systems 
shall meet the applicable requirements set forth in subpart I of this 
part. The employer shall ensure that all climbing equipment is 
inspected before each day's use to determine that it is in safe working 
condition.
* * * * *
    (h) Ladders. Ladders, step bolts, and manhole steps shall meet the 
applicable requirements of subpart D of this part.
* * * * *
    21. In Sec.  1910.269, revise paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  1910.269   Electric power generation, transmission, and 
distribution.

* * * * *
    (g) Personal protective equipment (1) Personal fall arrest 
equipment, work positioning equipment, or travel restricting equipment 
shall be used by employees working at elevated locations more than 4 
feet (1.2 m) above the ground on poles, towers, or similar structures 
if other fall protection has not been provided. Fall protection 
equipment is not required to be used by a qualified employee climbing 
or changing location on poles, towers, or similar structures, unless 
conditions, such as, but not limited to, ice, high winds, the design of 
the structure (for example, no provision for holding on with hands), or 
the presence of contaminants on the structure, could cause the employee 
to lose his or her grip or footing.

    Note 1 to paragraph (g)(1) of this section: This paragraph 
applies to structures that support overhead electric power 
generation, transmission, and distribution lines and equipment. It 
does not apply to portions of buildings, such as loading docks, to 
electric equipment, such as transformers and capacitors, nor to 
aerial lifts. Requirements for fall protection associated with 
walking and working surfaces are contained in subpart D of this 
part; requirements for fall protection associated with aerial lifts 
are contained in 1910.67 of this part.


    Note 2 to paragraph (g)(1) of this section: Employees undergoing 
training are not considered "qualified employees" for the purposes 
of this provision. Unqualified employees (including trainees) are 
required to use fall protection any time they are more than 4 feet 
(1.2 m) above the ground.

    (2) Personal protective equipment shall meet the requirements of 
subpart I of this part.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2010-10418 Filed 5-21-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-29-P

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