OSHA Fall Protection compliance has been extended again. Residential contractors have again been given a temporary reprieve to fully comply with the directive issued in December of 2010. However, contractors need to make sure they know the facts in the extensions. Many will be lulled into thinking they are all set because leeway has been granted.
Even after two years since the new OSHA Fall Protection directive came out many contractors still have their head in the sand. This latest extension may cause some to think they can avoid following the OSHA Standards.
The bottom line is that all contractors are at a minimum required to provide fall protection for their workers based on the interim standard. If a contractor is not at least following the interim standard they will be deemed non compliant and can still be cited and fined. There have been numerous fines over the past year for contractors not following the old interim standard. The new OSHA extension goes until December of this year. We think OSHA is hoping one more extension will incentivize contractors to get the right training before 2013.
Please read carefully to make sure you are not setting yourself up for fines. Contractors must be in compliance with the STD 03-00-001 which will be replaced with STD 03-11-002. Here is the verbatim statement from the OSHA extension:
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% 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.
"In an effort to encourage greater compliance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended the “temporary enforcement measure” period for its Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction (STD 03-11-002) to Dec. 15, 2012."
Fines under the old interim standard:
Again if contractors are not at a minimum following the old standard they will be cited and fined. Here is the list of the 10 most cited violations in 2010. Notice 8 of the 10 are fall protection related.
I hope we explained this so that you are empowered with the facts. If you have questions regarding the extensions and what you need to do contact me.
If you want to obtain the training to comply with the new standard we have many fall protection trainings coming up this fall to make sure you are all set by the December extension date. We also travel and train private parties and work with Lumberyards who want to provide this added value training for their contractors clients.