Friday, November 30, 2012

New OSHA Rules Hit Modular Home Set Crews

After several postponements and “phase-in” periods, OSHA’s 2010 directive on fall protection for residential construction finally goes into effect on December 15. Its new rule represents the latest chapter in the ongoing debate among contractors, insurers, and the government over how best to prevent injuries and fatalities caused by jobsite falls.

Set crews working on modular homes will be affected by the new rules. It will be interesting to see how they work within the guidelines seeing that about 80% of the homes’ roof is typically shingled in the factory.

This roofer appears to be using a safety tether strap in compliance with OSHA
On average, 40 construction workers die each year from falls, the industry’s leading cause of death. An OSHA survey of insured employers in 36 states found that their workman’s compensation liability for roofers injured from falls exceeds $100,000. 

However, a trade group representing 2,500 roofing contractors contends that the new regulations take away the easiest fall protection that roofers have used on sloped roofs for decades, and could actually lead to other unintended jobsite accidents.

In the past OSHA had allowed employers to use specified alternative methods of fall protection on slopes greater than 4:12, meaning that the incline is 4 inches for every foot of roofing space.

The most commonly used protection on lower-slope roofs had been a slide guard, a piece of wood attached horizontally to rafters by a 90-degree bracket that slips under existing shingles, which installers step on for support as they move up and down the incline. On roofs with inclines of 4:12 to 6:12, the slide guard was typically installed at the eave of the roof; and at every eight feet of roof space on roofs with 6:12 to 8:12 slopes.

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