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Analysis of OSHA Guideline for Residential Fall Protection

In 1994, OSHA issued its long-awaited fall protection standards for the construction industry requiring generally that contractors protect employees working at heights above six feet with guardrails, safety lines, and nets. Following implementation of the standards, however, residential construction industry representatives articulated serious concerns. Not only were the new fall protection standards simply infeasible, they actually posed a greater risk of injury than traditional fall protection methods. In response, OSHA relaxed these standards for the residential construction industry in 1995 and again in 1999. These new alternative fall protection standards for residential construction are less burdensome and as safe as the original 1994 standards.

Under STD 3-0.1A, published in June 1999, OSHA defines residential construction as work on structures where the work environment, materials, methods, and procedures are essentially the same as those used in typical building single family homes. Because wood framing, wood floor joists, and wood roof trusses are common residential materials used in post-frame construction, OSHA’s alternative standards can be widely adopted throughout the post-frame construction industry...

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