OSHA bumps fall protection enforcement period to March 2013

Attention home builders! If you were expecting to face more stringent fall protection measures next week, you’ve got a bit of a reprieve. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) announced yesterday it is extending its temporary enforcement measures on fall protection through to March 15, 2013.

Previously, OSHA had planned to enforce its new Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction next week. However, potentially influenced by call from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), OSHA decided to push the temporary enforcement measures by three months. These measures can be thought of as a means by which OSHA eases the home-building industry into compliance with the new residential construction rules, which calls for increased fall protection for workers engaged in operations six feet or more above lower levels.

The temporary enforcement measures offer employers:

  • Priority free on-site compliance assistance.
  • Penalty reductions.
  • Extended abatement dates.
  • Measures to ensure consistency.
  • Increased outreach.

Since falls are both the primary source of fatalities and the most-cited violation in the construction industry, it’s worth going out of your way to protect front-line workers, and as a worker, it is important to know your rights.

If you want to learn more, check out these resources on residential construction and the Fall Prevention Campaign.

Pictured: Example guard rail system at a residential construction site.

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