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2017 OSHA Safety Regulation Changes - What You Need to Know

Construction Safety Equipment

It's 2017 - do you know how your safety regulations are changing? There are a few changes to the overall OSHA safety regulations that need to be addressed both in terms of crew safety training and the tools used to keep your crew safe. We've summarized these changes below to give you a general overview of those changes, but you'll still want to make sure you clearly understand what the new regulations are and what they mean to how your crew works. Here's the basics of what you need to know.

The two major changes have to do with fall protection. Part of the reason for these changes is the position that falls hold in deadly construction accidents and accounting for nearly 40% of all on-the-job deaths, over four times as high as the next highest job site fatality cause of being struck by an object on the job site. For this reason, OSHA has decided to crank down on job site safety for fall protection to try to reduce this number significantly over the next few years.

Fall Protection Equipment

As of January 1, the height where fall protection is required will be reduced to six feet from the ground or floor level. Previously limited to working at areas ten feet or higher, this change will strongly impact workers who had previously worked in the area under a home's eaves or ceiling between six and ten feet high. It will add some amount of time to each job, so make sure you include the extra time in your estimate to ensure that your costs will be covered and you can maintain profitability. This rule also applies to open excavations,openings in walls that are less than 39" in height or walkways over excavations.

The change does not impact areas where protection is required at any height, such as openings in a roof such as a skylight or vent, working next to or above dangerous equipment or using boom-supported work platforms.

On October 1, slide guards will no longer be considered an acceptable method to protect workers from falling off a pitched roof. Though slide guards provide some small protection, the old standard required a height of four inches that can withstand 50# of force in the middle of the run. It does not provide adequate protection against falls by, say, a 185# roofer who is sliding rapidly down a high-pitch roof. What's more, when used exclusively to provide fall protection, it can actually increase the risk of Achilles' tendon injury and damage, hence the job site moniker of "cripples".

Both of these changes will require that additional fall prevention and different methods or tools will be required to meet the new requirements. One approach to this is through the use of personal fall arrest and fall restraint systems.

By keeping on top of changes in OSHA regulations, you can ensure that your workers are safe on the job site while avoiding costly fines for violation citations. If you need help finding the right safety equipment or have questions about what you need to do to stay in compliance, please feel free to contact the experienced associates at Wallboard Supply Company today for further details. At Wallboard Supply Company, our job is making sure you can get the job done quickly, efficiently and effectively.

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.