Ask the Safety Rep: How OSHAs Working Surfaces Rule Affects Trucking
Walking-working surfaces pertains to floors, ladders, stairways, runways, dock boards, roofs, scaffolds, and elevated work surfaces and walkways. According to OSHA, "To protect workers from hazards associated with those surfaces, particularly hazards related to falls from elevations, the final rule updates and revises the general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards (29 CFR part 1910, sub-part D)." The final rule provides employers with greater flexibility in choosing a fall protection system, including guardrails and safety net systems, and addresses other areas such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the requirements for training employees on fall hazards and fall protection systems.
While the new OSHA rules do not directly mention commercial motor vehicles or rolling stock, motor carriers, like any other employer, must still comply with the OSHA standards and regulations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The following Walking-Working Surfaces requirements should be included in a motor carrier's risk management and compliance efforts:
- All places of employment shall be kept clean, orderly, and in a sanitary condition – 1910.22(a)(1)
Floors shall be kept free from loose boards or tiles, protruding nails, splinters, holes, corrosion, leaks, spills, snow, and ice – 1910.22(a)(3)
Floors and storage areas must be able to support the maximum intended load for that surface – 1910.22(b)
Walking-working surfaces should be inspected regularly and maintained in a safe condition – 1910.22(d)(1)
Hazardous conditions must be corrected or repaired before an employee uses the walking-working surface again. If this cannot be done immediately, the hazard must be guarded to prevent employees from using the walking-working surface until the hazard is corrected or repaired –1910.22(d)(2)
Call to Action
- Conduct a monthly facility inspection to identify and correct hazardous conditions
Provide PPE to workers, mechanics, and drivers to protect against work-related injuries
Train employees on slips, trips, and falls using Great West’s Value-Driven® Life video series
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