OSHA Rescinds “Interim Enforcement Rule – Residential Fall Protection”
On Dec. 22, 2010, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it was rescinding the “interim enforcement rule” that allowed for the use of slide guards on certain residential roofs with slopes up to 8:12. By rescinding the rule which went into effect on June 18, 1999, OSHA now requires contractors use either safety nets, guardrails or personal fall-arrest systems (harnesses and lanyards) on all roofs with slopes exceeding 4:12 when the height from one elevation to another is more than six feet. Other fall-protection systems, such as slide guards, can be used if conventional fall-arrest systems are found to be infeasible or create a greater hazard; they can only be used, however, with a written, site-specific fall-protection plan. And fall-protection plans can only be used on residential structures, specifically homes and townhomes. They will not be allowed on nonresidential buildings. This action was taken despite survey and other reports showing the risk of accident and injury increases when personal fall arrest systems are used; the biggest problem is tripping.
OSHA has issued an effective date of June 16, 2011. The Kansas Roofing Association and other industry groups are assessing options. Watch for additional information on KRA’s web site at www.kansasroofingassociation.org.