Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules do not contain an exception for personal protection equipment when workers are engaged in point-to-point travel on poles, towers or similar structures. The State of California, however, still retains that exception. The State OSHA Standards Board in California will hold a public hearing on Jan. 17, 2019, in Rancho Cordova, to discuss eliminating its exception to improve safety.
“The Standards Board intends to bring Cal/OSHA in line with federal OSHA walking/working surfaces and personal fall protection equipment regulations,” Wes Wright, partner, Keller & Heckman. “The Standards Board proposes to eliminate this Cal-OSHA exception and give employers the discretion to use alternative measures when fall protection systems are more hazardous or infeasible.”
The State’s Telecommunication Safety Orders are being amended to clarify that qualified telecommunication workers must use fall protection when traveling point-to-point on poles, towers, or similar structures, with the exception of when the employer demonstrates that fall protection is infeasible or creates a greater hazard.
The written comment period closes at 5:00 p.m. on January 17, 2019. Comments received after that deadline will not be considered by the Board unless the Board announces an extension of time in which to submit written comments. Written comments can be submitted by mail to Sarah Money, Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, 2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 350, Sacramento, CA 95833; or by fax at (916) 274-5743; or by e-mail sent to [email protected]