- Standard Number:
OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.
May 26, 1994
MEMORANDUM FOR: JOHN B. MILES, JR. DIRECTOR DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS FROM: ROY F. GURNHAM, DIRECTOR OFFICE OF CONSTRUCTION AND MARITIME COMPLIANCE ASSISTANCE SUBJECT: Fall Protection Plans in New Subpart M (1926)
This is to keep you advised of a problem that will impact compliance efforts after new Subpart M--Fall Protection is published later this year (September is current target date). That Subpart contains provisions for Fall Protection Plans which allow certain employers to evaluate the construction site and determine the type of fall protection system to be used and where it is to be used. If the contractor determines that it is infeasible or would create a greater hazard to provide any system, he sets this forth in the safety plan and proceeds accordingly. For "good actors" this concept can function quite well. But there is a compliance problem with "bad actors" who use inferior plans with poor conclusions to support their intention to not provide fall protection. The standard contains no factors by which to judge the adequacy of a plan. Consequently, it will be very difficult for a compliance officer to prove that a plan contains a bad hazard analysis or that the determination of infeasibility is based on bad judgement.
My office has had several discussions with Safety Standards on this issue but no guidelines have been developed. This will also be a problem with the Safety and Health Programs standard.