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OSHA provides fall protection tips for residential construction workers

April 13, 2011

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Washington – OSHA has issued a guidance document (.pdf file) on fall protection in residential construction.

Released April 8, the document provides safety methods for employers to prevent fall-related injuries and deaths, including fall arrest systems, safety net systems, guardrails, ladders and scaffolds.

“Fatalities from falls are the No. 1 cause of workplace deaths in construction,” OSHA administrator David Michaels said in a press release. “We cannot tolerate workers getting killed in residential construction when effective means are readily available to prevent those deaths.”

Until recently, residential construction employers had been allowed to use specific alternatives to conventional fall protection measures without a written, site-specific plan, or without showing the conventional methods created a greater hazard or were not feasible.

Citing the large number of fall-related injuries and deaths, OSHA in December issued a compliance directive stating residential construction employers must provide workers with fall protection in line with the agency’s fall protection standard (1926.501). The directive, which has received sharp criticism from some stakeholders in the industry, is scheduled to go into effect June 16.

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