- 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.
August 16, 2001
Mr. David King, Jr.
King Builders, L.L.C.
23-A South New Holland Road
Gordonville, PA 17529
Re: STD 3-0.1A; framing; truss; fall protection enforcement policy; residential construction
Dear Mr. King:
This is in response to your June 6, 2001 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in which you cite possible inconsistencies with regard to OSHA's enforcement of STD 3-0.1A, the plain language revision of OSHA Instruction STD 3.1, titled Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction.
You indicate that your company specializes in carpentry, framing, and wood truss installation for residential and light commercial/industrial structures in central Pennsylvania. We understand from your letter that you: (1) build roofing systems with traditional wooden trusses and associated materials but do not construct the rest of the building, which may or may not be considered residential construction under STD 3-0.1A; (2) believe you should be covered by STD 3-0.1A, regardless of what the rest of the structure is, because the wood trusses and methods you use to install them are covered by STD 3-0.1A; (3) believe that some OSHA area offices are misinterpreting STD 3-0.1A, resulting in citations that are often rescinded after you contact the regional office; and (4) find this inconsistency in enforcement to be both time consuming and costly to everyone involved.
STD 3-0.1A defines "residential construction" in section VIII, paragraph A.1. It states that OSHA considers an employer engaged in residential construction "where the working environment, materials, methods and procedures are essentially the same as those used in building a typical single-family home or townhouse." Paragraph A.2 clarifies that residential construction is characterized by "wood framing (not steel or concrete), wooden floor joists and roof structures," and methods by "traditional wood frame construction techniques."
Under this definition, the compliance directive applies where the structure as a whole -- not just the part associated with a particular construction activity -- is typical of residential construction. This is made clear in paragraph A.3, in which the directive states that a "discrete part of a large commercial building, (not the entire building), such as a wood frame, shingled entranceway to a mall, may fit within the definition . . ." Under this paragraph, where the construction of the entire entranceway is characteristic of residential construction, it may be covered by the directive.
However, where only one part of the entranceway is built with residential-type materials and methods, such as the roof, the directive is inapplicable.1
In a May 25, 2000 memorandum to John B. Miles [also on OSHA's website], we stated:
An apartment constructed with precast concrete floors, structural steel, or other materials that are not traditionally used in stick frame home construction would not be considered residential construction and would be beyond the scope of STD 3-0.1A. [emphasis added]
In accordance with the May 25, 2000, memorandum, the installation of wood roof trusses on an apartment constructed with precast concrete floors, structural steel, or other materials that are not traditionally used in stick frame home construction would be beyond the scope of STD 3-0.1A.
Upon receiving your letter, we contacted you and the OSHA offices you referred to in order to gather more information about the scenario you described. Commercial/industrial projects typically are not within the scope of STD 3-0.1A unless their structure is similar to that of a typical residential home. STD 3-0.1A addresses the hazards faced by workers doing specific activities in a working environment of questionable structural stability and where work positioning equipment is typically not present. With respect to each of your citations, the roof was similar to a residential roof, but the rest of the structure was not constructed of residential-type materials/methods.
From the information we received, STD 3-0.1A was inapplicable in all three cases. Our policy has not changed, and STD 3-0.1A has not been interpreted to mean that it covers any stick-built roofing system, regardless of what the rest of the structure is made of and how it is constructed.
You also suggest that the alternative procedures in STD 3-0.1A should apply whenever the particular activity (such as setting wood roof trusses) is typical of residential construction -- irrespective of whether the entire structure has those characteristics. The information that we currently have indicates that there are a number of ways to prevent fall exposure during roof truss installation on non-residential type structures. Our technical staff is available to discuss those methods with you.
Please feel free to contact us again if you need more information about the application of STD 3-0.1A.
Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction
cc: Philadelphia Regional Office
1In addition to the guidance provided in STD 3-0.1A, we have issued several letters of interpretation which reflect this policy [see Hoffman, Noyes, Niznik, West, Ludeking interpretation letters; copies are enclosed]. [back to text]