Unified Agenda - Table of Contents|
2220. STEEL ERECTION (PART 1926) (SAFETY PROTECTION FOR IRONWORKERS)
Regulatory Plan: This entry is Seq. No. 75 in Part II of this issue of the Federal Register.
75. STEEL ERECTION (PART 1926) (SAFETY PROTECTION FOR IRONWORKERS)
Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 USC 801.
Reinventing Government: This rulemaking is part of the Reinventing Government effort. It will revise text in the CFR to reduce burden or duplication, or streamline requirements.
Legal Authority: 29 USC 655; 40 USC 333
CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1926.750 (Revision); 29 CFR 1926.751 (Revision); 29 CFR 1926.752 (Revision)
Legal Deadline: None
Abstract: On December 29, 1992, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its intention to form a negotiated rulemaking advisory committee to negotiate issues associated with a revision of the existing steel erection standard. The Steel Erection Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee (SENRAC), a 20-member committee, was established, and the SENRAC charter was signed by Secretary Reich on May 26, 1994 and was recently re-chartered for a 2-year period. The primary issues the committee negotiated include the need to expand the scope and application of the existing standard to include construction specifications and work practices, written construction safety erection plans, and fall protection. The Committee met 11 times over an 18-month period and completed work on the draft regulatory text for the proposed steel erection standard on December 1, 1995.
The negotiated rulemaking process has been successful in bringing together the interested parties that will be affected by the proposed revision to the steel erection rule to work out contrasting positions, find common ground on the major issues, and develop language for a proposed rule. The use of this process and a neutral facilitator allowed the stakeholders to develop an ownership stake in the proposal that they would not have had without the use of this process.
The process has led to a proposed revision to subpart R of 29 CFR 1926 that contains innovative provisions that will help to minimize the major causes of steel erection injuries and fatalities. Many of these provisions could not have been developed without this process, which has brought together industry and labor experts, via face-to-face negotiations, to discuss different approaches to resolving the issues. This process has proved mutually beneficial to all the parties involved (including OSHA), with each Committee member participating in resolving the issues and developing practical and effective rules to make the steel erection industry safer.
Statement of Need: In 1989, OSHA was petitioned by the Ironworkers Union and National Erectors Association to revise its construction safety standard for steel erection through the negotiated rulemaking process. OSHA asked an independent consultant to review the issues involved in a steel erection revision, render an independent opinion, and recommend a course of action to revise the standard. The consultant recommended that OSHA address the issues through negotiated rulemaking. Based on the consultant's findings and the continued requests for negotiated rulemaking, OSHA decided to use the negotiated rulemaking process to develop a proposed revision of subpart R. The use of negotiated rulemaking was thought to be the best approach to resolving steel erection safety issues, some of which have proven intractable in the past.
Summary of the Legal Basis: The legal basis for the proposed steel erection rule is a preliminary finding that workers engaged in steel erection work are at significant risk of serious injury or death as a result of that work.
Alternatives: An alternative to using the negotiated rulemaking process is to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking developed by Agency staff and consider the concerns of the affected interests through the public comment and public hearing process. OSHA anticipated that this alternative would result in an extremely long and contentious rulemaking proceeding, with subsequent challenge in the Court of Appeals. Another alternative would be not to revise the Agency's current steel erection rules for construction. This alternative was rejected because it would permit steel erection-related injuries and fatalities to continue.
Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The estimated compliance costs of the proposal are approximately $50 million per year, and the Agency believes that the benefits of the standard would include the prevention of an estimated 14 fatalities and 824 lost workday injuries per year.
Risks: The risk associated with steel erection activities is great. OSHA estimates that 28 workers are killed every year during steel erection activities. Falls are currently the number one killer of construction workers, and since the erection of buildings necessarily involves high exposure to fall hazards, the central focus of this rule will be to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with falls.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes
Small Entities Affected: Businesses
Government Levels Affected: None
Russel B. Swanson
Unified Agenda - Table of Contents|