At what height is fall protection required?

In the United States, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), fall protection is generally required for workers at heights of 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more in the construction industry (29 CFR 1926.501). In general industry settings, such as manufacturing or warehousing, the height requirement is typically 4 feet (1.2 meters) (29 CFR 1910.28).

Other specific industries or tasks may have different requirements. For example:

  • For scaffolding work, fall protection is required at heights of 10 feet (3 meters) or more (29 CFR 1926.451).
  • For steel erection activities, the threshold is typically 15 feet (4.6 meters), but there are certain exceptions (29 CFR 1926.760).

It’s also important to note that regardless of height, OSHA requires fall protection when working over dangerous equipment or machinery.

These regulations are specific to the United States and may vary in other countries, so always check the regulations in your specific location and industry.

Additionally, even when not required by law, many safety professionals recommend the use of fall protection anytime a fall hazard exists, as falls can still be dangerous even from relatively low heights.

Remember, fall protection can include a variety of measures, not just personal fall arrest systems. It can also include guardrails, safety nets, restraint systems, and other safety equipment, as well as training and procedures to prevent falls.

Have a question about personal safety equipment, work clothes, PPE industry? Anbu Safety writer Arlen Wang will find answers to the queries. to submit a question send an email to:

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