Enforcement Period for Fall Protection Directive Extended
Q: What does OSHA’s six-month extension to the new residential construction fall protection directive mean for businesses?
A. On February 15, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels announced a six-month extension on temporary enforcement measures in residential construction. Companies have until September 15, 2012 to come into compliance with OSHA's new residential construction fall protection directive.
What this means for residential construction employers who are not complying with the new directive (STD 03-11-002) yet following the old directive (STD 03-11-001) is that:
- Employers may receive a good faith reduction in penalties up to 10 percent. OSHA Area Directors will examine whether the employer is demonstrating good faith attempts to comply with the new directive, such as requesting an on-site consultation, ordering fall protection for employees, or performing a documented evaluation of feasible means of abatement. The good faith reduction will not apply if a fatality, catastrophe or serious injury results from a fall during residential construction activities.
- Employers have at least 30 days to correct fall protection violations identified under the new directive.
- Employers must comply with 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) and ensure that employees working six feet or more above lower levels are using guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems (full body harness, deceleration device, lanyard or anchor point).
If the employer can demonstrate that the use of conventional fall protection methods is infeasible or creates a greater hazard, written, site-specific fall protection plans must comply with 29 CFR 1926.502(k) and the plan must include the reasons why a convention fall protection system is infeasible.
To learn more about fall protection in residential construction and to read the compliance guidance directive, click here.