Are You Ready for the NEW RULE??

Effective June 16, 2011, employers utilizing alternative fall protection found in the rescinded 1999 Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction will be subject to OSHA citations if they fail to comply with 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13).

  • Why the rescission?

    • Never intended to be a permanent resolution.
    • Fall protection is safe and feasible for the vast majority of residential construction activities.
    • OSHA received recommendations to rescind the interim directive.

The residential fall protection requirements have always been established in Subpart M at 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13). The new policy directive implements the standard as originally intended.

“We cannot tolerate workers getting killed in residential construction when effective means are readily available to prevent those deaths.” “Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace deaths in construction,” stated Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA .

Significant Changes in the Residential Fall Protection Policy

  • Under the new directive employers must follow 1926.501(b)(13).
  • 1926.501(b)(13) states … workers “engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.”
  • … or, by alternative fall protection measures allowed under 1926.501(b) for particular types of work.
  • 1926.501(b)(2)(ii) – Controlled access zones and control lines can be used for some leading edge applications.
  • 1926.501(b)(4)(i) and (ii) – Covers can be used to prevent workers from falling through holes.
  • 1926.501(b)(5) – Positioning devices can be used while working on the face of formwork or reinforcing steel.
  • 1926.501(b)(7)(i) and (ii) – Barricades, fences and covers can be used to prevent workers from falling into excavations.
  • 1926.501(b)(8)(i) – Equipment guards can be used to prevent workers from falling into dangerous equipment.
  • 1926.501(b)(10) – A combination of a warning line system and safety monitoring system can be used for roofing work on low-slope (4:12 or less) roofs. Or, on roofs 50-feet (15.25 m) or less in width, the use of a safety monitoring system without a warning line system is permitted.

Definition of Residential Construction

  • In order to be classified as residential construction, two elements must be met:

    • The end-use of the structure being built must be as a home, i.e., a dwelling; and
    • The structure being built must be constructed using traditional wood frame construction materials and methods.
  • The limited use of steel I-beams to help support wood framing does not disqualify a structure from being considered residential construction.

All employees will be required to have documented training on proper fall protection requirements for “Residential construction”. The new regulations are already being enforced out in the field by compliance officers. With the constant occurrence of natural disasters lately…are you ready….?