Construction Standards and Resources

In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 751 construction workers died on the job. 35% (or 263) of those fatalities were the result of a fall. Fall Protection Systems Corp follows all OSHA requirements and regulations to provide a safe environment for construction workers and reduce this number.


Fall protection is addressed in the OSHA standards for the construction industry. This section highlights some of the OSHA standards, Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices) preambles to final rules (background to final rules), directives (instructions for compliance officers), standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards), example cases, and national consensus standards related to fall protection. Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans, which are required to be at least as effective as Federal OSHA, and may have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies. Other federal standards and consensus standards related to fall protection hazards are included for reference.

OSHA Standards

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

  • 1926.451, General requirements (Scaffolding) [related topic page]
  • 1926.452, Additional requirements applicable to specific types of scaffolds
  • 1926.454, Training requirements (Scaffolding)
  • 1926.501, Duty to have fall protection
  • 1926.502, Fall protection systems criteria and practices
  • 1926.503, Training requirements (Fall Protection)
  • 1926.760, Steel Erection (Fall protection)
  • 1926.800, Underground construction
  • 1926.1051, General requirements (Stairways and Ladders)
  • 1926.1052, Stairways
  • 1926.1053, Ladders
  • 1926.1060, Training requirements (Stairways and Ladders)
  • 1926.1423, Cranes and Derricks in Construction (Fall Protection)
  • 1926.1501, Cranes and Derricks Used in Demolition and Underground Construction

Most Frequently Cited Standards

  • 1926.501(b)(13)
  • 1926.501(b)(1)
  • 1926.501(a)(1)
  • 1926.501(b)(10)
  • 1926.501(b)(11)
  • 1926.501(b)(4)(i)

OSHA Federal Registers

  • Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment. Final Rule 72:64341-64430, (2007, November 15). OSHA issued a final rule in 2007 requiring employers to pay for required PPE, with limited exceptions.
  • Safety Standards for Steel Erection. Final Rules 66:5317-5325, (2001, January 18). Contains requirements for hoisting and rigging, structural steel assembly, beam and column connections, joist erection, systems-engineered metal building erection, fall protection, and training.
  • Safety Standards for Fall Protection in the Construction Industry. Advanced Notice of Proposed Rules 64:38077-38086, (1999, July 14). OSHA addressed ten issues, most of which have been raised by interested parties who believe that alternatives to some of the existing fall protection rule's provisions should be permitted. They generally recommend that OSHA allow work practices rather than personal fall arrest systems and guardrails to protect employees against falls
  • Search all available Federal Registers for fall protection.

OSHA Preambles to Final Rules

  • Fall Protection (1994)
  • Search all available preambles to final rules for fall protection.

OSHA Directives; Instructions to OSHA staff

  • Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction. STD 03-11-002, (2010, December 16).
  • Clarification of OSHA's enforcement policies relating to floors/nets and shear connectors; Cancellation of CPL 02-01-046 (Sept. 30, 2009). CPL 02-01-048, (2010, April 30). Revision of question/answer 23 and 25 of CPL-02-01-034, all else remains same.

Communications Industry

  • Interim Inspection Procedures During Communication Tower Construction Activities. CPL 02-01-036 [CPL 2-1.36], (2002, March 26). Changes OSHA's inspection policy by removing the restriction on hoisting employees on the hoist line to their work stations if those work stations are lower than 200 feet. Otherwise, the original directive is unchanged.

Construction Industry

  • Inspection Procedures for Enforcing Subpart L, Scaffolds Used in Construction - 29 CFR 1926.450-454. CPL 02-01-023 [CPL 2-1.23], (1997, January 7).

Steel Erection Industry

  • Inspection policy and procedures for OSHA's steel erection standards for construction. CPL 02-01-034 [CPL 2-1-1.34], (2002, March 22). Describes OSHA's inspection policy and procedures and provides clarification to ensure uniform enforcement by field enforcement personnel of the steel erection standards for construction.
  • Search all available directives for fall protection.

OSHA Enforcement Standard Interpretations

Electric Power Industry

  • Fall Protection in the power distribution industry. (1995, September 1). Provides an interpretation of the OSHA standards addressing fall protection in the power distribution industry, (29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR 1926.502).

Fall Protection

  • Whether certain skylights meet the cover criteria of 1926 Subpart M. (2007, December 12).
  • Whether OSHA requirements prohibit working from a portable stepladder and, if not, whether fall protection is required; 29 CFR 1926.1053(b). (2007, November 28).
  • Permissibility of attaching welding leads to an occupied lift bucket and using an external lifeline to anchor fall arrest equipment. (2004, February 23). Explanation of fall protection requirements when a worker can tie off to a structure that has no foreseeable risk of failure.
  • Fall protection requirements for work docks/bridges used during bridge construction. (2004, February 9). Concludes that the use of work docks or work bridges built to help construct the bridge or to load/unload construction materials and equipment onto barges must therefore meet 1926 Subpart L.
  • Fall protection requirements during installation and removal of tarps and sheeting on/from scaffolds; qualifications of person determining safety on scaffold with wind imposed forces. (2003, July 16). Determines that the installation and removal of tarps or other sheeting material is not considered erection or dismantling of a scaffold. The addition of a tarp or other sheeting material would add lateral loads to the scaffold, and would be "an occurrence which could affect a scaffold's structural integrity," requiring a competent person to inspect it and make an assessment of the anticipated wind forces imposed.
  • Fall protection, lifejacket, and lifesaving requirements when working over or near water. (1999, September 28).
  • Fall protection for the Elaminator 300 Insulation System. (1998, August 7).
  • Team on Erection of Telecommunication Towers. (1997, May 25).
  • Clarification of house foundation/basement excavation; Fall protection requirements. (1996, February 1).
  • The applicability of Subpart M to equipment covered by ANSI A92, and an interpretation with regard to suspended cages and work platforms on forklift trucks. (1995, November 1).
  • Fall Protection Plans in New Subpart M (1926). (1994, May 26).
  • Search all available standard interpretations for fall protection.


  • Whether OSHA requirements prohibit working from a portable stepladder and, if not, whether fall protection is required; 29 CFR 1926.1053(b). (2007, November 28).
  • Requirements for use of ladder hoisting wheels. (1998, June 2).