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Page last reviewed: 05/19/2008
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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.

OSHA Standards

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 industry.

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.

Highlighted Standards

Recording and reporting occupational injuries and illness (29 CFR 1904)

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

Federal Registers


Standard Interpretations

Other Resources

  • 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.


Electrical Safety

Fall Protection

Fire Safety


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, Crystalline

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



Additional Information

Related Safety and Health Topics Pages


Other Resources

Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF and PPT materials.

*These files are provided for downloading. EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.