Residential Fall Protection-Constructing and Standing Walls

Residential Fall Protection – Constructing and Standing Walls

OSHA published a notice in 2010 issuing a new compliance directive for fall protection used during residential construction. This new directive requires that all workers/employees must be protected from a fall over 6 feet by conventional fall protection: GUARDRAIL SYSTEMS, SAFETY NETS AND/OR PERSONAL FALL ARREST SYSTEMS. There are many tasks during residential construction where fall protection will be required.  This tool box talk will focus on constructing and standing walls.

Framed wall sections usually are constructed on the ground and typically include sheathing and openings for windows and doors. Guardrails across these openings can help prevent falls while work is being performed in the house after the walls have been erected. These walls can be erected by using a lifting device such as a crane, boom truck, or forklift. Jacks can also be used to raise these walls. These practices greatly reduce the likelihood that a worker will be exposed to a fall during this stage of construction.

Here are some tips to keep you safe during this stage:

  • When using a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) make sure:
  • Anchorage points are installed properly and can support 5000 lbs. Remember, only 1 worker per anchor point.
  • Harness is inspected and properly fitted prior to use.
  • Lanyard is properly adjusted—self retracting lanyards are recommended.
  • All workers are trained in how to properly inspect and use the fall protection equipment.

When using Guardrail Systems make sure:

  • Uprights are installed no further than 8 feet apart. Manufactured uprights are preferred and recommended.
  • Top rails at 42” and mid-rails at 21” and toe boards.
  • Top rails can support at least 200 lbs.
  • Only splice the rails at an upright.

If you are protected from falling over 6’ at exterior leading-edge work with guardrails and they need to be removed to install walls, fall protection is required.

If you erect exterior walls and the windowsills are lower than 39”, guardrails need to be installed on window or fall protection is required when working near the windows.

If you stand walls without sheathing and wall openings are greater than 18”, guardrails must be installed or fall protection is required when working near these wall openings.


If you have questions or want to contact us directly, email us at or call us at 800-727-5051.