News Release USDL 97-248
Thursday, July 24, 1997
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 219-8151
OSHA Receives Consensus Proposal For Steel Erection
Representatives of labor, industry and other groups involved
in steel erection who are members of the Steel Erection
Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee (SENRAC) today presented
the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with a
consensus proposal for a revised steel erection standard that
could save 26 lives and $125 million a year.
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety
and Health Gregory R. Watchman, who received the report, said,
"The entire steel erection community can be proud of the
concerted effort it made to develop this proposal for a revised
standard to protect workers. This is a good example of how
President Clinton wants the New OSHA to work -- developing
partnerships with labor, industry, public interests and other
government agencies to achieve common sense regulation."
OSHA plans to later publish a notice of proposed rulemaking
in the Federal Register based on this consensus document.
The SENRAC consensus proposal addresses 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; hoisting,
landing and placing steel joists; and falls to lower levels.
About 28 deaths and 1,800 lost-workday injuries currently
occur each year among iron workers. The SENRAC report says that
full compliance with the proposed standard and the existing
standard would prevent 26 of these fatalities and about 1,100 of
the lost-workday injuries.
The consensus proposal, if adopted, would save employers in
the steel erection industry about $125 million a year in costs
associated with lost-workday injuries such as lost productivity,
medical costs, insurance costs and costs of liability claims.
Net costs of compliance, after deducting the cost of
complying with the existing standard, would amount to about $49
Helping develop the proposal were steel erectors (both union
and non-union); employee representatives; steel fabricators;
major producers of domestic steel; manufacturers of steel joists,
steel deck, steel coatings, pre-engineered metal buildings and
safety equipment; and safety consultants and associations.
SENRAC was established May 11, 1994, under the Occupational
Safety and Health Act, the Negotiated Rulemaking Act and the
Federal Advisory Committee Act. Under federal law, negotiated
rulemaking allows a proposed rule to be developed by a committee
composed of interest groups significantly affected by the final
rule. Decisions are made by consensus, which in SENRAC's case
requires concurrence among all interests represented.
The committee began negotiations in mid-June 1994 and has
met 11 times since then. In December 1995, it reached consensus
on a proposed standard. In the ensuing months, OSHA staff
prepared a preamble and a notice of proposed rulemaking to
support the SENRAC text.
The committee's proposal is designed to protect all workers
engaged in steel erection activities. It does not cover electric
transmission towers, communications towers, broadcast towers,
water towers or tanks.
The SENRAC report is available on OSHA's web site at
http:\\www.osha.gov under "What's New."