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Minnesota OSHA Compliance -- Residential fall-protection

Residential fall-protection guidelines

Residential roofingEffective June 16, 2011, Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) no longer accepts the Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction and enforces 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13). Employers are no longer able to use the alternative fall-protection measures found in the rescinded 1999 Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction.

The guidelines were rescinded for the following reasons.

  • They were never intended to be a permanent resolution.

  • Conventional fall-protection is safe and feasible for the vast majority of residential construction activities.

  • Federal OSHA received recommendations to rescind the interim directive.

  • The residential fall-protection requirements have always been established in Subpart M at 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13). The new policy directive implements the standard as it was originally intended.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, fatalities from falls are the leading cause of workplace deaths in construction.

Table 1. Leading causes of construction fatalities -- U.S. BLS
Fatalities 2008 2009 2010 2011* 2012*
Falls 336 283 264 259 278
Struck by 108 79 64 73 78
Electrocutions 89 89 76 69 66
Caught in/between/crushed 92 72 70 48 55

Table 2. Fatalities from falls in residential construction -- U.S. BLS
Fatalities 2008 2009 2010 2011* 2012*
Total falls 40 44 51 26 44
Roof as source (all event types) 7 14 12 9 11

*Definitions and coding logic for these categories changed beginning in 2011.

Effective June 16, 2011, employers must follow 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13), which states each employee engaged in residential construction activities six feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected by a guardrail system, safety net system or personal fall-arrest system unless another provision in paragraph (b) of this section provides for an alternate fall-protection measure.

For further information contact Minnesota OSHA at osha.compliance@state.mn.us, (651) 284-5050 or

Additional resources

Bullet-point graphic View Minnesota OSHA's presentation -- Residential fall protection

Bullet-point graphic Federal OSHA requirements -- Residential fall protection (Note:  This change became effective in Minnesota on June 16, 2011.)

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