Effective June 16, 2011: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will require residential construction workers who are 6 feet or more above lower levels to be protected by conventional fall protection systems — i.e., guardrails, safety nets, personal fall arrest systems, etc.
Generally, OSHA’s position is that fall protection products are diverse enough to fit virtually every residential construction scenario. However, employers who can demonstrate that conventional fall protection methods are infeasible or create a greater hazard must create a written, site-specific fall protection plan in accordance with regulatory requirements. The document must include the reasons why conventional fall protection systems are infeasible or why their use would create a greater hazard. OSHA does not consider economic infeasibility a basis for exclusion from the requirements.
Failure to comply with the new regulation may result in severe fines and penalties. Each OSHA office has a compliance representative available to answer questions. Talk to your local representative or visit http://www.osha.gov/doc/residential_fall_protection.html for details.