Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - (Archived) Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1926.501(b)(13); 1926.502(k)
• Status: Archived

Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.


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 http://www.osha.gov.


May 17, 2004

Mr. Laurence Guilbault
Corporate Safety Director
Dooleymack Constructors, Inc.
5800 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34240

Re: Whether dwelling structures, such as single-family and townhouses, constructed with masonry walls (instead of stick-framing) and wood roof trusses, fall within OSHA's STD 03-00-001 [formerly STD 3-0.1A]?

Dear Mr. Guilbault:

This is in response to your letter dated April 19, 2004, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You ask whether dwelling structures constructed with masonry walls (instead of stick-framing) and wood roof trusses, fall within OSHA's STD 03-00-001 [formerly STD 3-0.1A]. Your letter was forwarded to this office for handling on April 29, 2004.

We have paraphrased your question as follows:

Question: The majority of single-family and townhouses in Florida are constructed with masonry walls (rather than stick-framing) and wood roof trusses. Does this construction fall within the scope of STD 3-0.1A?

Answer
No. STD 3-0.1A, the plain language rewrite of STD 3-1, defines "residential construction":


  1. For purposes of this instruction, an employer is 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.


  2. Residential construction is characterized by:
    Materials: Wood framing (not steel or concrete); wooden floor joists and roof structures.
    Methods: Traditional wood-frame construction techniques.
    [Emphasis added.]
    * * *
In sum, for the purpose of STD 3-0.1A, residential construction is not determined by the structure's ultimate use (commercial vs. residential); rather, residential construction is characterized by the working environment, methods, materials, and procedures used. Where those elements are the same as those used in typical stick-frame home construction, the directive's test for residential construction is met and STD 3-0.1A applies.

STD 3-0.1A was narrowly drafted to address the specific feasibility problems associated with residential stick-built framing. Specifically, the industry noted the inadequacy of stick-built framing for anchoring fall protection systems.

Given the above-noted directive language and its rationale, as we have previously stated in our June 30, 2003, Clark/Torres memorandum, STD 3-01.A does not apply to the residential construction that you describe. The compliance directive specifically references stick-built framing construction; thus, construction of a residential structure with masonry walls instead of stick-built walls (even if it has wood roof trusses) is beyond its scope. In addition, the information that we currently have indicates that there are a number of ways to prevent fall exposure during the construction of the structures that you describe.

Keep in mind that where a structure is not considered "residential construction" for purposes of STD 3-0.1A, it may nonetheless be considered "residential construction" for purposes of §1926.501(b)(13). Under that provision, an employer constructing a house with masonry walls may use alternative fall protection methods where it can demonstrate the infeasibility of conventional fall protection. The alternative procedures must be in a written, site-specific plan that complies with the criteria in §1926.502(k). If an employer is engaged in residential construction and wants to use a plan under §1926.502(k), it may base its plan on the sample residential fall protection plan in Appendix E for work under 48 feet. The plan must be in writing, be tailored to the worksite, and conform to the other 1926.502(k) requirements. It can be used only if the employer can demonstrate that conventional fall protection is infeasible or a greater hazard at the site in question. The Appendix E plan is not assumed to be sufficient under §1926.502(k) when this work is performed at or above 48 feet.

If you need additional information, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, fax # 202-693-1689. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.

Sincerely,


Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction



Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - (Archived) Table of Contents