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ASSE supports OSHA's fall protection actions

February 29, 2012
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ASSEThe American Society of Safety Engineers said it supports OSHA's rescission of the interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction.

In a letter to Assistant Secretary for OSHA Dr. David Michaels, ASSE President Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, CSPI, said the group supports OSHA’s withdrawing of the Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for residential construction and its residential fall protection exemption (www.osha.gov/doc/fall_protection_factsheet.html). The action now requires all residential construction employers to comply with OSHA’s fall protection standard for construction requiring fall protection for all employees working above six feet. The policy in question involves fall protection when building homes and when the structure being built is constructed using traditional wood frame construction materials and methods.

“In light of the criticism and complaints that have followed OSHA’s directive rescinding the Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction, ASSE supports the change in policy as a needed step forward in protecting workers,” Norris said. “ASSE commends OSHA for its efforts to work with residential contractors in the implementation of this policy both by extending its temporary enforcement measures and in providing extensive resources to help employers implement the policy.”

ASSE said that in 2010 in the U.S., 35 percent of fatalities in construction resulted from falls. According to an OSHA study of workers compensation insurance data, falls from elevations by roofers, carpenters and other workers in construction cost between $50,000 and $106,000.

“Helping businesses keep workers safe is a priority and we’re pleased that OSHA continues to work with residential contractors in the implementation of this policy,” Norris added.

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