OSHA To Hold Public Hearing On Walking/Working Surface Safety

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OSHA will hold an informal public hearing starting January 18, 2011, on the proposed rule revising the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards to improve worker protection from slip, trip, and fall hazards. The proposed rule, described in the May 24 Federal Register, will prevent annually about 20 workplace fatalities and more than 3,700 injuries that are serious enough to result in lost work days.

“These public hearings will provide an important opportunity for stakeholders who will be impacted by the rule to share their concerns and provide input on the proposal,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “Injuries and fatalities from fall hazards are a leading cause of work-related injuries and we need to have the best rule possible to ensure that we effectively address this serious hazard,” said Michaels.

Proposed revisions will include specific criteria for personal fall protection equipment that are consistent with industry voluntary consensus standards. Revisions will also better align OSHA’s general industry walking-working surfaces standards with the Agency’s construction and shipyard industry standards.

The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m., at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20210. If necessary, the hearing will continue on subsequent days at the same time and location.

Individuals interested in testifying at the hearing must submit a notice of intent to appear by November 30, 2010. Only those persons submitting notices will be permitted to present testimony, questions, witness, and OSHA, and participate in the post-hearing comment period. Individuals who request to testify for more than 10 minutes or who intend to submit documentary evidence at the hearing must submit the full text of their testimony and evidence by December 21. See the hearing notice for submission details.

Technical questions and public hearing inquiries should be directed to Virginia Fitzner, Office of Safety Systems, at 202-693-2052. Individuals requesting special accommodations to attend or testify at the hearing should contact Veneta Chatmon, Office of Communications, at 202-693-1999.

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