March 18, 2014
Although paragraph 1926.451(g)(2) in Oregon OSHA’s scaffold standard is not a model of clarity, it implies that when fall protective equipment for erectors and dismantlers is feasible and safe, it must be installed and used.
In a recent case decided by the Oregon Court of Appeals, an employer contested a citation Oregon OSHA issued after an employee fell 40 feet from a scaffold that he and other employees were dismantling.
The question before the court was whether the fall protection requirements in 1926.451(g)(1) apply to scaffold erectors and dismantlers. The court held that while 1926.451(g)(1) does not apply, scaffold erectors and dismantlers are still protected from falls by the requirements in 1926.451(g)(2).
The court noted that, while 1926.451(g)(1) generally requires that employees on scaffolds be protected by fall-protection systems, paragraph 1926.451(g)(2) applies specifically to erectors and dismantlers and was intended to protect them from falls.
According to the court, OSHA adopted paragraph (g)(2) specifically to protect scaffold erectors and dismantlers from falling when it is safe and feasible to do so, not merely to provide protective equipment that the employees may use (or not) at their option (italics added).
The court noted that although 1926.451(g)(2) could be drafted more explicitly, “we read it to require that, when installation and use of protective equipment is feasible and safe, it must be installed and used.”
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