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.
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.
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 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.
29 CFR 1926 Subpart M - Fall Protection
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?
- 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.
- NCDOL Investigates: Fall From Ladder provides an overview of the investigation process used for falls from ladders.
- NCDOL Investigates: Fall From Roof provides an overview of the investigation process associated with falls from roofs.
- NCDOL Investigates Fall From Scaffolding provides an overview of the investigation process associated with falls from scaffolding.
- Industry Guide 48 - OSHA Construction Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, provides requirements for standards related to falls in construction.
- Industry Guide 49 - OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, provides requirements for standards related to falls in general industry.
- Industry Guide 53 - OSHA Shipyard Employment Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, highlights the requirements of standards related to falls in shipyard employment.
If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 919-707-7876.