Residential Fall Protection-Setting Joists/Trusses

Residential Fall Protection-Setting Joists/Trusses

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 setting floor joists/trusses.

Floor joists and floor trusses are usually constructed directly over the foundation walls or lower level walls. Fall hazards are present when working anywhere where a fall over 6 feet exists.  There are different means of safe work practices to be protected the worker from a fall.

  • Personal Fall Arrest System—selecting the correct anchor position near your feet can be difficult. The ideal location for an anchor point is above your working area; however, you can protect yourself from a fall if the proper anchor position and correct lanyard adjustments are put in place. (NOTE: anchor points need to be constantly moved from point to point to be in compliance). You must always be attached to an anchor point with a lanyard, shock absorber and full body harness.  If at any point, you could free fall over 6’ OR hit the floor below you…anchor points must be moved and adjustments to lanyard must occur.
  • Scaffolding—many workers use scaffolding to elevate themselves without getting on top of walls. Job built scaffolding is not acceptable by OSHA standards anymore.  If you use scaffolding, fall protection is required at 10 feet or higher.  If the scaffolding has wheels, they must be locked when working on platforms.  Wall bracket scaffolds can be used on a residential structure once a wall has been completed. These scaffolds can provide access around the perimeter of the structure and can be used by workers while they install carrier beams, floor joists, and floor trusses. This type of scaffold can also be used in other phases of residential construction.  When using scaffolding, ensure you follow CFR Part 1926 Subpart L—Scaffolds.
  • Ladders —workers can set floor trusses/joists working from ladders. Ladders are very easy to move and convenient tools to help elevate for work above.  When using ladders, ensure you follow CFR Part 1926 Subpart X—Ladders.

OSHA’s new standards will allow workers to inspect and deliver materials to a work area that is over 6 feet. But the second you are in the act of working (measuring, pulling layout, rolling joists, installing rim board, etc.…) fall protection/prevention is required over 6 feet. NO EXCEPTIONS!


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