Sunday, March 2, 2014

OSHA Fall Protection Requirements - Construction

This month I provide a non-exhaustive overview of the different thresholds for fall protection found throughout the Federal OSHA 1926 construction standards. This is in contrast to last month’s discussion of the 1910 general industry standards, which required some form of fall protection for employees working at heights ranging from ground level all the way up to 24 feet. As you will soon see, the construction regulations are even more varied.
Most people are quite aware that Subpart M of the Federal OSHA 1926 Construction standards mandates the utilization of some form of fall protection device or practice to protect workers from falls of greater than six (6) feet. In fact, you will find fifteen distinct ways that a worker can fall covered in section 1926.501, titled “Duty to have fall protection”. And the allowable methods specified for fall protection devices and practices listed in this Subpart go well beyond merely installing a standard guardrail; other allowable methods include installation of a safety net system, as well as using a personal fall arrest system, body positioning devices, covers, fences, barricades, warning lines, controlled access zones, and a safety monitor system, and even a written fall protection plan. However, be warned that many of these fall protection methods are only allowed in certain situations . . .