Residential Construction Industry
Information and Compliance Assistance Material on Residential Fall Protection
An estimated 1.6 million Americans are employed in the construction industry, half of which work in residential construction. Each year, roughly 38,000 construction injuries are reported, with some 21,000 involving days away from work. Many OSHA standards apply to residential construction for the prevention of possible fatalities.
This page is maintained as a product of the Alliance between OSHA and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
The residential construction industry is addressed in specific standards for recordkeeping and the general and construction industries.
This section highlights OSHA standards, directives (instructions for compliance officers), standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standard), and other resources related to the residential construction
Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and 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.
Recording and reporting occupational injuries and illness (29 CFR 1904)
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
- Use of a warning line instead of conventional fall protection; Part 1926 Subpart M. (2005, January 3).
- Residential fall protection: safety monitors; walking top plate of braced walls in installation; warning line; plating exterior walls; height limitation; non-roofer PPE; slide guards. (2004, November 30).
- Evaluation of the use of aluminum forms as an exit route from trench excavations. (2004, May 11).
- Fall protection during roofing inspections, investigations, and assessments. (2004, March 12).
- The predominant use of structural steel would not be considered "residential construction". (2004, March 1).
protection requirements for stairwells and mechanical chase openings surrounded by interior stud walls in residential construction. (2003, December 22).
- Clarification on several issues regarding OSHA's construction industry standards for fall protection. (2003, December 18).
- Fall protection requirements for construction workers doing work while on a roof. (2003, December 15).
for fall protection when ladder jack scaffolds are used for residential and commercial construction. (2003, July 7). Identifies height limitations for ladder jack scaffolds and when fall protection is required.
- Fall protection requirements for employees, other than roofers, working on low-slope roofs. (2002, November 15). Alternative methods only for residential construction, precast concrete, or leading-edge work.
- Clarification of residential construction's use of slide guards and other fall protection. (2000, May 25). Defines residential construction and several aspects specific to residential construction.
- Search all available standard interpretations.
- Residential Construction Questions and Answers. OSHA, (1996, May). Recognizes the efforts of responsible contractors who have implemented effective safety and health programs. Provides an overview of the basic guidance OSHA has provided to its compliance safety and health officers (CSHO's) for determining which projects are eligible for focused construction inspections and how those inspections are to be conducted.
Hazards and Solutions
Residential construction has less restrictive building codes than commercial construction. This gives builders the flexibility to build homes to the homeowners' specifications. With so many ways to build a house, residential construction workers face a unique set of hazards and safety considerations. The following links provide information that may be helpful when identifying the hazards of residential construction and solutions to those hazards.
- Prevention Videos (v-Tools): Construction Hazards. OSHA.
- Construction. OSHA eTool. A Spanish version is also available. Contains information that helps workers identify and control the hazards that cause the most serious construction-related injuries.
- Hazards of Manually Lifting Balloon Framed Walls. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin, (2005, November 17). Also available as a 58 KB PDF, 3 pages.
- Construction. OSHA Publication 3252-05N (OSHA Pocket Guide), (2005). Also available as a 285 KB PDF, 36 pages.
- Construction Industry Digest. OSHA Publication 2202-09R,
(2011). Also available as a 642 PDF, 72 pages.
- Selected Construction Regulations for the Home Building Industry. OSHA, (1997). Also available as a 1 MB PDF, 224 pages. Identifies OSHA standards applicable to the hazards most commonly found at work sites in the residential construction industry and those most likely to have a significant positive impact on the safety and health practices of contractors within this industry.
OSHA. Includes links to OSHA fact sheets, QuickCards, training programs, and other resources.
- Control of Drywall Sanding Dust Exposures. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-113, (1999, June). Provides information on ways to control and dispose of dust from drywall sanding.
- Construction Safety and Health. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety and Health Topic. Compares accidents in the construction industry to all other industries and lists NIOSH success stories.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Construction Industry Safety and Health Topics Page.
Hand and Power Tools
Lockout/Tagout (Control of Hazardous Energy)
Noise and Hearing Conservation
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Eye and Face Protection. OSHA eTool. Provides a comprehensive hazard assessment, information about selecting protective devices for the workplace, as well as OSHA requirements.
- Respiratory Protection. OSHA eTool. Offers expert assistance to businesses seeking to comply with the new respiratory protection standard 29 CFR 1910.134. Its primary focus is to provide information on the development of respirator cartridge change schedules. However, it also addresses respirator selection, and other requirements of the standard.
- Personal Protective Equipment. OSHA Publication 3151-12R, (2003). Also available as a 629 KB PDF, 46 pages. Discusses types of personal protective equipment (PPE) and their use in preventing injury to workers. Certain types of PPE intended to protect against life-threatening hazards are also discussed.
- Personal Protective Equipment [287 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet, (2006, April). A 68 KB PDF* Spanish version is also available.
- Hearing Conservation. OSHA Publication 3074, (Revised 2002). Also available as a 157 KB PDF, 32 pages. Summarizes the required component of OSHA's hearing conservation program for general industry. Covers monitoring, audiometric testing, hearing protectors, training, and recordkeeping requirements.
- Respiratory Protection [273 KB PDF*, 42 pages]. OSHA Publication 3079, (Revised 2002). Provides a broad overview of respiratory hazards and protective equipment, in question-answer format.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Pages on:
- Silica. OSHA eTool. Includes current information that will assist businesses and employees in identifying potential silica hazards in their workplaces by choosing appropriate sampling and analytical techniques, comparing monitoring results with the silica exposure limits, and selecting appropriate short and long-term control options.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Silica, Crystalline Safety and Health Topics Page.
Stairways and Ladders
- Stairways and Ladders - A Guide to OSHA Rules. OSHA Publication 3124-12R, (2003). Also available as a 155 KB PDF, 15 pages. Provides an overview of OSHA requirements for stairways and ladders used in construction, alteration, repair, painting, decorating, and demolition of worksites.
Trenching and Excavation
- Excavations. OSHA Publication 2226, (Revised 2002). Also available as a 533 KB PDF, 44 pages. Highlights key elements of the standard, shows ways to protect employees from cave-ins, and describes safe work practices.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Pages on:
Safety and Health Programs
An effective safety and health program depends on the credibility of management's involvement in the program; inclusion of employees in safety and health decisions; rigorous worksite analysis to identify hazards and potential hazards, including those which could result from a change in worksite conditions or practices; stringent prevention and control measures; and thorough training. It addresses hazards whether or not they are regulated by government standards. The following references characterize and further explain safety and health programs.
Safety and Health Programs
- Job Hazard Analysis. OSHA Publication 3071, (Revised 2002). Also available as a 497 KB PDF, 51 pages. Explains what a job hazard analysis is and offers guidelines to help employers conduct their own step-by-step analysis.
- Safety & Health Management Systems. OSHA eTool. There are four crucial questions you should be asking when it comes to safety and health programs. The detailed answers are found in the four modules of this eTool.
- $afety Pays Program. OSHA. Assists employers in estimating the costs of occupational injuries and illnesses and the impact on a company's profitability.
- Safety and Health Management Program Guidelines; Issuance of Voluntary Guidelines. OSHA Federal Register Notice 54:3904-3916, (1989, January 26). Provides safety and health program management guidelines for use by employers to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses.
- Safety and Health Add Value. OSHA Publication 3180. Also available as a 200 KB PDF, 6 pages. Describes how safety and health add value to your business, your workplace, and your life.
Protection Programs in Construction. Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (elcosh), (1994, January 14). Originally created for the OSHA Office of Construction and Engineering in January, 1994 by a private research company, this is a report on the effectiveness of worker protection programs.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Injury and Illness Prevention Programs Safety and Health Topics Page.
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
- Assistant Secretary Letter to NAHB. (2011, June 8). Also available as a 72 KB PDF, 3 pages.
- Residential Construction Questions and Answers
- US Labor Department's OSHA acts to protect residential roofing workers Agency rescinds Clinton-era directive and gives workers more safeguards against falls. OSHA News Release, (2010, December 22).
- National Association of Home Builders
(NAHB). OSHA Alliance Page.
- Small Business. OSHA.
- Employer Rights and Responsibilities Following an OSHA Inspection. OSHA Publication 3000-09R, (2011). Also available as a 518 KB PDF, 27 pages. Outlines employer rights and obligations following an inspection conducted under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
- OSHA Inspections [461 KB PDF*, 36 pages]. OSHA Publication 2098, (Revised 2002). Provides background information regarding OSHA's authority, and describes the OSHA inspection process from compliance officer preparation through appeals.
- What To Expect During OSHA's Visit.
OSHA Publication, (1997). Also available as a 185 KB PDF, 15 pages. Prepares employers who wish to participate in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) for the second phase of their application--the OSHA on-site visit.
- National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Provides education courses and seminars.
- Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (elcosh). The Center for Construction Research and Training.
Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF and PPT materials.
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