OSHA Announces Phase-in for Residential Construction Fall Protection

OSHA is allowing a three month phase-in period from June to September to allow employers to come into compliance with the new directive for residential fall protection.

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced a three month phase-in period to allow residential construction employers to come into compliance with the Agency's new directive to provide residential construction workers with fall protection.

"We want to make sure that the residential construction industry has every opportunity to successfully come into compliance with the new directive," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "I am confident that this phase-in period will provide employers the additional time and flexibility they need to alter their work practices in accordance with the requirements of the new directive."

The three month phase-in period runs June 16 - September 15, 2011. During this time, if the employer is in full compliance with the old directive (STD 03-00-001), OSHA will not issue citations, but will instead issue a hazard alert letter informing the employer of the feasible methods they can use to comply with OSHA's fall protection standard or implement a written fall protection plan. If the employer's practices do not meet the requirements set in the old directive, OSHA will issue appropriate citations.

If an employer fails to implement the fall protection measures outlined in a hazard alert letter, and during a subsequent inspection of one of the employer's workplaces OSHA finds violations involving the same hazards, the Area Office shall issue appropriate citations.

OSHA has a wide variety of resources and guidance materials to assist employers in complying with the new directive. OSHA's Web page includes many guidance products, including a fall protection slide show that recently received over 3,000 hits in one week. Employers are encouraged to take full advantage of OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program. In addition, there is also a Compliance Assistance Specialist in most Area Offices, and employers are urged to contact their local Area Offices and use these services.

The new directive, Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction (STD 03-11-002), a detailed description of the phase-in policy, a presentation and other guidance materials about requirements for protecting workers from falls are available at http://www.osha.gov/doc/residential_fall_protection.html.

A Safety and Health Topics Web page, which provides a list of references to help employers identify fall hazards and possible solutions for eliminating such hazards, is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html.

OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html.