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National News Release: 11-543-NAT
April 14, 2011
Contact: Enrique Chaurand    Jesse Lawder
Phone: 202-693-4675    202-693-4659
Email: chaurand.enrique@dol.gov    lawder.jesse@dol.gov

US Labor Department fall protection directive upheld in US Court of Appeals

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected a challenge by the National Roofing Contractors Association to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's December 2010 directive on the use of fall protection in residential construction. The directive withdrew an earlier one that allowed certain residential construction employers to bypass some fall protection requirements.

"Fall protection saves lives," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "There are effective means available to protect residential construction workers from falls. We applaud the court's decision upholding this updated, commonsense directive."

Data from the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that an average of 40 workers are killed each year as a result of falls from residential roofs. One-third of those deaths represent Latino workers, who often lack sufficient access to safety information and protections. Latino workers comprise more than one-third of all construction employees.

"Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of death in construction," added Michaels. "These deaths are preventable, and we must prevent them."

OSHA's new directive, Standard 03-11-002, rescinded the Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction, Standard 03-00-001. Prior to the issuance of this new directive, Standard 03-00-001 allowed employers engaged in certain residential construction activities to use specified alternative methods of fall protection rather than the conventional fall protection required by the residential construction fall protection standard. With the issuance of the new directive, all residential construction employers must comply with 29 Code of