2023 OSHA Regulations

2023 OSHA Regulations

Posted by Howie Scarboro - CEO Fall Protection Distributors, LLC on Dec 1st 2023

As we step into a new year, it's important to be aware of the fresh set of regulations and standards that can have a significant impact on various industries, particularly in terms of safety. In 2023, there are some updates to OSHA regulations and ANSI fall protection standards that all safety managers should have on their radar. Staying knowledgeable and proactive will ensure that your company steers clear of any compliance related issues.

OSHA's Final Rule; Heat Illness Prevention

After more than ten years in development, OSHA has finally released its Final Rule on Heat Illness Prevention. The primary objective is to enhance the safety of both outdoor workers by mitigating the risks associated with hazardous heat levels. Effective from April 2023 onwards, this rule establishes workplace temperature standards and mandates covered employers to implement control measures aimed at safeguarding employees.

Here are some key elements you need to be acquainted with;

  • Workplace temperature limits are determined based on wet bulb globe temperature measurements.
  • Mandatory cool down breaks provided in climate-controlled environments.
  • Worker acclimatization plans formulated along with monitoring for signs of illness.
  • Emergency response procedures for heat stroke and heat exhaustion must be established.
  • Accessible water sources and designated shade or cooling areas should be made available.

To avoid any citations it is crucial that your heat illness prevention program addresses these specific areas. OSHA offers resources to help companies comply with regulations.

Three workers using fall protection on a metal roof.

Revised Guidelines for Inspecting Fall Protection Equipment

While there are no new fall arrest system standards in 2023, OSHA has recently updated its guidance for employers on conducting thorough inspections of fall protection equipment. The updated guidelines provide instructions for qualified individuals;

  • Diligently examining harness straps and rope lifelines for any signs of damage, fraying or degradation.
  • Inspecting ropes for broken fibers, color changes or inconsistencies.
  • Checking carabiners, snap hooks and D rings for wear, cracks, damage or abnormalities.
  • Ensuring that lanyards are not knotted and that stitches are not torn or frayed.
  • Confirming the functionality of deceleration devices.
  • It is crucial to ensure that anyone conducting these inspections follows OSHAs guidelines to avoid overlooking any potential damage or wear. Neglecting inspections can lead to severe failures.

    Construction worker anchored with a lanyard and rebar hook.

    ANSI Standards Update Regarding Active Fall Protection Systems

    The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has been actively working on developing standards related to fall hazard safety management. This year ANSI approved an update, to its Z359.6 standard specifically addressing the use of active fall protection systems. The updated standard introduces requirements and testing methods for active systems that utilize advanced electronics to monitor workers conditions. These systems allow for detection of falls and employ descent control devices when necessary.

    Notable changes include;

  • Implementation of testing procedures to assess system reliability.
  • Evaluation of durability through accelerated aging techniques.
  • Establishment of minimum performance benchmarks in conditions.
  • Adoption of design standards to enhance safety margins.
  • Manufacturers are diligently working to ensure that their active fall protection products comply with ANSIs technical guidelines by 2023. Facility managers should be on the lookout for upgrades to maintain the level of worker protection as outlined in the updated Z359.6 protocol.

    Stay Updated

    By staying informed about standards changes, such as those set for 2023 safety directors and managers can remain compliant while continuously improving their worker safety programs. Regularly check the OSHA and ANSI websites. Collaborate closely with your fall protection equipment suppliers ensuring that your fall arrest systems provide optimal state of the art protection for employees working at elevated heights. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions regarding compliance, in 202 3!

    Howie Scarboro, C.E.O. and co-founder of Fall Protection Distributors, L.L.C., recognized the need for continued improvements in roofing safety during the 2010 MetalCon show in Las Vegas. He joined forces with SnoBlox-Snojax, a leader in snow retention and seam clamping technology for metal roofs, to create the SSRA1 prototype. Tested by Gravitec for OSHA/ANSI certifications, the SSRA1 proved to be the industry's lightest, most robust, and most universal-fit anchor point for standing seam roofs. Fall Protection Distributors, L.L.C. was born in 2015, shaping the future of fall protection and instilling confidence in the industry.