OSHA Fall Protection Standards (1926.500)

construction worker with fall protection equipment

What Is The OSHA Subpart for Fall Protection?

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established regulations regarding construction fall protection. If a contractor or other party failed to comply with these standards and you were injured in a construction accident, you could be entitled to compensation.

If you or someone you love was harmed in a construction accident and someone other than your employer was to blame, you could be entitled to receive damages if the third party falls outside of the workers’ compensation system. The attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, PC, are skilled at evaluating construction accident claims and can help you determine whether the negligence of a third party caused or contributed to your injuries. Call our firm today at 877-815-6053 or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case.

We serve construction accident victims in the Manhattan, and all of New York City, including Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Long Island.

Here are the highlights of OSHA’s Fall Protection Standards, as found online at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10922

OSHA Fall Protection Standards

  • 1926.500 Scope, application, and definitions applicable to this subpart.
  • 1926.500(a)(1) This subpart sets forth requirements and criteria for fall protection in construction workplaces covered under 29 CFR part 1926. Exception: The provisions of this subpart do not apply when employees are making an inspection, investigation, or assessment of workplace conditions prior to the actual start of construction work or after all construction work has been completed.
  • 1926.500(a)(2) Section 1926.501 sets forth those workplaces, conditions, operations, and circumstances for which fall protection shall be provided except as follows:
  • 1926.500(a)(2)(i) Requirements relating to fall protection for employees working on scaffolds are provided in subpart L of this part.
  • 1926.500(a)(2)(ii) Requirements relating to fall protection for employees working on cranes and derricks are provided in subpart CC of this part.
  • 1926.500(a)(2)(iii) Fall protection requirements for employees performing steel erection work (except for towers and tanks) are provided in subpart R of this part.
  • 1926.500(a)(2)(iv) Section 1926.502 does not apply to the erection of tanks and communication and broadcast towers. (Note: Section 1926.104 sets the criteria for body belts, lanyards, and lifelines used for fall protection during tank and communication and broadcast tower erection. Paragraphs (b),(c) and (f) of § 1926.107 provide definitions for the pertinent terms.)
  • 1926.500(a)(2)(v) Requirements relating to fall protection for employees engaged in the erection of tanks and communication and broadcast towers are provided in § 1926.105.
  • 1926.500(a)(2)(vi) Requirements relating to fall protection for employees engaged in the construction of electric transmission and distribution lines and equipment are provided in subpart V of this part.
  • 1926.500(a)(3) Section 1926.502 sets forth the requirements for the installation, construction, and proper use of fall protection required by part 1926, except as follows:
  • 1926.500(a)(3)(i) Performance requirements for guardrail systems used on scaffolds and performance requirements for falling object protection used on scaffolds are provided in subpart L of this part.
  • 1926.500(a)(3)(ii) Performance requirements for stairways, stair rail systems, and handrails are provided in subpart X of this part.
  • 1926.500(a)(3)(iii) Additional performance requirements for personal climbing equipment, lineman’s body belts, safety straps, and lanyards are provided in Subpart V of this part.
  • 1926.500(a)(3)(iv) Section 1926.502 does not apply to the erection of tanks and communication and broadcast towers. (Note: Section 1926.104 sets the criteria for body belts, lanyards and lifelines used for fall protection during tank and communication and broadcast tower erection. Paragraphs (b),(c) and (f) of § 1926.107 provide definitions for the pertinent terms.)
  • 1926.500(a)(3)(v) Criteria for steps, handholds, ladders, and grab rails/guardrails/railings required by subpart CC are provided in subpart CC. Sections 1926.502(a), (c) through (e), and (i) apply to activities covered under subpart CC unless otherwise stated in subpart CC. No other paragraphs of § 1926.502 apply to subpart CC.
  • 1926.500(a)(4) Section 1926.503 sets forth requirements for training in the installation and use of fall protection systems, except in relation to steel erection activities and the use of equipment covered by subpart CC.
  • 1926.501 Duty to have fall protection.
  • 1926.501(a) “General.”
  • 1926.501(a)(1) This section sets forth requirements for employers to provide fall protection systems. All fall protection required by this section shall conform to the criteria set forth in 1926.502 of this subpart.
  • 1926.501(a)(2) The employer shall determine if the walking/working surfaces on which its employees are to work have the strength and structural integrity to support employees safely. Employees shall be allowed to work on those surfaces only when the surfaces have the requisite strength and structural integrity.
  • 1926.501(b)(1) “Unprotected sides and edges.” Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.
  • 1926.501(b)(2) “Leading edges.”
  • 1926.501(b)(2)(i) Each employee who is constructing a leading edge 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. Exception: When the employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use these systems, the employer shall develop and implement a fall protection plan which meets the requirements of paragraph (k) of 1926.502.
  • 1926.501(b)(2)(ii) Each employee on a walking/working surface 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level where leading edges are under construction, but who is not engaged in the leading edge work, shall be protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system. If a guardrail system is chosen to provide the fall protection, and a controlled access zone has already been established for leading-edge work, the control line may be used in lieu of a guardrail along the edge that parallels the leading edge.
  • 1926.501(b)(3) “Hoist areas.” Each employee in a hoist area shall be protected from falling 6 feet (1.8 m) or more to lower levels by guardrail systems or personal fall arrest systems. If guardrail systems, [or chain, gate, or guardrail] or portions thereof, are removed to facilitate the hoisting operation (e.g., during landing of materials), and an employee must lean through the access opening or out over the edge of the access opening (to receive or guide equipment and materials, for example), that employee shall be protected from fall hazards by a personal fall arrest system.
  • 1926.501(b)(4) “Holes.”
  • 1926.501(b)(4)(i) Each employee on walking/working surfaces shall be protected from falling through holes (including skylights) more than 6 feet (1.8 m) above lower levels, by personal fall arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems erected around such holes.
  • 1926.501(b)(4)(ii) Each employee on a walking/working surface shall be protected from tripping in or stepping into or through holes (including skylights) by covers.
  • 1926.501(b)(4)(iii) Each employee on a walking/working surface shall be protected from objects falling through holes (including skylights) by covers.
  • 1926.501(b)(5) “Formwork and reinforcing steel.” Each employee on the face of formwork or reinforcing steel shall be protected from falling 6 feet (1.8 m) or more to lower levels by personal fall arrest systems, safety net systems, or positioning device systems.
  • 1926.501(b)(6) “Ramps, runways, and other walkways.” Each employee on ramps, runways, and other walkways shall be protected from falling 6 feet (1.8 m) or more to lower levels by guardrail systems.
  • 1926.501(b)(7) “Excavations.”
  • 1926.501(b)(7)(i) Each employee at the edge of an excavation 6 feet (1.8 m) or more in depth shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, fences, or barricades when the excavations are not readily seen because of plant growth or other visual barriers;
  • 1926.501(b)(7)(ii) Each employee at the edge of a well, pit, shaft, and similar excavation 6 feet (1.8 m) or more in depth shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, fences, barricades, or covers.
  • 1926.501(b)(8) “Dangerous equipment.”
  • 1926.501(b)(8)(i) Each employee less than 6 feet (1.8 m) above dangerous equipment shall be protected from falling into or onto the dangerous equipment by guardrail systems or by equipment guards.
  • 1926.501(b)(8)(ii) Each employee 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above dangerous equipment shall be protected from fall hazards by guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, or safety net systems.
  • 1926.501(b)(9) “Overhand bricklaying and related work.”
  • 1926.501(b)(9)(i) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each employee performing overhand bricklaying and related work 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels, shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or shall work in a controlled access zone.
  • 1926.501(b)(9)(ii) Each employee reaching more than 10 inches (25 cm) below the level of the walking/working surface on which they are working, shall be protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.
  • 1926.501(b)(10) “Roofing work on Low-slope roofs.” Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each employee engaged in roofing activities on low-slope roofs, with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or a combination of warning line system and guardrail system, warning line system and safety net system, or warning line system and personal fall arrest system, or warning line system and safety monitoring system. Or, on roofs 50-feet (15.25 m) or less in width (see Appendix A to subpart M of this part), the use of a safety monitoring system alone [i.e. without the warning line system] is permitted.
  • 1926.501(b)(11) “Steep roofs.” Each employee on a steep roof with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems with toeboards, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.
  • 1926.501(b)(12) “Precast concrete erection.” Each employee engaged in the erection of precast concrete members (including, but not limited to the erection of wall panels, columns, beams, and floor and roof “tees”) and related operations such as grouting of precast concrete members, who is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems, unless another provision in paragraph (b) of this section provides for an alternative fall protection measure. Exception: When the employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use these systems, the employer shall develop and implement a fall protection plan which meets the requirements of paragraph (k) of 1926.502.
  • 1926.501(b)(13) “Residential construction.” Each employee engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system unless another provision in paragraph (b) of this section provides for an alternative fall protection measure. Exception: When the employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use these systems, the employer shall develop and implement a fall protection plan which meets the requirements of paragraph (k) of 1926.502.
  • 1926.501(b)(14) “Wall openings.” Each employee working on, at, above, or near wall openings (including those with chutes attached) where the outside bottom edge of the wall opening is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels and the inside bottom edge of the wall opening is less than 39 inches (1.0 m) above the walking/working surface, shall be protected from falling by the use of a guardrail system, a safety net system, or a personal fall arrest system.
  • 1926.501(b)(15) “Walking/working surfaces not otherwise addressed.” Except as provided in 1926.500(a)(2) or in 1926.501 (b)(1) through (b)(14), each employee on a walking/working surface 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.
  • 1926.501(c) “Protection from falling objects.” When an employee is exposed to falling objects, the employer shall have each employee wear a hard hat and shall implement one of the following measures:
  • 1926.501(c)(1) Erect toeboards, screens, or guardrail systems to prevent objects from falling from higher levels; or,
  • 1926.501(c)(2) Erect a canopy structure and keep potential fall objects far enough from the edge of the higher level so that those objects would not go over the edge if they were accidentally displaced; or,
  • 1926.501(c)(3) Barricade the area to which objects could fall, prohibit employees from entering the barricaded area, and keep objects that may fall far enough away from the edge of a higher level so that those objects would not go over the edge if they were accidentally displaced.