Nav Bar

Wisconsin Building Supply is a destination for industry insight and a marketplace for valuable products at discounted prices.

Please remember, item availability is not guaranteed. All sales are final. Upon request, purchased items can be transferred to the WBS location nearest you. For additional information on any of the items listed, please contact the WBS location carrying the item/s.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fall Protection: Understanding OSHA Regulations

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls continue to be the leading cause of construction deaths.  And late last year, OSHA rescinded the Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction because there are newer ways of providing safe and effective fall protection in residential construction.  All residential construction employers must now comply with 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13).  Enforcement will begin June 16, 2011.

According to the new directive,
  •  Employees working six feet or more above lower levels must be protected by conventional fall protection methods, such as guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems (a full body harness, a deceleration device, a lanyard, and an anchor point).  Other fall protection methods are listed in CFR 1926.501(b).
  • Employers who do not provide conventional fall protection must demonstrate that it is infeasible and must prepare a fall protection plan in compliance with CFR 1926.501(b).
  • The employer must provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards.  The program must enable employees to understand the hazards of falling, and train employees in what to do to minimize these hazards.  This can be found in 1926.503(a)(1).
This brings up questions about the definition of “residential construction.”  Here are the requirements:
  • The end-use of the structure must be a home.
  •  The structure must be constructed using traditional wood frame construction materials and methods. (Cold-formed metal studs will be considered within the bounds of tradition wood frame construction materials and methods.
  • In most cases, OSHA says nursing homes, hotels and similar structures will not be considered residential construction.

Visit OSHA’s Fall Protection page for more details and examples.