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L&I adopts new fall protection standards to align with feds

October 29, 2022

To align with federal standards, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has new fall protection standards going into effect on Nov. 1, 2022.  While training and guidance resources remain under development, the department has provided an overview of the background and changes.

Aligning Washington’s fall protection standards with federal requirements

L&I updated its standards after receiving a letter from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In its letter, OSHA alerted L&I their previous fall protection standards were not as effective as federal standards. Under federal law, Washington’s standards must meet or exceed the standards set forth by OSHA.

Major changes

L&I has provided a quick reference guide with major changes indicated. Among other things, the updated standards:

  • Require fall protection when doing roofing work at six feet or higher on a low-pitch roof, instead of the previous 10-foot threshold;
  • Change the threshold height from 10 feet to six feet when constructing a leading edge;
  • Add the option of a standard guardrail system as a form of fall protection on low-pitched roofs;
  • Provide an option to use a safety watch system if appropriate; and
  • Include a clarifying statement noting when rules require fall protection at four feet or more.

Updated safety training expected soon

Bob White, ROII Safety Services Director, works closely with L&I and will share their updated training materials when they are available.  ROII participants already receive Weekly Safety Topic emails. To join the list, contact ROII Safety Services Director Bob White at (360) 352-7800 ext. 109 or

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