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A challenge by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Dec. 2010 directive on the use of fall protection in residential construction was rejected last month by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
OSHA's new directive, Standard 03-11-002, rescinded the Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction, Standard 03-00-001.
Prior to the issuance of this new directive, Standard 03-00-001 allowed employers engaged in certain residential construction activities to use specified alternative methods of fall protection rather than the conventional fall protection required by the residential construction fall protection standard.
With the issuance of the new directive, all residential construction employers must comply with 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1926.501(b)(13).
Where residential builders can demonstrate that traditional fall protection is not feasible, 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) still allows for alternative means of providing protection.
NRCA’s suit claimed that OSHA:
- Failed to go through required notice and comment procedures before adopting the new directive, and
- Failed to develop substantial evidence supporting the need for the directive.
In its response to the suit, OSHA asked the court to dismiss NCRA’s petition because the Dec. 2010 directive only advised the public of its decision to enforce an existing standard as it was written.
Agreeing that OSHA in its 2010 directive was merely exercising its discretion to enforce an existing standard, the Seventh Circuit — in its April 7 decision on National Roofing Contractors Ass’n v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor, No. 11-1340 — imposed no new obligations or requirements on the agency.
Construction and roofing companies must be in compliance with the new directive by June 16.
For additional information on OSHA’s fall protection requirements, visit http://www.osha.gov/doc/residential_fall_protection.html or www.nahb.org/fallprotection.
For further information, email Rob Matuga at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8507.
In an effort to increase job site safety and reduce the chance of job related accidents, NAHB has produced the “Fall Protection Video, English-Spanish” and “NAHB-OSHA Fall Protection Handbook, English-Spanish.”
Both are available through BuilderBooks.com.
The 30-minute “Fall Protection Video, English-Spanish” can be used by builders to train workers to use safe work practices that eliminate fall hazards and comply with OSHA fall-protection standards.
The “NAHB-OSHA Fall Protection Handbook, English-Spanish” provides guidelines for creating a written fall-protection plan and identifying safe work practices that can prevent costly accidents and injuries. Written with clear text, photographs and illustrations, the book serves as a user-friendly resource for promoting safety on any job site.
To purchase the handbook and video online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.