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Construction exceptions
  • Exceptions to the fall protection rule exist for construction workers who are in the process of inspecting or investigating a worksite before work begins or after work is completed.

The rule covers most construction workers except those inspecting, investigating, or assessing workplace conditions prior to the actual start of work or after all work has been completed (1926.500(a)(1)).

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set this exception because employees engaged in inspecting, investigating and assessing workplace conditions before the actual work begins or after work has been completed are exposed to fall hazards for very short durations, if at all, since they most likely would be able to accomplish their work without going near the danger zone.

It is OSHA’s experience that such individuals, who are not continually or routinely exposed to fall hazards, tend to be very focused on their footing, ever alert, and aware of the hazards associated with falling.

OSHA says that employees who inspect, investigate, or assess workplace conditions will be more aware of their proximity to an unprotected edge than, for example, a roofer who is moving backwards while operating a felt laying machine, or a plumber whose attention is on overhead pipe and not on the floor edge.