OSHA Regulations on Fences at Construction Sites

by Lindsay Zortman; Updated September 26, 2017
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Keeping the construction site safe is a priority for all construction companies. Fencing around the construction location allows the site manager to maintain the safety of workers while keeping the general public out of the construction site. OSHA regulations, as well as county regulations, have to be followed or fines will be levied against the construction firm in charge of the project.

Height Workers

Workers who need to do a job at a distance more than 10 feet from the ground need to wear a safety harness or have adequate barriers to prevent falls. Workers on a scaffolding, roof, high-rise building or bridge are included in this harness requirement. Fencing around the edges of these work areas prevents accidental falls. Barriers on scaffolding help to prevent falls by enclosing the area around the scaffolding. When working on roofs or second story buildings without walls, a makeshift barrier can be made by nailing boards to the roof with 4-foot tall railings. Exterior walls in high-rise buildings act as barriers to prevent falls. If the exterior walls have not been constructed, employees must wear a harness.

Holes on Site

Stairways and open holes in constructions zones need to be visibly marked. Safety handrails are necessary on all open stairways to prevent falls. Holes in the ground should have a secure lid and railing around the perimeter. A standard railing is 4 feet tall and encompasses the entire hole, stairway or unprotected floor opening.

Perimeter Fencing

To prevent the general public from entering a construction work zone, a 6-foot fence is necessary around the perimeter of the construction site. Fencing should be locked at all times when construction personnel are not present. Signs posted on the fencing perimeter need to warn intruders of the safety risk at that location and the legal ramifications of trespassing.

About the Author

Lindsay Zortman has worked as a writer since 2001. Her work focuses on topics about cancer, children, chemical dependency, real estate, finance, family issues and other health-related topics. She is a featured writer with the National Brain Tumor Foundation. Zortman is a nationally certified counselor and holds a Master of Arts in counseling from the University of South Dakota.

Photo Credits

  • abandoned highrise buidling image by Alexey Stiop from Fotolia.com