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Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Safety Standards for Fall Protection in the Construction Industry
• Section: 4
• Title: Section 4 - IV. Summary of the Regulatory Impact Analysis

IV. Summary of the Regulatory Impact Analysis


Executive Order 12866 and the Regulatory Flexibility Act required OSHA to analyze the costs, benefits, and other consequences and impacts associated with this standard. Consistent with these requirements, OSHA has prepared a regulatory impact analysis for revised subpart M. The following is a summary of this analysis, which is available from OSHA's docket office.

The regulatory impact analysis includes a description of the industries affected by the regulation, the evaluation of the risks addressed, the assessment of the benefits attributable to the revised standard, the determination of the technological feasibility of new requirements, the estimation of the costs of compliance with subpart M requirements, the determination of the economic feasibility of compliance with the standard, and the analysis of the economic and other impacts associated with this rulemaking.

Affected Industries

The requirements of revised subpart M apply to all establishments in the construction industry. As classified by the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) manual, the industry can be divided into three broad types of activities: building construction general contractors (SIC 15), heavy construction general and special trade contractors (SIC 16) and construction by other special trade contractors (SIC 17).

The total value of construction work is approximately $500 billion annually. About 75 percent of this amount ($370 billion) involves the construction of buildings, including single family houses ($124 billion). The total value of nonbuilding construction work includes $45 billion for the construction of highways, streets, parking areas, bridges, and tunnels, and another $13 billion for the construction of sewers and water mains.

Construction work includes new construction as well as additions, alterations, reconstruction, maintenance, and repairs. Of the total value of construction work of $500 billion, about $328 billion (66 percent) involves new construction.

Evaluation of Risk and Potential Benefits

Of the 115,000 injuries due to falls that occur in the construction industry annually, 68,000 are addressed by the subpart M standard while the remaining 47,000 are attributable to circumstances addressed by standards other than subpart M. Injuries and fatalities due to falls in construction that are not covered by subpart M include falls that are not associated with subpart M criteria for fall protection systems (Sec. 1926.502) and involve ladders, stairs, scaffolds, vehicles, and skeletal steel erection of buildings. Similarly, of the 158 fatalities due to falls in construction annually, 95 are covered by provisions of the revised subpart M standard.

Revisions to subpart M promulgated through this rulemaking are expected to result in the prevention of 22 fatalities and 15,600 injuries annually in addition to the fatalities and injuries that would be prevented through full compliance with the existing standard. Most of the falls in construction addressed by subpart M could be prevented through compliance with the existing as well as with the revised standards.

In addition to the unquantifiable reductions in pain and suffering, the prevention of injuries will result in estimated savings of over $200 million annually. This estimate includes savings related to wage and productivity losses, medical costs, administrative expenses, and other costs associated with accidents.

Technological Feasibility

Since the requirements of the revised subpart M can be met with existing equipment and methods that are readily available, the standard is considered to be technologically feasible.


The total estimated costs associated with new requirements included in the revised subpart M standard amount to about $40 million annually. The majority of these costs ($25 million) involve costs associated with providing increased fall protection for employees working on roofs. Other components of the estimated compliance costs involve inspections and tests of personnel safety nets ($5.4 million), and additional training for employees exposed to fall hazards ($6.6 million).

Economic Impacts

Compliance with the requirements of the revised subpart M standard has been determined to be economically feasible and is not expected to produce any significant adverse economic impacts. The costs that are imposed by the regulation should be a minimal burden on construction establishments. The estimated compliance costs represent less than 0.01 percent of total construction revenues and less than 0.5 percent of revenues for each individual construction sector.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, OSHA has made an assessment of the impact of the revised standard and has concluded that it will not have a significant impact upon a substantial number of small entities. The estimated compliance costs do not involve large capital expenditures, and there is no significant differential effect on small firms relative to that on large firms.

OSHA has included non-mandatory appendices as part of the regulation to help improve compliance with the standard and reduce the potential for misunderstanding. These appendices will also help to minimize impacts on small firms by significantly reducing the effort needed to develop a compliance strategy.

[59 FR 40672, Aug. 9, 1994]

Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents

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