Oregon OSHA lowers minimum height requirements for fall protection in construction work

Also bans use of slide guards as fall protection

Posted January 12, 2017

As of January 1, 2017, construction workers in Oregon have new protections for working at heights. The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) has lowered the minimum trigger height at which workers must be protected from falls from ten feet to six feet.

Also, beginning on October 1, 2017, slide guards will no longer be allowed as a method of protecting workers from falling off of sloped roofs.

Oregon OSHA says the revisions to the state’s construction regulations require construction contractors to use some form of fall protection whenever employees are working at heights of six feet or more. In addition, contractors using slide guards as the primary means of fall protection will need to switch to a different fall protection method, which could include personal fall arrest and fall restraint systems.

Contractors most likely to be affected by the new height requirements are those who work on single-family homes that have ground-to-eave heights between six and ten feet, along with those that do projects where slide guards are used for fall protection.

Statistics show that falls to a lower level are the leading type of fall for construction workers in Oregon. From 2013 to 2015, a total of 774 construction workers were injured by these types of falls. General fall-protection requirements were the top-cited construction industry violation in 2016, with 289 violations and initial penalties amounting to $603,010.

Oregon OSHA urges construction employers to make fall protection an essential part of their overall safety program.

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