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 21, 2012

Directorate of Construction

SUBJECT: Enforcement of Steel Erection Subpart R

The steel erection standard includes provisions for employers on OHSA's requirement for fully planked deck or floors or safety nets (Section 1926.754(b)(3)). In April 2010, OSHA issued a compliance directive, CPL 02-01-048, which further clarified OSHA's enforcement policies relating to floors/nets. The 2010 directive eliminates the de minimis policy regarding fully planked or decked floors that was originally established in question #23 in the prior compliance directive, CPL 02-01-046. The previous de minimis policy considered employers in compliance with 1926.754(b)(3) when 100 percent fall protection systems were used during the erection of steel members.

While CPL 02-01-048 removed the de minimis policy, the CSHO retains their usual and customary citation discretion. Factors that should be evaluated when considering this discretion must include a complete evaluation of a number of factors including the following:

  • Is the fall protection system complete and are the correct components in use? For example, if workers are tied off at foot level, a standard 6-ft shock absorbing lanyard may not be adequate.
  • Have the workers been properly trained in the use of the equipment?
  • Has the employer provided for rescue? Is there a viable self-rescue option? Are the equipment and rescue procedures in place? Have all of the employees been trained on the rescue procedures? If the procedures include calling 911, do the emergency services know they are part of the plan and have the ability to respond? See Subpart R Appendix G, as referenced in 1926.760(d)(2).
  • Has falling object protection been provided or has work been precluded below the erection activity? See 1926.759.

If the employer is not providing 100 percent fall protection, does not have provisions for prompt rescue in the event of a fall, or is not providing protection from falling objects, citations for 1926.754(b)(3) should be considered.