OSHA Fall Protection Rule Challenges Consolidated at Seventh Circuit

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By Bruce Rolfsen

Several federal court challenges to OSHA’s new fall protection rule are slated for consolidation into a single appeals court’s jurisdiction.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago will be home to the rule challenges because it was where the first petition was filed, according to motions filed in appeals cases ( Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning v. OSHA , 3d Cir., No. 17-1130, 1/30/17 ).

As of Jan. 30, there were at least nine challenges filed with seven appeals courts.

Seven petitions were brought by state affiliates of Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning & General Contracting LLC ( Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning v. OSHA, 4th Cir., No. 17-1058, 1/13/17 ).

The other petitions were submitted by Corporate Cleaning Services Inc., a Chicago-based high-rise window washing company, and the National Chimney Sweep Guild ( Corp. Cleaning Serv. Inc. v. OSHA, 7th Cir. App., No. 16-4244, 12/27/16 ).

The petitioners haven’t yet detailed for the court their specific concerns with the rule covering about 112 million workers at general industry locations such as factories, stores and restaurants. Construction is covered by different rules.

In interviews with Bloomberg BNA, representatives of the chimney sweeps and corporate cleaning said their objections were with provisions unique to their industries.

The fall protection rule, which took effect Jan. 17, updated the 45-year-old walking-working surfaces standards (29 C.F.R. 1910 Subpart D) and the personal protective equipment standards (29 C.F.R. 1910 Subpart I) (81 Fed. Reg. 82,494).

The rulemaking began in 1990 during the first Bush administration and went through two hearings and three comment periods before the final rule was issued Nov. 18, 2016 (RIN:1218-AB80).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at BRolfsen@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

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