OSHA, in a move it says will assist residential contractors in complying with its new directive on fall protection, announced an extension of its “temporary enforcement measure” period for six months, until Sept. 15.
|The new directive, issued in December 2010, replaced OSHA’s interim enforcement policy on fall protection, STD 03-00-001, dated June 18, 1999.|
The temporary enforcement measures include priority free on-site OSHA compliance assistance, penalty reductions, extended abatement dates, measures to assure consistence and increased outreach.
The new directive on fall protection in residential construction was issued in December 2010. A three-month phase-in period ran from June 16, 2011 through Sept. 15, 2011. (See Phase-in Period Granted for OSHA Fall Protection Directive).
In September 2011, the agency started a temporary enforcement measure period that was scheduled to close March 15, 2012. The agency, however, has decided to keep the measures in place for an additional six months.
“OSHA will continue to work with employers to ensure a clear understanding of, and to facilitate compliance with, the new policy,” the agency said.
Fatalities from falls are the number-one cause of workplace death in construction, OSHA said.
Rule Requires Guardrail, Safety-Net or Personal Fall-Arrest System
Under the new directive (29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13)), workers engaged in residential construction six feet or more above lower levels must be protected by conventional fall protection (i.e., guardrail systems, safety-net systems or personal fall-arrest systems) or other fall-protection measures allowed elsewhere in 1926.501(b).
If an employer can demonstrate that such fall protection is infeasible or presents a greater hazard, it may implement a fall-protection plan that meets the requirements of 1926.502(k). The fall-protection plan’s alternative measures must utilize safe work practices that eliminate or reduce the possibility of a fall, OSHA said.
The new directive, Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction (STD 03-11-002), a detailed description of the phase-in policy, a presentation, and other guidance materials about requirements for protecting workers from falls are available at Fall Protection Directive.
More information: www.osha.gov.