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Causes of Steel Erection Accidents

An analysis of OSHA data shows that steel erection accidents resulting in fatalities are often caused by the following factors:

  • Collapses while landing or placing a load - most were the result of placing loads on unsecured or unbridged joists.
  • Collapses while connecting joists or trusses - most were the result of prematurely disconnecting the crane before the piece was secure.
  • Workers struck by objects during miscellaneous activities - most were the result of walking or working under a load.
  • Workers struck by objects and then falling - most were the result of being struck while landing a load or making a connection, by a tool slipping, or by a piece of decking being blown off a pile when fall protection was not provided or used.
  • Improper use or failure of fall protection - most were the result of employee failure to use available fall protection systems even though the worker was wearing a belt (and in some cases lifelines were rigged).
  • Unsecured or unstable decking - most were the result of stepping onto or working on unsecured decking that slipped out of place when fall protection was not provided or used.
  • Plumbing, bolting, welding and cutting - most were the result of of the worker not being tied off while at the work station (whether or not fall protection was provided).
  • Walking/standing on the beam/joist (i.e. moving point-to-point) - most were slips or falls where fall protection was not provided or used.

For more information on steel erection accidents, go to the OSHA Statistics and Data page.

Negotiated Rulemaking

The steel erection rule, which took effect January 18, 2002, is the first OSHA safety standard developed under the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990 and the Department of Labor's negotiated rulemaking policy. With negotiated rulemaking, a committee composed of representatives from interested parties potentially affected by the rule develops a proposed standard. OSHA then publishes the proposal, holds public hearings, and receives written information from the public. After reviewing all available evidence, OSHA issues a final standard.

Members of the Steel Erection Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee (SENRAC) developed the steel erection rule. The committee, which began negotiations in June, 1994, included representatives from organized labor, industry, public interests, and government. The parties worked out contrasting positions and sought common ground through face-to-face discussions. By airing disputed issues early in the rulemaking process, the committee helped to develop a better rule that employers are more likely to comply with-reducing the need for enforcement and litigation activities.

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