The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has posted a new draft compliance directive for steel erection on its Web site. This is the first time OSHA has published a directive on its public Web site in draft form.
The steel erection standard goes into effect Jan. 18 and addresses the hazards that have been identified as the major causes of injuries and fatalities in the steel erection industry.
"This is a new way in which we can be more accessible and responsive in order to better inform the public," OSHA Administrator John Henshaw said. "We welcome suggestions and look forward to working together with the stakeholders on protecting America''s steel workers."
The draft compliance directive includes an overview of the standard, inspection tips for OSHA compliance officers, compliance policy information and definitions from the text of the standard. Concepts addressed by the standard include:
- Site layout and construction sequence,
- Site-specific erection plan,
- Hoisting and rigging,
- Structural steel assembly,
- Column anchorage,
- Beams and columns,
- Open web steel joists,
- Systems-engineered metal buildings,
- Falling object protection,
- Fall protection, and
The draft compliance directive includes several changes that OSHA terms "significantly different from the previous steel erection standard." These include:
Site layout and construction sequence. Requires notification of proper curing of concrete in footings, piers, etc., for steel columns; and requires controlling contractor to provide erector with a safe site layout including preplanning routes for hoisting loads.
Site-specific erection plan. Requires preplanning of key erection elements, including coordination with controlling contractor before erection begins, in certain circumstances.
Hoisting and rigging. Provides additional crane safety for steel erection, minimizes employee exposure to overhead loads through preplanning and work practice requirements, and prescribes proper procedure for multiple lifts (Christmas-treeing).
Structural steel assembly. Provides safer walking/working surfaces by eliminating tripping hazards and minimizing slips through new slip resistance requirements, and provides specific work practices regarding safety landing deck bundles and protecting against fall hazards from interior openings.
Column anchorage. Requires four anchor bolts per column along with other column stability requirements, and requires procedures to ensure adequacy of anchor bolts that have been modified in the field.
Beams and columns. Eliminates collapse hazards associated with making double connections at columns.
Open web steel joists. Adds erection bridging and attachment requirements to minimize risk of collapse of lightweight steel joists; requirements for bridging terminus anchors, with illustrations and drawings in a nonmandatory appendix; and requirements addressing how to place loads on steel joists to minimize risk of collapse.
Systems-engineered metal buildings. Adds requirements to minimize collapse in the erection of these specialized structures.
Falling object protection. Adds performance provisions that address hazards of falling objects in steel erection.
Fall protection. Deckers in a controlled decking zone (CDZ) and connectors must be protected at heights greater than two stories or 30 feet. Connectors between 15 feet and two stories or 30 feet must wear fall arrest or restraint equipment and be able to be tied off or be provided another means of fall protection. Deckers working between 15 feet and two stories or 30 feet may be protected by a CDZ. Fall protection is required for all others engaged in steel erection at heights greater than 15 feet.
Training. Requires qualified person to train exposed workers in fall protection and requires qualified person to train exposed workers engaged in special, high-risk activities.
The draft directive can be accessed on the OSHA Web site at www.osha-slc.gov/doc/steelerection/steelerection-memo.html .
While the agency welcomes suggestions, OSHA warns that this is not part of the rulemaking process. OSHA will not issue an analysis on suggestions received.
Informal suggestions on the draft directive can be sent electronically to OSHA at [email protected]. The cutoff date for receiving suggestions is Dec. 10.
Because the directive is in draft form, it is not an official OSHA policy document.
by Sandy Smith ([email protected])