Regulations and standards

Regulations vs. standards

OSHA - regulations

  • Force of law
  • Not very detailed or expansive
  • Updated very infrequently
  • Absolute minimum fall protection requirements

OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is the division of the US Department of Labor which is responsible for workplace safety. OSHA requirements are mandatory by law and violations can come with penalties including heavy fines or even incarceration.

While OSHA does have many regulations detailing requirements for fall protection, there are some gaps and grey areas in the code. Because of this, compliance with OSHA should be seen as the absolute minimum that should be done to protect workers at-height.

ANSI - standards

  • Best practices for training, equipment, testing, and more
  • Updated regularly
  • Compliance with ANSI ensures greatest safety

The American National Standards Institute is an organization dedicated to promoting safety standards in the workplace, which often fill many of the gaps in OSHA requirements. ANSI guidelines are typically referred to as the "best practices" as they are much more detailed and more frequently updated than OSHA regulations. While compliance with ANSI standards is not required by law, non-compliance often puts workers at unnecessary risk.

For this reason ANSI compliance is the bar that businesses should strive to meet.

ANSI Standards

Section Z359 - The Fall Protection Code

The ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code was written and introduced in the early 1990s to promote clear and elevated standards for fall protection equipment. Since then the section has been expanded to include standards for training, inspection, identification of hazards, testing, and more. Below you'll find a brief explanation of the scope of each section of the Z359 standard.
Each section of Z359 is available in full from ASSP
View the full standards