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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Update: Phase-In for OSHA Fall Protection Regulations

We have an update to our previous post, Fall Protection: Understanding OSHA Regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a three-month phase-in period to allow residential construction companies to get into compliance with the new fall protection regulations. This phase-in period will be June 16 through September 15, 2011.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said, "We want to make sure that the residential construction industry has every opportunity to successfully come into compliance with the new directive. 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."

As a part of the announcement, OSHA officials said employers in full compliance with the old directive during the phase-in period will not be issued citations by OSHA. Instead, OSHA will issue a hazard letter explaining what the employer must do to comply with the new fall protection regulations.  OSHA will issue citations if the employer is not meeting the requirements in the old directive. The Area Office will also issue citations if the employer does not implement the measures in the hazard letter, and the violations are still present during a follow-up inspection.

This change is in response to a meeting between OSHA and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) leaders earlier this month.

OSHA is also encouraging employers to take advantage of its free on-site consultation program. You’ll also find 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 at the OSHA Fall Protection website.