It is common knowledge in the commercial construction industry that there are particular OSHA standards which must be followed; however, many workers in the residential construction industry may not know that OSHA has standards for that industry as well. Therefore, it is difficult for workers to adhere to standards if they don’t even know they exist.
There is, in fact, a duty for contractors to have residential fall protection (OSHA 1926.501). Workers, though, must know what rules must be followed for their safety.
“Commercial construction workers know there are OSHA regulations; it seems that many residential workers don’t know about these regulations,” United Tool and Fastener owner, Bobby Williams, said. “We at United Tool and Fastener can help residential construction companies educate their workers about construction safety.”
OSHA also has specific training requirements for residential construction, and employers must be able to verify compliance with 1926.503(b) with a written certification record containing the name of the employee trained, the dates of the training, and the signature of the person who conducted the training.
Residential fall protection training programs must be provided by an employer whose employees are or might be exposed to fall hazards (1926.5039a)(2). The program enables employees to recognize the hazards of falling and know the procedures necessary to minimize such hazards.
Training must include:
- the use and operation of guardrail systems,
- personal fall arrest systems,
- safety net systems,
- warning line systems,
- safety monitoring systems,
- controlled access zones,
- and other protection to be used in addition to the role of each employee in the safety monitoring system.
One example of this lack of residential construction safety knowledge is when workers are on residential roofs.
According to OSHA, employees working on “steep roofs, low-slope roofs or residential construction activities 6 feet or more above lower levels” shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.
For example, when expanding upon what ‘guardrail systems’ entail, the OSHA website says “guardrail systems shall be so surfaced as to prevent injury to an employee from punctures or lacerations, and to prevent snagging of clothing” (1926.502(b)(6)) and “top rails and midrails shall be at least one-quarter inch (0.6 cm) nominal diameter or thickness to prevent cuts and lacerations” (1926.502(b)(9)).
There are explicit expectations for each part of residential construction, and it is necessary that all protocol is followed for worker safety.