The agency issued a memorandum last year providing general policy guidance for enforcement of the new directive and established a six-month period ending March 15, 2012. During that time, OSHA implemented temporary enforcement measures, which were extended once and have been extended again for another six months.
"Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace death in construction," OSHA said. "Over the past year and a half, OSHA has assisted the residential construction industry as it transitions to the fall protection requirements in OSHA's construction standards. OSHA will continue to work with employers to facilitate compliance with the policy."
The temporary enforcement measures state that during inspections of employers engaged in residential construction who are not complying with the new residential fall protection directive, but are following the old directive -- Plain Language Revision of OSHA Instruction STD 3.1, Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction, STD 03-00-001 -- the regional administrators and area directors will take the following actions:
- Area directors will allow an additional good-faith reduction in penalties of up to 10 percent for employers engaged in residential construction. In addition to the safety and health management system good-faith determination in Chapter 6 of the Field Operations Manual, the area director shall consider examples of attempting to comply in good faith to include: requesting and scheduling an on-site consultation visit, ordering protective fall equipment for its employees, or performing a documented evaluation of feasible means of abatement. This good-faith reduction does not apply in cases of a fatality, catastrophe, or serious injury resulting from a fall during residential construction activities.
- Area directors will allow residential construction employers at least 30 days to correct fall protection violations identified under the new residential fall protection directive. During that time, if such employers are not in compliance at that site or another site, no additional citations or repeat citations shall be issued. This policy does not apply in cases of a fatality, catastrophe, or serious injury resulting from a fall during residential construction activities.
The temporary measures apply only to employers that are, at a minimum, following the old directive. "If the employer is not complying with either the new directive or the old directive, the area director shall issue appropriate citations," OSHA said.
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October 15, 2012
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