The rescinded compliance directive allows employers engaged in any of four types of construction activities to use alternative procedures rather than conventional fall protection without having to show the convention protection was infeasible at that particular site.

OSHA Replaces Residential Construction Fall Protection Directive

Recommended by the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, the National Association of Home Builders, and the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association, this change took effect immediately. Its enforcement effective date is June 16, 2011.

OSHA published a notice Dec. 22 that it is issuing a new compliance directive for fall protection used during residential construction. The new directive, STD 03-11-002, Fall Protection in Residential Construction, rescinds compliance directive STD 03-00-001, Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction, which became effective June 18, 1999.

The change took effect immediately. The effective date of STD 03-11-002 for enforcement purposes is June 16, 2011. It was recommended by the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, the National Association of Home Builders, the AFL-CIO, and the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association, according to OSHA's notice.

This is significant to homebuilders and their workers because 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) requires that workers engaged in residential construction 6 feet or more above lower levels generally must be protected by conventional fall protection (guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems) unless the employer can demonstrate such fall protection is infeasible or presents a greater hazard. The rescinded directive, however, allowed employers engaged in any of four types of construction activities to use alternative procedures rather than conventional fall protection without having to show the conventional protection was infeasible at that particular site. The four types are:

  • GROUP 1. Installation of floor joists, floor sheathing, and roof sheathing; erecting exterior walls; setting and bracing roof trusses and rafters.
  • GROUP 2. Working on concrete and block foundation walls and related formwork.
  • GROUP 3. This group consists of the following activities when performed in attics and on roofs: installing drywall, insulation, HVAC systems, electrical systems (including alarms, telephone lines, and cable TV), plumbing and carpentry.
  • GROUP 4. Roofing work (removal, repair, or installation of weatherproofing roofing materials such as shingles, tile and tar paper).

"Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace deaths in construction. We cannot tolerate workers getting killed in residential construction when effective means are readily available to prevent those deaths," Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels said in a news release. "Almost every week, we see a worker killed from falling off a residential roof. We can stop these fatalities, and we must."

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