OSHA has announced a three-month phase-in period to allow residential construction employers to come into compliance with the Agency's new directive to provide residential construction workers with fall protection.

"We want to make sure that the residential construction industry has every opportunity to successfully come into compliance with the new directive," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "I am confident that this phase-in period will provide employers the additional time and flexibility they need to alter their work practices in accordance with the requirements of the new directive."

The three month phase-in period runs June 16 - September 15, 2011. During this time, if the employer is in full compliance with the old directive (STD 03-00-001), OSHA will not issue citations, but will instead issue a hazard alert letter informing the employer of the feasible methods they can use to comply with OSHA's fall protection standard or implement a written fall protection plan. If the employer's practices do not meet the requirements set in the old directive, OSHA will issue appropriate citations.

If an employer fails to implement the fall protection measures outlined in a hazard alert letter, and during a subsequent inspection of one of the employer's workplaces OSHA finds violations involving the same hazards, the Area Office shall issue appropriate citations.

OSHA has a variety of resources available to help employers understand and comply with the new directive, including a fall protection slide show that recently received over 3,000 hits in one week. In addition, the agency offers a free On-site Consultation Program and has Compliance Assistance Specialists in most Area Offices.

The new directive, Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction (STD 03-11-002), a detailed description of the phase-in policy, a presentation and other guidance materials about requirements for protecting workers from falls are available at www.osha.gov.