How often do I need fall awareness training, and is it voluntary or mandatory by OSHA?
Fall awareness training, previously authorized user, is mandated by OSHA and must be provided for by the employer in all situations where workers are exposed to the risk of falling while conducting their job. Section 1926.503(a)(1) specifically states, “The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.”1
While competent person certification is mandated to be refreshed and retrained every two years, authorized user designations do not have such a requirement. However, pursuant to Section 1926.503(c), retraining is required when specific criteria have been met or circumstances changed. Section 1926.503(c), which specifically states, “When the employer has reason to believe that any affected employee who has already been trained does not have the understanding and skill required by paragraph (a) of this section, the employer shall retrain each such employee.”2 Circumstances cited that require retraining include (but are not limited to):
- 1926.503(c)(1) – “Changes in the workplace render previous training obsolete”; or
- 1926.503(c)(2) – “Changes in the types of fall protection systems or equipment to be used render previous training obsolete”; or
- 1926.503(c)(3) – “Inadequacies in an affected employee’s knowledge or use of fall protection systems or equipment indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill.”3
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1 OSHA 1926.503(a)(1)
2 OSHA 1926.503(c)
3 OSHA 1926.503(c)(3)