Oregon OSHA's

Health and Safety Resource

Print version

December 2016

Heads up: Fall protection requirements for construction are about to change

There are two new safety requirements in store next year for employers who do construction work in Oregon and they are both about fall protection.

  • On Jan. 1, Oregon OSHA's 10-foot trigger height – the minimum height at which workers must be protected from falls – will fall to six feet (no pun intended).
  • On Oct. 1, slide guards will no longer be permitted as a method of protecting workers from falling off of sloped roofs.

These new requirements mean that – if you do construction work – you will need to use some form of fall protection to prevent your employees from falling six feet or more to a lower level, beginning Jan. 1, 2017. And, if you are using slide guards as fall protection, you will have to replace them with another type of fall protection, starting Oct. 1, 2017.

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Administrator's Message

Workplace protection begins with the recognition that the unlikely will happen

As 2016 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting a bit about probabilities and how little the people who must use them really understand them. And perhaps nowhere is that as true as in workplace health and safety.

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Precaution is better than cure.”

Sir Edward Coke (1552 - 1634), English barrister

You feel unsafe at work – now what do you do?

"It's the law! You have a right to a safe and healthful workplace." Those words should be common knowledge to every working Oregonian because they are prominent in Oregon OSHA's safety and health poster, which is displayed in every Oregon workplace – or, at least it should be.

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Did you know?


  • Among Oregon OSHA's top 10 violations of 2015, general fallprotection requirements ranked No. 3, with 266 violations and initial penalties totaling $624,980.
  • Deaths caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 337 of the 874 construction deaths recorded in 2014, according to federal data.
  • The construction industry has the greatest number of both fatal and nonfatal traumatic brain injuries among U.S. workplaces, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. From 2003 to 2010, 2,210 construction workers died because of a traumatic brain injury.
  • In the U.S., more than 500,000 people per year are treated – and about 300 people die – from ladder-related injuries, according to NIOSH.

Going the distance

with Craig Hamelund, Oregon OSHA's safety training specialist

photo of Craig Hamelund

Employees provide tremendous insight and creative solutions, and their involvement can breed ownership."

Craig Hamelund

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Ask Technical

How close to the edge of a deck or floor can employees work before fall protection is required?

Can I use a warning line to protect employees working next to an unprotected floor edge?

Can tradespeople other than roofers use warning lines when they are working on a roof?

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Don't miss out

January 30 & 31, 2017
Construction Safety Summit
Riverhouse on the Deschutes • Bend

December and January
Upcoming education workshops

March 6-9, 2017
Oregon Goveror's Occupational Safety & Health Conference

Get the details

Did you know?

• How far can you fall with a shock-absorbing lanyard? Oregon OSHA's fall distance educator shows you how to calculate your fall distance and your free fall distance with three different scenarios. Open the app.

• In 2013, 63 Oregon construction workers filed (accepted) disabling claims for injuries from falling objects. In the "tools and equipment" category, items included a box cutter, a nonpowered saw, a crowbar, a caliper, and an extension ladder.

• Oriented strand board (OSB), plywood, fiberboard, rigid foam, diagonal boards, and fiberglass-faced gypsum panels are all examples of – sheathing or sheeting? Most builders use the word sheathing, which means a protective ornamental case or covering. But there is nothing wrong with using sheeting either – as long as you're not referring to a fabric for making bed linen. Sheeting also means a protective lining or cladding of metal or timber.


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Reprinting, excerpting, or plagiarizing any part of this publication is fine with us. Please send us a copy of your publication or inform the Resource editor as a courtesy. If you have questions about the information in Resource, please call 503-378-3272.

For general information, technical answers, or information about Oregon OSHA services, please call 503-378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, 800-922-2689.