Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

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Steel Erection eTool

Metal Buildings

Systems-engineered Metal Buildings [29 CFR 1926.758]
Metal Buildings

More than 50% of industrial buildings in steel erection are systems-engineered. These metal structures use different types of steel members and a different erection process than typical steel erection. They also present certain unique hazards, such as those associated with anchor bolts, construction loads, and double connections.

Field-assembled building

Field-assembled building



  • All of the requirements contained in Subpart R apply to systems-engineered metal buildings, except for 29 CFR 1926.755 (column anchorage) and 29 CFR 1926.757 (open web steel joists). [29 CFR 1926.758(a)]
  • All structural columns must be anchored by at least four anchor bolts. [29 CFR 1926.758(b)]
  • Rigid frames must have 50% of their bolts, or the number of bolts specified by the manufacturer (whichever is greater) installed and tightened on both sides of the web adjacent to each flange before the hoisting equipment is released. [29 CFR 1926.758(c)]
  • Construction loads are prohibited from:
    • Being placed on any inadequately secured structural steel framework. [29 CFR 1926.758(d)]
    • Being placed beyond any area 8 feet from the center-line of the primary support member. [29 CFR 1926.758(i)]
  • When girts or eave struts share common connection holes [29 CFR 1926.758(e)]:
    • At least one bolt must remain securely in place for the connection of the first member.
    • A field-attached seat or similar connection device supplied by the manufacturer may be used in lieu of the bolt.
    • Both ends of all cold-formed or steel joists must be fully bolted/welded to the support structure before [29 CFR 1926.758(f)]:
      • Releasing the hoisting cables.
      • Allowing an employee on the joists.
      • Allowing any construction loads on the joists.
  • Purlins and girts are prohibited from:
    • Being used as an anchorage point for a fall-arrest system, unless written approval is obtained from a qualified person. [29 CFR 1926.758(g)]
    • Being used as a walking/working surface when installing safety systems, until [29 CFR 1926.758(h)]:
      • All permanent bridging is installed.
      • Fall protection is provided.
Structural Steel Erection Spells Death for Employee

Case Report:

  • During a structural steel erection operation, an employee was standing on metal decking that had been placed across five open web steel joists. The joists were not secured with bridging or at their ends by bolts. He was attempting to align a piece of decking at the open web joists, when all five joists rolled over on their sides and fell to the ground. The employee fell with the joists and was killed.
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