construction man hammering on the frame of a roof

3 Month Phase-In Period for Residential Construction Fall Protection Rule

OSHA’s new Residential Construction Fall Protection directive, which became effective on June 16, 2011, will not be fully enforced until September 16, 2011. OSHA hopes this three month phase-in period will give residential construction companies the time they need to get in compliance. However, this is not necessarily a three-month free pass.

If a residential construction or roofing company is inspected during this 3-month period and is not in compliance with the old directive (STD 03-00-001), citations will be issued. However, if the company is found to be in compliance with the old directive, no citations will be issued. Instead, OSHA will send the company a hazard alert letter explaining how they can come into compliance with the new directive. If the company is inspected again after receiving the hazard alert letter and has not come into compliance with the new directive, citations will be issued.

For some time, workers involved in residential construction did not have to meet the same strict standards that other industries did regarding fall protection. The Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction (STD 03-00-001) allowed residential construction companies to use alternative ways of protecting their workers from falls. However, OSHA determined that there was no viable reason for residential construction companies to not provide standard measures of fall protection for their workers. The new Residential Construction Fall Protection directive requires residential construction companies to provide employees working 6 feet or more above a lower level with guardrail, safety net or personal fall arrest systems. (The directive does allow some alternatives in particular cases.)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 2005, 34% of all construction fatalities are a result of falls. Hopefully there will be a drastic reduction in those numbers, and more workers returning home safely at day’s end, with the enforcement of this new rule.

This information is provided as a service to you by Compliance Consultants, Inc.

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