Standards and Policy for Non-Construction Work

Fall protection for work not in the construction industry, is addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, and longshoring industry. This section highlights OSHA standards, Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices), the Regulatory Agenda (a list of actions being taken with regard to OSHA standards), 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. 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 hazards are included for reference.

OSHA Standards

General Industry (29 CFR Part 1910)

  • 1910.23, Guarding floor and wall openings and holes
  • 1910.25, Portable wood ladders
  • 1910.26, Portable metal ladders
  • 1910.27, Fixed ladders
  • 1910.28, Safety requirements for scaffolding
  • 1910.66, Powered platforms for building maintenance
    - Appendix A, Guidelines (Advisory)
    - Appendix C, Personal fall arrest system (Section I - Mandatory; sections II and III - Non-mandatory)
  • 1910.67, Vehicle-mounted elevating and rotating work platforms [Aerial lifts]
  • 1910.68, Manlifts
  • 1910.132, General requirements (Personal Protective Equipment) [related topic page]
  • 1910.268, Telecommunications
  • 1910.269, Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution [related topic page]

Shipyard Employment (29 CFR Part 1915)

  • 1915.71, Scaffolds or staging
  • 1915.72, Ladders
  • 1915.73, Guarding of deck openings and edges
  • 1915.74, Access to vessels
  • 1915.75, Access to and guarding of dry docks and marine railways
  • 1915.76, Access to cargo spaces and confined spaces
  • 1915.77, Working surfaces
  • 1915.158, Lifesaving equipment (life rings and PFDs)
  • 1915.159, Personal fall arrest systems (PFAS)
  • 1915.160, Positioning device systems
  • Subpart I Appendix B, General testing conditions and additional guidelines for personal fall protection systems (Non-mandatory)

Marine Terminals (29 CFR Part 1917)

  • 1917.12, Slippery conditions
  • 1917.26, First aid and lifesaving facilities (life-rings)
  • 1917.95, Other protective measures (Personal flotation devices)
  • 1917.112, Guarding of edges
  • 1917.115, Platforms and skids
  • 1917.116, Elevators and escalators
  • 1917.117, Manlifts
  • 1917.118, Fixed ladders
  • 1917.119, Portable ladders
  • 1917.120, Fixed stairways
  • 1917.121, Spiral stairways
  • 1917.124, Dockboards (car and bridge plates).
  • 1917.125, Guarding temporary hazards

Safety and Health Regulations for Longshoring (29 CFR Part 1918)

  • 1918.22, Gangways
  • 1918.23, Jacob's ladders
  • 1918.24, Fixed and portable ladders
  • 1918.25, Bridge plates and ramps
  • 1918.26, Access to barges and river boats
  • 1918.31, Hatch coverings
  • 1918.32, Stowed cargo and temporary landing surfaces
  • 1918.33, Deck loads
  • 1918.34, Other decks
  • 1918.35, Open hatches
  • 1918.36, Weather deck rails
  • 1918.37, Barges
  • 1918.85, Containerized cargo operations. Includes requirements for fall protection
  • 1918.87, Ship's cargo elevators
  • 1918.97, First aid and lifesaving facilities (life-rings)
  • 1918.105, Other protective measures (Personal flotation devices)


OSHA Regulatory Agenda

  • The OSHA Regulatory Agenda contains an entry related to walking/working surfaces and personal fall protection systems.

OSHA Federal Registers

  • Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems). Proposed Rules 75:28861-29153, (2010, May 24).
  • Walking and Working Surfaces; Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems). Proposed Rules 68:23527-23568, (2003, May 2). Explanation of reopening of rulemaking record to gather information about advances in technology and industry practice.
  • Safety Standards in Shipyard Employment for Scaffolds; Welding, Cutting, and Heating; Access and Egress; and Fall Protection. Proposed Rules 67:13117, (2002, March 21). Explanation for withdrawal of proposed rules for scaffold in shipyard employment.
  • Search all available Federal Registers for fall protection.

OSHA Preambles to Final Rules

  • Fall Protection. (1994). Landing page for the preamble to the final rule.
  • Search all available preambles to final rules.

OSHA Directives; Instructions to OSHA staff

General Industry

  • 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart I, Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry. CPL 02-01-050, (2011, February 10).

Maritime Industry

  • Shipyard Employment "Tool Bag" Directive. CPL 02-00-142, (2006, August 3). Consolidated document that contains links to relevant other documents, as well as lists related interpretations and other resources all in one place.
  • Longshoring and Marine Terminal "Tool Shed" Directive. CPL 02-00-139, (2006, May 23). Provides information and instruction relating to the marine cargo handling industry.
  • Search all available directives for fall protection.

OSHA Enforcement Standard Interpretations

  • Guarding of Access Openings to Fixed Ladders. (2009, September 29).
  • Guarding requirements for skylights and "grandfather" provisions for buildings constructed over twenty years ago. (2006, September 28).
  • Fall protection for the entertainment industry under the OSHA Act of 1970. (Corrected 2005, June 2). Explanation of how fall protection standard applies to riggers and others in the entertainment industry.
  • Fall protection requirements when working from ladders in the telecommunications industry. (2005, May 23).
  • Recommendations for preventing prolonged suspension in personal fall protection systems. (2004, September 8). Explanation of methods and resources for avoiding injury from engagement of fall protection system.
  • Rescue of a suspended worker following a fall event. (2004, April 27). Explanation of fall protection requirements in instances where a worker is performing a self-rescue following a fall.
  • Maintenance vs. construction; working from fixed ladders. (1999, May 11). Discusses the differences between "maintenance" and "construction" and the applicable standards.
  • Search all available standard interpretations for fall protection.

Electric Power Industry

  • OSHA's requirements for locking type snaphooks on pole strap systems. (1996, March 13). Provides explanations for multiple questions, including requirements for fall protection during specific work scenarios.
  • Fall Protection in the power distribution industry. (1995, September 1). Provides an interpretation of the OSHA standards addressing fall protection in the electric power distribution industry, (29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR 1926.502).

Example Cases

  • OSHA and Lamar Bridgeport Alliance Working to Improve Safety and Health of the Outdoor Advertising Industry's Employees. OSHA Region 1 Success Stories, (2004, November 30). Describes how fall protection has helped to save contractors from harm in billboard-related incidents. Through the Region I, and Lamar Alliance, billboard owners are training their contractors on fall protection and fall retrieval.