OSHA rescinds fall-protection directive for residential construction

January 7, 2011

Washington – Citing high numbers of fall-related fatalities in residential construction, OSHA rescinded a compliance directive that allowed easier use of fall protection alternatives.

According to OSHA standard 1926.501(b)(13), residential construction laborers working at least 6 feet above lower levels must be protected by conventional fall protection. However, a compliance directive issued in 1995 (STD 03-00-001) allowed residential construction companies to use specific alternatives without a written, site-specific plan and without showing evidence that conventional protections were infeasible or a greater hazard.

In a new compliance directive announced in the Dec. 22 Federal Register and scheduled to go into effect June 16, OSHA cited a lack of “persuasive evidence” that STD 03-00-001 was needed.

Under the new directive (STD 03-11-002), employers wishing to use alternative fall protection measures in residential construction must meet all requirements in 1926.501(b)(13) and 1926.502(k), and fall protection plans used to comply with those standards must be site-specific and written out.