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OSHA Rescinds Fall Protection Exception for Residential Construction OSHA RESCINDS FALL

This past December, the rules for safety have changed significantly for all residential construction. The statement below summarizes the movement made to rescind a significant rule exception that exempted residential foundation contractors from fall protection requirements. We at CFA have just been alerted to this information and are researching it further to identify any further opportunities that may limit the exposure of our industry to this change set to be effective June 2011. If you have an interest in reading the full information, please do so at

If you have questions that you would like to pose to us, please do so by emailing Jim Baty, CFA Technical Director to jbaty@ or contacting CFA headquarters at 866-232-9255.

Executive Summary

This Instruction cancels OSHA Instruction STD 03-00-001, the Agency’s interim enforcement policy on fall protection for specified residential construction activities, and replaces it with new compliance guidance. Under the new policy, employers engaged in residential construction must comply with 29 CFR 1926.501(b) (13).

Under 29 CFR 1926.501(b) (13), workers engaged in residential construction six (6) feet or more above lower levels must be protected by conventional fall protection (i.e., guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems) or other fall protection measures allowed elsewhere in 1926.501(b). However, if an employer can demonstrate that such fall protection is infeasible or presents a greater hazard, it may implement a fall protection plan meeting the requirements of 1926.502(k). The fall protection plan’s alternative measures must utilize safe work practices that eliminate or reduce the possibility of a fall. The plan must be written and be site-specific. A written plan developed for repetitive use for a particular style/model home will be considered site-specific with respect to a particular site only if it fully addresses all issues related to fall protection at that site.

For purposes of determining the applicability of section 1926.501(b)(13), the term “residential construction” is interpreted as covering construction work that satisfies the following two elements: (1) the end-use of the structure being built must be as a home, i.e., a dwelling; and (2) the structure being built must be constructed using traditional wood frame construction materials and methods. The limited use of structural steel in a predominantly wood-framed home, such as a steel I-beam to help support wood framing, does not disqualify a structure from being considered residential construction.

Significant Changes from the Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP)

This Instruction cancels OSHA Instruction STD 03-00-001, dated June 18, 1999, the Agency’s interim enforcement policy on fall protection for specified residential construction activities, and replaces it with new compliance guidance.

Employers engaged in residential construction who wish to use alternative fall protection measures must meet the requirements in 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) and 1926.502(k).

Fall protection plans used to comply with 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) and 1926.502(k) must be written and site specific.

This instruction interprets “residential construction” for purposes of 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) to include two elements: (1) a residence requirement; and (2) a wood frame construction requirement.

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us