This is not your father's steel erection standard. It is much more extensive than the current standard and it imposes new duties upon the "controlling contractor." Fabricators who hire the erector under "furnish & install" subcontracts may become a "controlling contractor."
Tanks and towers are excluded from the new standard, but materials such as aluminum (non-ferrous metals), composites, glass, and plastics will come under the new standard, when they are related to steel erection.
Construction, alterations, and/or repair of bridges, buildings, and structures where steel erection occurs are covered. The "scope" paragraph lists 73 examples of structures where steel erection may occur, including: curtain walls; window walls; storefronts; lift-slab/tilt-up; oil & gas drill rigs and production facilities; conveyors; stackers/reclaimers; ovens; furnaces; stacks; and stone/masonry architectural materials mounted on steel frames.
This standard, subpart R of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) construction standards, 29 CFR 1926, was published in the Federal Register (FR) on Jan. 18, 2001 (Vol. 66, No. 12) and becomes effective on July 18, 2001 (Editors Note: An OSHA spokesman notes that the implementation date – because of a review of the standard by the Bush administration and petitions for review filed in the Fourth District Circuit Court in Richmond, VA, by the Steel Joist Institute and the Resilient Floor Institute and in the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court by the Steel Coalition – "is subject to change.").
A copy of the standard can be found and printed off OSHA's Website, www.osha.gov, or you may pick up a copy of the FR at any OSHA office. If you choose to print it from the Website, it is recommended that you print the "Summary & Explanation of the Final Rule", FR page numbers 5199 - 5253.
An outline of the rule follows:
OUTLINE OF PRIMARY ISSUES, SUBPART R, STEEL ERECTION, 29 CFR 1926, revised Jan. 18, 2001:
SCOPE (1926.750): What is covered.
APPROVAL TO BEGIN STEEL ERECTION 1926.752
WORKING UNDER LOADS 1926.753(d)
CHRISTMAS-TREEING is allowed. 1926.753(e)
SHEAR CONNECTORS 1926.754(c)
FRAMED METAL DECK OPENINGS 1926.754(e)(2)
DOUBLE CONNECTIONS 1926.756(c)
PERIMETER COLUMNS 1926.756(e)
OPEN WEB STEEL JOISTS 1926.757
METAL BUILDINGS 1926.758: OSHA's first rules regarding metal buildings.
FALL PROTECTION 1926.760
Even though this standard was a negotiated rule, with input from labor, general contractors, erectors, vendors, OSHA etc., there is still controversy associated with it. The Steel Joist Institute filed what amounts to an objection to certain provisions of 1926.757. To review this, go to www.steeljoist.com. Click on "What's New", then click on "..."Safety Standards for Erection." I have not seen any response by OSHA to this objection.
In my opinion, OSHA made a serious mistake in allowing ¼" diameter wire rope guardrails (which they call safety cable) at 1926.760(d), outlined in Appendix G, "Fall Protection Systems Criteria and Practices."
The existing standard (1926.750(b)(1)(iii)) calls for ½" wire rope or equal around temporary-planked or temporary-decked floors of multifloored structures. This was done for a couple of reasons: (1) the existing standard was based upon a 1944 ANSI standard; and (2) the ANSI group had determined that ½" diameter wire rope was necessary, due to potential for physical damage to the wire rope during erection. Ellis states that "Wire rope systems (1/2 in. diameter seems adequate) should be considered where accidental collisions with crane-suspended leads are foreseeable."1
The risk associated with using ¼" diameter wire rope is that a worker will hook his lanyard to it and use it as a horizontal lifeline (HLL). OSHA warned in a non-mandatory appendix to its fall protection standard (Appendix B, "Guardrail Systems...") to 1926.502(d), published in the Federal Register on Aug. 9, 1994 (Vo. 59, No. 152, page 40745) that "...the strength of the horizontal lifeline and the anchorages to which it is attached should be increased a number of times over the lanyard."
Since the lanyard is rated at 5,000 pounds, then the HLL and its anchorages should be capable of two, three, or perhaps six times 5,000 pounds. In Table H-4, "Rated Capacities for Single Leg Slings, 6x19 and 6x37, Improved Plow Steel Rope with IWRC," part of 1926.251, "Rigging Equipment for Material Handling", we find that a ¼" 6x19 rope in a choker hitch is rated between 0.4 - 0.44 tons, but these values are applicable only when D/d ratio exceeds 10 for Hand tucked Splices and 20 for Mechanical Splice and Swaged or Zinc Poured Splice.
Furthermore, these wire rope guardrails will undoubtedly be installed with U-bolt Crosby clips. According to standard rigging handbooks, when properly installed, clipped eye connections develop approximately 80-90 percent of the rope strength.
You do the arithmetic. I'm confident you'll agree with me that if the "perimeter safety cable" (wire rope) can be misused as a HLL, ½" diameter rope should be installed, and a qualified person should design and supervise installation and use of the system (1926.502(d)(8)).
About the author: James T. Patterson, CSP, is vice president of HRH of Denver (CO). He can be reached by telephone at (303) 765-1551 or by e-mail at email@example.com. This article was originally written as a service for HRH clients and is reprinted with permission (Back to top)
1 Ellis, Nigel, Introduction to Fall Protection, 2d Edition, (American Society of Safety Engineers: Des Plaines, IL) 1993, p. 110.
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