OSHA announced Friday that its final steel erection standard will go into effect Jan. 18, 2002. The original effective date was to be July 18, 2001.
"This is the first OSHA safety standard developed under the negotiated rulemaking process and it''s important that we continue to work cooperatively in order to protect the safety of America''s iron workers," said Acting OSHA Administrator R. Davis Layne. "The revised effective date allows additional time for the agency to conduct outreach activities and affords the industry sufficient time to adjust to the new requirements."
The new effective date gives additional time to the industry to become familiar with the new requirements and to provide training to employees in the construction industry.
OSHA is also preparing outreach and training material to assist industry in the training process.
OSHA expects that the additional six months will also allow employers time to make the necessary changes to avoid costly re-fabrication of already made components and avoid serious delays to projects that would affect all trades involved in the construction process.
Components are typically fabricated two or three months prior to being erected.
The agency said it will not apply the component requirements of the new standard to the following two situations:
- to components used in steel erection projects where the building permit was obtained before the final rule was published (Jan. 18, 2001); and
- to components used in steel erection projects in which the steel erection work has begun before Sept. 16, 2001.
OSHA''s new rule on steel erection, developed in concert with industry and union groups, is expected to prevent 30 fatalities and 1,142 injuries annually and save employers nearly $40 million a year.
The standard enhances protections provided to iron workers by addressing the hazards that have been identified as the major causes of injuries and fatalities in the steel erection industry.
These are hazards associated with working under loads; hoisting, landing and placing decking; column stability; double connections; landing and placing steel joints; and falls to lower levels.
Information regarding OSHA''s decision to revise the effective date of the final steel erection standard is scheduled for publication in today''s issue of the Federal Register.
by Virginia Sutcliffe