OSHA delays enforcing residential construction directive

June 15, 2011

Washington – OSHA’s enforcement of a new compliance directive that prohibits employers from bypassing fall protection requirements will be delayed three months to allow employers to comply.

Calling it a “three-month phase-in period,” OSHA said employers will not be cited under the new directive between June 16 and Sept. 15 if they are in compliance with an older directive. The new directive, published Dec. 16, originally had an enforcement date of June 16.

Instead of receiving a citation, employers not in compliance with the new directive during the phase-in period will receive a hazard alert letter that covers feasible methods to comply with 1926.501(b)(13). Employers who fail to meet the old directive will receive a citation.

The old directive allowed residential construction employers to use specific alternatives to conventional fall protection measures without a written plan or without showing that the conventional methods were not feasible or safe. The new directive explicitly states that residential construction employers must comply with requirements outlined in the fall protection standard, unless they can demonstrate infeasibility of the requirements and develop a written, site-specific alternative fall protection plan.