Business Recovery:

Products and solutions to help your business move forward.

Get Started

Safety & Health

Working At Elevated Heights

Construction Fall Protection Standards

10/1/21
Quick Tips #131.1

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:

Sources

29 CFR 1926 Subpart L - Scaffolds
29 CFR 1926 Subpart M – Fall Protection

Related Articles

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a “competent person”?

A: The term "competent person" is used in many OSHA standards and documents. According to the 1926 construction standard, an OSHA "competent person" is defined as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them" [29 CFR 1926.32(f)]. By way of training and/or experience, a competent person is knowledgeable of applicable standards, is capable of identifying workplace hazards relating to the specific operation and has the authority to correct them.

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL

Get more great content like this sent to your inbox.

promo

THE PRODUCTS YOU NEED,
WHEN YOU NEED THEM

SHOP NOW