The Occupational Safety and Health Administration''s (OSHA) steel erection standard goes into effect today, a move the agency hopes will enhance safety for the nation''s iron workers.
"This standard focuses on the most dangerous hazards in the industry and the hazard posed by evolving work practices and new technologies," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "This emphasis will help prevent many of the 2,300 unnecessary injuries and 35 fatalities that occur in this industry every year."
The steel erection standard is the first rule developed under the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990 and the Department of Labor''s negotiated rulemaking policy. Developed in conjunction with industry and union groups, the new rule is expected to save employers nearly $40 million per year.
The new standard improves protection to iron workers by placing special emphasis on the most serious hazards in the steel erection industry. These include hazards associated with working under loads; hoisting; landing and placing decking; column stability; double connections; landing and placing steel joists; and falls to lower levels.
Although the standard is now in effect, OSHA will not conduct general schedule inspections for 60 days - until March 16. During this interim period, the agency will emphasize outreach and education to assist the industry in training employees on the new requirements.
by Sandy Smith ([email protected])