Fall Protection

This discussion of fall protection is limited to fall protection as it pertains to construction-related activities and shipyard employment. Fall protection in general industry is discussed on the safety and health topic page for walking and working surfaces.

Fall protection is any equipment, device or system that prevents an employee from falling from an elevation or mitigates the effect of such a fall.

A fall hazard is any condition on a walking-working surface that exposes an employee to a risk of harm from a fall on the same level or to a lower level.

Fall Protection

Tab/Accordion Items

What are the hazards associated with fall protection?

In the absence of fall protection, employees can become seriously injured resulting in broken bones, strains and sprains, or death.

What can I do to protect myself?

Whenever employees are provided with personal fall protection equipment, they must examine it prior to beginning work from an elevation. Employers are required to ensure that employees have been trained and have the proper equipment to prevent a fall to a lower surface and have implemented a fall protection plan.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Safety and Health Programs

An example fall protection training certificate can be used to document employer's training. Information on developing a fall protection plan and  example plans are also available. 

Training and Outreach Services

A fall protection in construction presentation is available for workplaces to assist in training their staff. The presentation should be modified to address site-specific conditions and hazards. 

In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. This fall protection pre-recorded webinar can also be accessed at any time.

Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video service) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

A-Z Safety and Health Topic Pages

The A-Z topic pages on recording and reportingpersonal protective equipment and walking and working surfaces provides additional related resource information, 

Consultation Services

The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.

Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to fall protection in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 


Other OSH standards that may apply to fall protection in construction include:

  • 29 CFR 1926.104 - safety belts, lifelines, and lanyards

  • 29 CFR 1904.7  - recordkeeping, general recording criteria

  • 29 CFR 1904.39 - recordkeeping, reporting fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye as a result of work-related incidents to OSHA

Maritime, Shipyard Employment

Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.


Where can I learn more?

Compliance Documents

  • Standards Notice (SN) 65 discusses the conditions in which the use of warning lines on low-slope roofs qualifies as fall protection.
  • SN 74 addresses fall protection requirements when employees are engaged in the installation of dry laid masonry retaining walls.
  • Standards directive STD 03-11-002 addresses fall protection requirements when employees are engaged in residential construction.
  • Memo - Falls National Emphasis Program provides guidance to staff on implementing the NEP through existing procedures.  

Fact Sheets

Industry Guides

Technical Assistance

Inquiries about workplace safety and health requirements can be submitted to Ask OSH through the online form, by email to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov, or by phone at 919-707-7876.