New York Residential Fall Protection – How You Should be Kept Safe

On September 15, 2011 the phase-in period for residential construction fall protection will end. As of that date, residential construction employers will be required to be in compliance with the OSHA directive regarding residential construction fall protection.

What Has Changed in Residential Fall Protection?

Prior to the new directive being issued, construction employers could use alternative methods of fall protection instead of conventional fall protection without proving that the conventional fall protection was infeasible or hazardous and without submitting a written fall protection plan.

Now, residential construction employers must ensure that guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems are used unless the employer can prove that these conventional fall protection systems are infeasible or create a greater hazard than alternative fall protection methods. In order to prove that an alternative method is necessary, the employer must have a qualified person create a written and site specific fall protection plan in accordance with federal regulations that includes why conventional fall protection systems are infeasible or create a greater hazard.

Why the Changes are Significant

Approximately 40 construction workers die every year, and many more are injured, in falls from residential buildings.* Many of these falls are preventable with conventional fall equipment such as guardrails, safety, nets or personal fall arrest systems.

The OSHA directive, which is scheduled to be fully enforceable on September 15, replaces a previous directive from the 1990s that allowed residential construction employers greater flexibility in deciding how to prevent falls. That greater flexibility may have resulted in preventable New York construction injuries and deaths.

If you have been hurt, or if you have lost a loved one, in a New York construction fall accident, it is important to contact a New York accident attorney today for a free consultation. The experienced New York accident lawyers of The Pagan Law Firm would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation about your legal rights and potential recovery. Please call us today at 1-800-PAGAN-911.

*Source: OSHA News Release US Labor Department's OSHA acts to protect residential roofing workers: Agency rescinds Clinton-era directive and gives workers more safeguards against falls, December 22, 2010

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