Unified Fall Protection Rulemaking (for all industries)

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), would like to invite interested stakeholders to attend an informal review of our current Fall Protection rule language in chapter 296-155, Safety Standards for Construction. In order to provide more clarity in the rulemaking process, current rule language must be fully understood in order to evaluate proposed language.


On June 2013 and October 2015 DOSH received notification from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) relating to the Department's fall protection standards, Chapter 296-155 WAC, Part C-1. The focus of OSHA's position is residential construction which has both high fatality and hospitalization rates due to falls from elevation. OSHA is concerned that our fall protection residential construction standards differ significantly from their policies and standards. Their policy issues focus in the following areas: Ambiguous language with regards to skylights and wall openings, the use and strength of warning lines, alternatives to conventional fall protection – catch platforms and safety watch systems and trigger height. 

On March 22, 2016, a CR-101 (preproposal) was filed, letting the public know we were considering rulemaking on fall protection to address the concerns outlined by OSHA in their October 2015 notification and make sure our fall protection rules are as effective as the OSHA requirements (OSHA.gov). Because Washington's rules need to be at least as effective as OSHA rules, we are required to update our rules so they meet or exceed the federal safety requirements. A series of stakeholder meetings were held around the state in Tukwila, Bellingham, Wenatchee, Vancouver, Yakima and Spokane in the fall of 2016 extending through the summer of 2017. Through these public forums we found widespread support from stakeholders who said a single, unified fall protection standard that applied to all industries statewide would be easier to implement and help protect workers from fall hazards.

Beginning in August 2018, the department held seven stakeholder meetings across the state in Wenatchee, Kennewick, Yakima, Bellingham, Seattle, Spokane and Vancouver. We have found through discussions in our stakeholder meetings for the Unified Fall Protection that some stakeholders are not fully aware of the current rule language.

No specific decisions have been made and we are asking for your help once again. If you would like to be added to the email distribution list and get all the information regarding this rulemaking and our next stakeholder meeting see below.

Meeting information

More information and resources

Previous meeting reports

Please contact Carmyn Shute with any rulemaking or meeting questions: Carmyn.Shute@lni.wa.gov, 360-902-6081.

Please contact Erich Smith with any technical questions about the Unified Fall Protection rule: Erich.Smith@lni.wa.gov, 206-515-2786.

Please contact Drew Kertzman with any technical questions about the walking-working surfaces rule: Drew.Kertzman@lni.wa.gov, 360-902-4543.

If you would you like to get updates via email, please select the "Fall Protection Rulemaking" topic when you sign up to receive email updates.

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