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.

October 24, 1995

Mr. James T. Knight
National Frame Builders Association
4840 West 15th Street, Suite 1000
Lawrence, Kansas 66049

Dear Mr. Knight:

Thank you for your letter. We appreciate knowing your concerns regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) standard on Fall Protection in the Construction Industry (Subpart M).

In your letter, you request that post-frame contractors be exempt from complying with the fall protection standard because the work they do "... is very similar if not identical to the steel erection industry..." which is exempt from the rules. Subpart M -- Fall Protection in the Construction Industry -- applies to all construction operations, except where another Subpart of the Construction Safety and Health Standards imposes a specific duty to provide fall protection. In the area of steel erection, Subpart M does not apply because other standards -- Subpart E (Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment) and Subpart R (Steel Erection) -- already impose requirements for fall protection for workers engaged in steel erection activities. It should be noted that OSHA is currently revising its steel erection standard, including the fall protection provisions.

OSHA would appreciate having more information about the unique working conditions involving post-frame building, particularly your concerns about how the use of fall protection equipment is "...impossible or more hazardous than using no system at all." It would be most helpful if you and other contractors would meet with OSHA staff to discuss how Subpart M applies to the construction of post-frame buildings and to identify compliance problems. At that time, perhaps you could provide OSHA with your proposed recommendations or alternative measures that you believe are appropriate to protect workers from falls. OSHA believes it is important that some fall protection measures be taken because falls are the leading cause of death and one of the leading causes of serious injuries to workers in the construction industry.

Please be assured that OSHA is most anxious to work with you to find solutions to the fall protection concerns you raise. If a meeting is agreeable to you, please contact Russell B. Swanson, Director of OSHA's Office of Construction and Engineering at (202) 219-8644.

Your interest in occupational safety and health is appreciated.


Joseph A. Dear
Assistant Secretary