FALL PROTECTION: GENERAL REQUIREMENTS STANDARD (OSHA 1926.501)

Requires fall protection at specific elevations for different industries:

  • Four feet for general industry workplaces
  • Five feet for shipyards
  • Six feet for the construction industry
  • Eight feet for longshoring operations
  • Any fall distance for work over dangerous equipment and machinery

To prevent employees from falling, employers must:

  • Guard every floor opening that a worker can accidentally fall into (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover)
  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform (floor or runway)
  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous equipment or machinery (such as a vat, acid, or conveyor belt), employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards
  • Other fall protection equipment that is required for specific jobs include harnesses, safety lines, safety nets, stair railings, and handrails

OSHA requires employers to:

  • Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers
  • Keep work area floors clean and as dry as possible
  • Provide required fall protection equipment at no cost to workers
  • Train workers on job hazards in a language they can understand

OSHA provides a no-cost, confidential consultation program for small to medium businesses to provide guidance on hazard identification, standard compliance, and safety plan implementation or improvement. FPS has a team of Fall Protection Specialists who can help you identify fall hazards and provide and install OSHA compliant solutions.