Does "Subpart M - Fall Protection" Apply to You?

Subpart M provides the requirements for fall protection in construction workplaces. Note: The provisions of this subpart do not apply when employees are making an inspection, investigation, or assessment of workplace conditions prior to the actual start of construction work or after all construction work has been completed.

The scope, application, and definitions applicable to this subpart sets forth those workplaces, conditions, operations, and circumstances for which fall protection shall be provided except:

  • Fall protection requirements for employees working on scaffolds are provided in subpart L.
  • Fall protection requirements for employees working on cranes and derricks are provided in subpart CC - fall protection.
  • Fall protection requirements for employees performing steel erection work (except for towers and tanks) are provided in subpart R on steel erection on fall protection.
  • Fall protection requirements for employees working on equipment used in tunneling operations are provided in subpart S - underground construction.
  • Fall protection requirements for employees engaged in the erection of tanks and communication and broadcast towers are provided in subpart E - safety nets. Note: North Carolina has a state specific standard for communication towers that includes fall protection requirements.
  • Fall protection requirements for employees working from aerial lifts or on poles, towers, or similar structures while engaged in the construction of electric transmission or distribution lines or equipment are provided in subpart V.
  • Fall protection requirements for employees working on stairways and ladders are provided in subpart X - general requirements.

Are your employees exposed to fall hazards that are not covered by another subpart as mentioned above? If yes, then you need to comply with subpart M.

The duty to have fall protection standard covers the general requirements for fall protection including unprotected sides and edges, leading edges, hoist areas, holes, ramps, runways, excavations, formwork, dangerous equipemnt, overhand bricklaying and related work, steep roofs, precast concrete erection, residential construction, wall openings, walking and working surfaces, and protection from falling objects.

The fall protection systems criteria and practices standard provides fall protection system criteria, guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), positioning device systems, warning line systems, controlled access zones, safety monitoring sustems, hole covers, protection from falling objects (i.e., toeboards,guardrails, canopies), and fall protection plans. In addition, it provides the standard on training requirements (i.e., training program, certification, retraining). 

The NCDOL Library is available for assistance regarding access to consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, ASME, NFPA, IEEE). In addition, information can be found on the A-Z topics page for fall protection and personal protective equipment.