The intent of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was to ensure worker and workplace safety by requiring employers to provide a place of employment free from recognized safety and health hazards. When first enacted in 1970, the OSH Act adopted established federal standards issued under other statues, including the Construction Safety Act. These standards were codified as Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1926 on December 30, 1971, and several fall protection regulations were adopted at that time:
- 29 CFR 1926.104 —Safety belts, lifelines, and lanyards
- 29 CFR 1926.105 — Safety nets
- 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M — Fall Protection
Fall Protection Height Requirements
The height at which workers are required to be protected from falling varies depending upon the industry. In construction the height varies depending upon the nature of the work being performed:
- 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(1): Each employee on a walking/working surface with an unprotected side or edge which is six feet or more above a lower level must be protected from falling.
- 29 CFR 1926.451(g)(1): Each employee on a scaffold more than 10 feet above a lower level must be protected from falling.
- 29 CFR 1926.760(a)(1): Each employee engaged in a steel erection activity who is on a walking/working surface with an unprotected side or edge more than 15 feet must be protected from fall hazards.
- 29 CFR 1926.760(b)(1): Each connector must be protected from fall hazards of more than two stories or 30 feet, whichever is less.
- 29 CFR 1926.760(c)(1): Each employee working at the leading edge in a controlled decking zone must be protected from fall hazards of more than two stories or 30 feet, whichever is less.
Use these checklists to help identify potential issues with your construction fall protection plan, program, policies and procedures:
29 CFR 1926 Subpart L - Scaffolds
29 CFR 1926 Subpart M – Fall Protection
Quick Tips #385 After a Fall Event — Preventing Suspension Trauma
Quick Tips # 377 Mobile Elevating Work Platforms
Quick Tips #130 Fall Protection Equipment
Quick Tips #133 OSHA Scaffolding Requirements for Construction and General Industry