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NAHB Pleased with 90-Day Delay but Still Advocates for a More Practical Fall Protection Standard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 13, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) applauds the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration for listening to the industry’s plea to consider the negative implications the recent change in the fall protection requirements — such an important component of job site safety — would have on residential construction companies.

Home builders and remodelers have been given a reprieve from OSHA enforcement of new, more stringent fall protection regulations which have been in effect since Sept. 15, 2011.

OSHA’s temporary enforcement measures, which provide free on-site compliance assistance, penalty reductions, extended abatement dates, measures to ensure consistency and increased outreach, have been extended until March 15.

“We are very pleased that OSHA heeded our calls,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, chairman of NAHB and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla., and a longtime advocate of sensible, practical regulations that protect workers from falls.

While the enforcement deadline is a step in the right direction, NAHB is still advocating that the standard still needs work to make it practical in today’s housing market.

In a Dec. 10 letter and petition to OSHA officials, NAHB staff asked the agency to reopen the rulemaking and try again to create a rule that applies to home builders, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach that is better suited to commercial contracting.

“NAHB’s builder and contractor members make safety a priority and regularly take steps to reduce or eliminate falls during residential construction activities and comply with OSHA’s fall protection standard. However, after years of interpretations, compliance directives, and guidance documents that have failed to ensure compliance and improve safety, NAHB is convinced that the most beneficial way to address falls in the residential construction industry is for OSHA to promulgate a standard specifically tailored for residential construction,” the letter said.