OSHA Updates Standards and Rules

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an updated National Emphasis Program (NEP) instruction on amputations in December 2019 as part of efforts to identify and reduce amputation hazards in manufacturing industries. The administration also issued corrections for its Walking-Working Surfaces, Personal Protective Equipment and Special Industries standards to remove “typographical, formatting and clerical errors,” as announced in a final rule published in the Federal Register.

Amputation Prevention Standards

“Amputations are among the most severe and disabling workplace injuries that often result in permanent disability,” reads the OSHA Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations page.

The NEP instruction provides a set of policies and standards concerning industrial and manufacturing workplaces having machinery and equipment that can potentially cause amputations.

According to the document, state governments are not required to adopt exactly the same standards outlined in the document but must have policies that are “at least as effective” as those in the instruction.

The document also explains how the local area officials must implement a 90-day outreach program that educates and supports the purpose of the NEP before enforcement of the updated policies will go into effect. The updated NEP on amputations was released on December 10, 2019, and will expire five years after the effective date, March 10, 2020.

Fall Protection

In its Personal Fall Protection Systems Standard (1910.140), OSHA changed the requirement gate strength proof testing of snaphooks and carabiners in order to remain consistent with the ANSI/ASSE Z359.12-2009 standard. The requirement is now that the gate of snaphooks and carabiners be capable of withstanding a minimum load of 3,600 pounds without the gate separating from the nose of the snaphook or carabiner body by more than 0.125 inches. It should also be noted that proof testing of the gates of snaphooks and carabiners could be destructive to the equipment, rendering them unsafe for workers in the field.

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