The agency is extending the temporary enforcement measures aimed at helping employers comply with the new mandate. In addition, the temporary measures offer a break on penalties for employers making a good-faith effort to comply.
In announcing the temporary enforcement measures last September, OSHA officials said residential fall protection requests would be the top priority for the agency's Compliance Assistance Specialists. Excluding imminent danger situations, requests to CAS from residential construction businesses should be "their highest priority for receiving an on-site visit."
The temporary enforcement measures include:
- Free, on-site compliance assistance.
- Extended abatement dates.
- Measures to assure consistency.
- Increased outreach.
During the inspections, employers found to be following the old directive are allowed an additional good-faith reduction in penalties of up to 10 percent. Examples of attempting to comply in good faith include requesting and scheduling an on-site consultation visit, ordering protective fall equipment for employees, or performing a documented evaluation of feasible means of abatement. However, the good-faith reduction does not apply in cases of a fatality, catastrophe, or serious injury resulting from a fall during residential construction activities.
Residential construction employers are allowed at least 30 days to correct fall protection violations identified under the new directive. During that time, employers that are not in compliance at that or another site would not be subject to additional or repeat citations.
The new directive states that workers engaged in residential construction six feet or more above lower levels must be protected by conventional fall protections such as guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems unless the employer can demonstrate that such fall protection is infeasible or presents a greater hazard. In those cases, the employer may implement a fall protection plan that meets other requirements.
The instruction interprets residential construction to include the two elements of a residence requirement and a wood frame construction requirement.
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March 8, 2012
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