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Designated Areas

Yellow warning line on construction site roof

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Designated Areas for General Industry Applications

Temporary is interpreted in this context as "brief or short", where the task can generally be performed in less time than it takes to install or set up conventional fall protection.

Infrequent is interpreted in this context as "on occasion, when needed, or at sporadic or irregular intervals". Examples of infrequent tasks include annual maintenance or servicing of equipment, monthy or quarterly replacement of batteries or HVAC filters, and responding to an equipment outage or breakdown. In these instances, the frequency of exposure to fall hazards is very limited. However, tasks performed or repeated on a daily, routine, or regular basis are not considered "infrequent". It would also not include work that workers perform as a primary or routine part of their jobs, or repeatedly at various locations during a work shift.

Both requirements must be met in order to use designated areas.

Work that is 6-to-15 feet from the edge

Designated areas (DA) are permitted by OSHA when work is being performed on a low-sloped roof and work is greater than 6 feet and less than 15 feet from the unprotected roof edge, and is both infrequent and temporary. Designated areas may only be set up and used by trained personnel. Fall Protection User level training is required. When a designated area is being used, the following requirements apply:

  • The perimeter of the DA must be delineated with a warning line.
    • Warning line is erected as close to the work area as the task permits and is erected not less than 6 feet from the roof edge for work that is both temporary and infrequent, or not less than 15 feet for other work.
    • Is clearly visible from a distance of 25 feet away and anywhere within the designated area. (See requirements for warning lines.)
  • Employees must remain within the DA while work operations are underway. 
  • Personal fall arrest systems are not required within the DA.

Work that is within 6 feet of the edge

When work must be performed within 6 feet of an unprotected edge (i.e. outside of the Designated Area), personnel must be protected by one of the following methods:

Work that is 15 feet or more from the edge

When work is performed 15 feet or more from the roof edge, and the work is both infrequent and temporary, fall protection is not required provided that a work rule has been implemented and enforced.

  • Work rule: Personnel are prohibited from going within 15 feet of the roof edge without the use of a fall protection system (i.e. guardrail system, safety net system, travel restraint system, personal fall arrest system, or designated area).

Contact Information

Robin McCall-Miller, Occupational Safety Program Manager