On April 8, OSHA issued a new guidance to help employers prevent fall-related injuries and deaths among residential construction workers.
“Fatalities from falls are the No. 1 cause of workplace deaths in construction,” said OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels. “We cannot tolerate workers getting killed in residential construction when effective means are readily available to prevent those deaths.”
OSHA issued the Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction in December 2010 to require that residential construction employers provide workers with fall protection according to OSHA’s Fall Protection in Construction standard. This new document, Fall Protection in Residential Construction, demonstrates work methods employers may use to comply with the standard’s requirements.
Directed primarily to those working on new construction, the document describes safety methods employers can implement during stages of construction. Methods for preventing fall-related injuries and deaths include using anchors for personal fall arrest systems and fall restraints, safety net systems, guardrails, ladders and scaffolds for activities such as installing roof sheathing, weatherproofing a roof and installing walls and subfloors, among others.
OSHA’s Residential Fall Protection Web page includes a fact sheet, and questions and answers about requirements for protecting workers from fall hazards. Additionally, the Safety and Health Topics Web page on Fall Protection – Construction provides a list of references to help employers identify fall hazards and possible solutions for eliminating such hazards.