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Efforts to Reduce Injuries and Fatalities in Residential Construction Extended by OSHA

Feb. 15, 2012
OSHA has added another 6 months to its temporary enforcement measures in residential construction. The temporary enforcement measures, now extended through Sept. 15, include priority, free, on-site compliance assistance; penalty reductions; extended abatement dates; measures to assure consistency; and increased outreach.


Over the past year, OSHA has worked closely with the residential construction industry, conducting over 1,000 outreach sessions nationwide to assist employers in complying with the new directive. OSHA will continue to work with employers to ensure a clear understanding of, and to facilitate compliance with, the new policy.

Falls are the leading cause of death for workers engaged in residential construction. Under 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13), workers engaged in residential construction six (6) feet or more above lower levels must be protected by conventional fall protection (in other words, guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems) or other fall protection measures allowed elsewhere in 1926.501(b).
(Although the standard does not mention personal fall restraint systems, OSHA will accept a properly utilized fall restraint system in lieu of a personal fall arrest system when the restraint system is rigged in such a way that the worker cannot get to the fall hazard.)

If an employer can demonstrate that the fall protection required under 1926.501(b)(13) is infeasible or presents a greater hazard, it must instead implement a written fall protection plan meeting the requirements of 1926.502(k).

OSHA's Web page also has a wide variety of educational and training materials to assist employers with compliance. Multiple easy-to-read fact sheets, PowerPoint and slide presentations, as well as other educational materials are available on the Fall Protection in Residential Construction page.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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