Top Five Fall Protection Violations
Each year, falls account for the
greatest number of fatalities in the construction industry,
and are always a major concern in other industries. This handout
discusses the top five fall protection violations that OSHA
inspectors constantly find not being followed-or followed
incorrectly-at construction jobsites.
These OSHA citations cover general
fall protection. They do not cover falls from scaffolds, aerial
lifts, steel erection, etc. Those subjects have their own
fall protection rules.
#1 - Unprotected sides and edges
Each employee on a walking/working
surface with an unprotected side or edge 6 feet or more above
a lower level must be protected from falling by the use of
guardrail, safety net, or personal fall arrest systems.
#2 - Training requirements
Your employer must provide a training program if you might be exposed to fall hazards.
The program must:
Enable you to recognize
the fall hazards specific to your jobsite.
Train you in the
procedures to follow to minimize those
#3 - Roofing work on low-slope
Except as otherwise provided
in the OSHA regulations, if you are working on a low-slope
roof, with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet or more
above a lower level, you must be protected from falling
by a guardrail, safety net, or personal fall arrest
You can also use a combination
of a warning line and: (1) guardrail, (2) safety net,
(3) personal fall arrest, or (4) safety monitoring
system. Or, on roofs 50-feet wide or less, you can use
a safety monitoring system alone.
#4 - Holes
If you are on a walking/working
surface more than 6 feet above a lower level with holes (including
skylights), you must be protected from falling through those
holes by personal fall arrest equipment, a covers, or a guardrail
erected around the hole.
If you are below a hole, you must
be protected from objects falling through the hole (including
skylights) by a cover.
#5 - Residential construction
Except as otherwise provided in
the OSHA rules, when you are engaged in residential construction
activities 6 feet or more above lower levels, you must be
protected by a guardrail, safety net, or personal fall arrest
If your employer can demonstrate
that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use one
of the above systems, they can develop and implement a fall
protection plan meeting the requirements of paragraph .502(k)
of the fall protection regulations.
Events surrounding falls often
involve a number of factors, including unstable working surfaces,
misuse of fall protection equipment, and human error. Studies
have shown that the use of guardrails, fall arrest systems,
safety nets, covers, and travel restriction systems can prevent
many deaths and injuries from falls.