Protection from falls and electrical hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires fall protection when working more than 6 feet off the ground, and specific requirements when working around overhead power lines. These guidelines are there to protect you, the volunteer and employee. 

  • Plan: When estimating the cost of a job, affiliates must include safety equipment.
  • Provide: To protect volunteers, affiliates must provide the right equipment for the job, including fall protection. This could be scaffolding or Personal Fall Arrest Systems.
  • Train: Volunteers must be trained in the proper use of equipment. Habitat has implemented a new Master Safety Training Program to train affiliates on their responsibility to provide a safe build site. On each RV Care-A-Vanner build, the team leader or another member of the construction team should be providing a safety briefing before work begins each day. This is the perfect time to go over the safety requirements for the tasks that day. If the equipment used is more complicated, the affiliate should provide the necessary training. This may include the competent person on site guiding the team through setting up scaffolding correctly or the correct use of fall protection gear.

This also includes electrical hazards. Some of the OSHA requirements are:

  • Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines over 300 volts.
  • Post warning signs on the ground.
  • Assume that lines are energized.
  • Use wood or fiberglass ladders.
  • Stay at least 3 feet away from the weatherhead on the roof.

If you want to know more about OSHA standards, go to, click on Regulations – OSHA Law and Regulations, then the Construction tab.

  • Construction standards 1926
    • Subpart C General Safety
    • Subpart E Personal Protection
    • Subpart F Fire Protection
    • Subpart I Tools
    • Subpart K Electrical
    • Subpart L Scaffolds
    • Subpart M Fall Protection
    • Subpart X Ladders and Stairways

Next month we will talk about what you as a volunteer can do to ensure a safe build site.

Lisa Crawford
Master Safety Training Program coordinator