Are You in Compliance with OSHA’s Fall Protection Regulations? 

 June 24, 2016

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Construction workers without fall protection equipment.

For general industry, OSHA typically requires fall protection at heights greater than four feet, and for construction workplaces, that amount jumps for six feet. Yet, not all standards are uniform, so consider these points:


Your workplace should have a guardrail or similar form of fall protection at four feet or above for:

  • Unprotected edges on open-sided floors
  • Platforms
  • Runways
  • Wall and floor openings
  • Stairwells
  • Chutes and ladders
  • Powered platforms


Similarly, if a worker is above water or a drum, guardrails also must be installed to prevent falls.

However, the four-feet rule changes once a hazard is involved. Regardless of height, a guardrail must be in place if an open-sided floor, walkway, platform, or runway is near dangerous equipment, degreasing units, pickling, or galvanizing tanks.


Does your workplace have stairs with four or more risers? Regardless of whether they extend four feet high, all need to have a rail added to any open side.

Belts & Harnesses

Where scaffolding is concerned, guardrails can also be added to all open sides and ends of platforms if it goes 10 feet above the ground. However, these areas can be particularly dangerous, so OSHA recommends having a safety belt attached to a lifeline, regardless of height.

Similarly, workers on aerial boom-lifts further need a body belt with the lanyard attached to the boom or basket. Here, too, the safety gear must be worn, regardless of height.

For another industry-specific standard, those working in telecommunications also must wear safety belts and straps, unless an elevated platform with a guardrail is used.


When your workplace has a fixed ladder greater than 20 feet, it must be equipped with a cage or wells. If a similar ladder is on a tower, water tank, or chimney, any worker on it must wear a lifebelt or use friction brakes or sliding attachments.

For harnesses, brakes, and other gear, find standard fall protection equipment at 1st Aid Supplies. Browse today to see what matches your workplace’s needs.

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