Employers Allotted More Time to Comply with OSHA Fall Protection Directive

Employers in the residential construction industry now have until Sept. 15 to comply with OSHA’s new fall protection compliance directive. The agency issued the directive on Dec. 16, 2010, and released a guidance document, Fall Protection in Residential Construction, in April.

The previous directive, Standard 03-00-001, permitted residential construction employers to use specified, alternative methods of fall protection rather than the conventional fall protection required by the residential construction fall protection standard. The new directive calls for all residential construction employers to comply with 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1926.501(b)(13).

As long as employers remain in compliance with the old directive during the 3-month phase-in period, which runs from June 16 through Sept. 15, they will not face OSHA citations. OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels stressed that in offering this phase-in period, the agency is striving “to make sure that the residential construction industry has every opportunity to successfully come into compliance with the new directive.”

Until Sept. 15, the agency will issue letters to those employers found not in compliance with the new directive to outline how they can comply or implement a written fall protection plan. Citations may be issued if a subsequent inspection finds the employer fails to apply the fall protection measures as outlined in the hazard alert letter. If employers do not meet the requirements set in the old directive, OSHA will issue citations.

“I am confident that this phase-in period will provide employers the additional time and flexibility they need to alter their work practices in accordance with the requirements of the new directive,” Michaels added.

More information about the new directive can be found at http://www.osha.gov/doc/residential_fall_protection.html.

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