OSHA Extends Enforcement Measures in Residential Construction

April 2012Articles In the Zone

Occupational Safety Health and Administration (OSHA) will extend its temporary enforcement measures in residential construction for an additional six months. Originally set to expire on March 15, 2012, the temporary enforcement measures have been extended through September 15, 2012.

The following general policy guidance is to be followed for enforcement of the new residential fall protection directive (Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction, STD 03-11- 002) and for compliance assistance related to that directive.

OSHA has made it a priority for its Compliance Assistance Specialists (CASs) to provide assistance to the residential construction industry. Residential fall protection requests have been made the CASs’ highest priority. In addition, excluding imminent danger situations, requests from residential construction businesses have been made their highest priority for receiving an on-site visit.

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. All of the measures described in this policy apply only to employers that are, at a minimum, following the old directive (STD 03-00-001). If the employer is not complying with either the new directive or the old directive, the Area Director shall issue appropriate citations.

Over the past year, OSHA has worked closely with the residential construction industry, conducting more than 1,000 outreach sessions nationwide to assist employers in complying with the new directive. OSHA will continue to work with employers to ensure a clear understanding of, and to facilitate compliance with, the new policy.

OSHA’s website also has a wide variety of educational and training materials to assist employers with compliance, including multiple easy-to-read fact sheets, PowerPoint and slide presentations, as well as other educational materials. To access these materials, visit OSHA’s Fall Protection in Residential Construction page.