OSHA will hold an informal public hearing on Jan. 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.

OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels said such hearings provide "an important opportunity for stakeholders who will be impacted by the rule to share their concerns and provide input on the proposal."

OSHA forecasts that the proposed rule, described in the May 24 Federal Register, will prevent about 20 workplace fatalities annually, along with the more than 3,700 injuries a year that are serious enough to result in lost work days. "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, D.C. 20210. If necessary, the hearing will continue on subsequent days at the same time and location.