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.

July 12, 1995

Deputy Assistant Secretary

SUBJECT: Fall Protection Plans — Enforcement Policy [For Precast Erection]

This memo provides guidance regarding the proper application of the fall protection plan criteria set in Part 1926, Subpart M. Strict adherence to this policy is necessary in order to provide consistency in enforcement of the Subpart M provisions.

As you know, there are three provisions in Subpart M that allow the use of fall protection plans when the employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or would create a greater hazard to provide and use guardrails, fall arrest systems or nets. For residential homebuilding and precast concrete erection, the sample fall protection plans in Appendix E contain rationale for not using conventional fall protection. To eliminate the need for contractors to repeatedly make the same arguments and demonstrations at each project site with regard to infeasibility or greater hazard, OSHA will accept the reasons provided in the sample fall protection plan as meeting the plan justification requirements of the standard.

This document was edited on 10/12/2005 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy. For current information see footnote 1 of the
September 26, 2003 letter to Mr. Michael Wright.

Likewise, the alternative procedures, when performed in accordance with the sample fall protection plans contained in Appendix E, are deemed as meeting the intent of the fall protection requirements of Subpart M. Only those employers who either fail to provide conventional fall protection, or fail to develop and follow a fall protection plan (such as but not limited to the sample fall protection plans in Appendix E) should be issued a citation for failure to provide fall protection. In addition, fall protection plans need to be site specific only to the extent that they address the fall hazards present at that site. One plan can cover several sites if similar conditions exist.

When other practices, procedures, or abatement methods are encountered or developed that CSHOs believe may be equal to or better than those set forth in the attached plans, a description of those methods shall be forwarded to the fall protection coordinator in your Regional Office where they will be evaluated.

Methods that appear to have merit shall then be forwarded to the Office of Construction and Maritime Compliance Assistance for distribution to and evaluation by all ten regional fall protection coordinators. Methods and plans thus found to be acceptable will then be distributed and proper notice given nationwide to all offices and public stakeholders. Methods deemed appropriate for local application only will be so identified.

Regional Administrators shall provide a copy of this policy to State Designees and encourage the states to adopt a similar policy.

[Corrected 10/12/2005.]