New rules allow for safety-watch system

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has consolidated fall-protection requirements in WAC 296-155, "Safety Standards for Construction Work," into one set of requirements and added new rules that went into effect April 1, including a provision for a safety-watch system.

A safety-watch system is a "fall protection system as described in WAC 296-155-24615(6), in which a competent person monitors one worker who is engaged in repair work or servicing equipment on low pitch roofs only." The rule states when one employee is conducting any repair work or servicing equipment on a roof with a slope no greater than 4:12 (18 degrees), employers are allowed to use a safety-watch system.

A safety-watch system requires only two employees be on the roof while the safety-watch system is being used—one employee acting as the safety watch and one employee performing repair work or servicing equipment. The employee performing the task must comply with fall-hazard warnings from the safety watch.

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