Complying with today’s workplace health and safety requirements is easier said than done. There are regulations and there are standards. Some are required and some are recommended. Before a fall protection plan can be developed, your company’s legal obligations need to be determined. A good starting point is to visit the Fall Protection section of the OSHA website: www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection.
What OSHA Requires:
Under Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR), the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OSHA) assures and enforces safe and healthful working conditions for general industry, construction and maritime trades. Employers have the duty of providing their workers with a place of employment free from recognized safety and health hazards.
OSHA enforces regulation 1926, Subpart M for construction and regulation 1910, Subparts D and F for general industry, which require fall protection be provided at:
- 4’ in general industry
- 5’ in shipyards
- 6’ in the construction industry
- 8’ in longshoring operations
Any height, when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance - Fall Clearance Calculations
These regulations are legislation and must be followed under penalty of law. To avoid potential fines and citations, be sure to carefully assess your workplace environment and potential fall hazards.
What ANSI Recommends:
In addition to federal regulations, there are “voluntary” consensus standards regarding fall protection set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA.) ANSI and CSA specify product performance and testing criteria for personal fall arrest equipment.While not enforceable by law, these standards typically should be adhered to, as they are often adopted by OSHA or other regulatory agencies. ANSI Standards can become mandatory by “Incorporation by Reference;” when OSHA standard cites the ANSI standard for compliance, or when the “General Duty” clause is cited which requires employers to keep the workplace “free from recognized hazards.” ANSI issues the nationally recognized fall protection code ANSI Z359.