As of 1995, OSHA has required residential contractors working at a height of six feet or more to be protected with
conventional fall protection systems such as guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest gear.
Effective last June 16, 2011 key changes for residential contractors included the following:
• Employers are required to adhere to 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M Fall Protection Regulations.
• Employers are required to demonstrate how conventional fall protections systems are infeasible or if the systems will create a more a hazardous situation utilizing alternative fall protection measures and a fall protection plan.
• Employers have the requirement to implement a fall protection plan.
• A qualified person (extensive experience or equivalent education) must now develop a written and site-specific fall
protection plan whenever alternative fall protection measures are utilized.
• A single written fall protection plan can be drafted for repetitive use if the plan fully addresses all regarding issues regarding fall protection at each site.
• Residential construction is defined as the end use of the structure being built is a home/dwelling and it is constructed utilizing traditional wood frame construction materials and methods.
• Slide guards are no longer permitted to be utilized instead of conventional fall protection methods when roofing work is conducted – Slide guards may be used as part of a written, site-specific fall protection plan that meets the
requirements of 29 CFR 1926.502(k) if it can be demonstrated that conventional fall protection is infeasible or creates a greater hazard.
• When roofing is conducted on low-slope roofs (4 in 12 pitch or less), safety monitoring systems can be utilized along with a warning line system that protects those workers on roof – If the same roof is 50 feet or less wide, the safety
monitor system can used by itself without the warning line system. The safety monitor system must meet all
requirements outlined in 29 CFR 1926.502(h).
Additional information on this topic can be accessed through the following web sites:
www.nahb.org/fall protection - National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
www.osha.gov/doc/residential/-fall-protection.html - OSHA Residential Fall Protection
www.builderbooks.com/safety - NAHB’s Builder Books