Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

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Steel Erection eTool

Site Preparation

Site Layout, Site-specific Erection Plan and Construction Sequence [29 CFR 1926.752]

Proper communication between the controlling contractor and the steel erector prior to the beginning of the steel erection operation is essential to employee safety. Many accidents involving collapse could have been averted had adequate pre-erection communication and planning occurred. The following requirements for site preparation, including site layout, pre-planning of overhead hoisting operations, and (in some cases) site-specific erection plans, have been made to ensure safety during the initial stages of steel erection.

Tip: The criteria for adequate strength depends on the results of required American Society for Testing and Materials standard test methods.

  • The controlling contractor must provide written notification to the steel erector ensuring that [29 CFR 1926.752(a)]:
    • Concrete in footings, piers, and walls has been cured to a level that will provide adequate strength to support any forces imposed during steel erection. [29 CFR 1926.752(a)(1)]
    • Anchor bolt repairs, replacements and modifications were done with the approval of the project Structural Engineer of Record (SER). [29 CFR 1926.752(a)(2) and 1926.755(b)(1)]
  • A steel erection contractor may not erect steel without the above written notification. [29 CFR 1926.752(b)]
Adequate Space For the Safe Storage of Materials
  • In order for the steel erector to perform necessary operations in a safe manner, the controlling contractor must provide and maintain [29 CFR 1926.752(c)]:
    • Access roads into and through the site that are adequate for safe delivery and movement of [29 CFR 1926.752(c)(1)]:
      • Derricks
      • Cranes
      • Trucks
      • Other necessary equipment
      • The material to be erected
  • Means and methods for pedestrian and vehicular control. [29 CFR 1926.752(c)(1)]
  • Adequate space for the safe storage of materials and the safe operation of the erector's equipment, which is [29 CFR 1926.752(c)(2)]:
    • Firm
    • Properly graded
    • Drained
    • Readily accessible to the work

EXCEPTION: This provision does not apply to roads outside of the construction site.

Poor Planning Dooms Workers

Case Reports:

  • A 61-year-old steelworker was operating a mobile scissor lift on uneven terrain. He was placing bolts into steel joists to complete their installation, and was using the scissor lift to position himself so he could reach the beams. As he drove the lift closer to a beam on which he intended to work, the front tires entered a ditch that dropped approximately 1½ feet over a space of about four feet. The force of the tires dropping down caused the lift to fall forward and throw the victim to the ground, where he suffered fatal injuries. Investigation revealed that the lift, a rental unit, was provided with safety manuals and a Manual of Responsibilities outlining the type of terrain on which the unit should be operated. They clearly stated that the scissor lift should only be used on level ground.
  • Two employees of a steel erection contractor had been bolting and welding at a height of 19 feet from a mobile elevated platform. After finishing work on a column, they were riding in the lift with the platform fully extended, when the right front wheel rolled over a pile of debris that had been left on the concrete floor. The scissor lift tipped over, causing one of the employees to sustain serious head trauma. He was taken to an area hospital, where he died.

All hoisting operations in steel erection must be pre-planned to ensure that [29 CFR 1926.752(d)]:

Warning Sign Stating: "No Materials Beyond This Point."

Employers may elect, because of conditions specific to the worksite, to develop alternate means of providing the employee protection required in 29 CFR 1926.753(c)(5), 29 CFR 1926.757(a)(4) or 29 CFR 1926.757(e)(4). If a site-specific erection plan is used, it must [29 CFR 1926.752(e)]:

  • Be developed by a qualified person.
  • Be available at the work site.

Components of a site-specific erection plan. [Non-mandatory Appendix A]

A site-specific erection plan is developed during one or more pre-construction conferences and site inspections involving the erector, the controlling contractor, and others such as the project engineer and the fabricator. In this process, the following elements are considered:

  • The sequence of erection activity, developed in coordination with the controlling contractor, including the following:
    • Material deliveries
    • Material staging and storage
    • Coordination with other trades and construction activities
  • A description of the crane and derrick selection and placement procedures, including the following:
    • Site preparation
    • Path for overhead loads
    • Critical lifts, including rigging supplies and equipment
  • A description of steel erection activities and procedures, including the following:
    • Stability considerations requiring temporary bracing and guying.
    • Erection bridging terminus point.
    • Notifications regarding repair, replacement and modifications of anchor rods (anchor bolts).
    • Columns and beams (including joists and purlins).
    • Connections
    • Decking
    • Ornamental and miscellaneous iron
  • A description of the fall protection procedures that will be used to comply with 29 CFR 1926.760.
  • A description of the falling object protection procedures that will be used to comply with 29 CFR 1926.759.
  • A description of the special procedures required for hazardous non-routine tasks.
  • A certification for each employee who has received training for performing steel erection operations as required by 29 CFR 1926.761.
  • A list of the qualified and competent persons.
  • A description of the procedures that will be utilized in the event of rescue or emergency response.

In addition, the plan should include identification of the site and project, and be signed and dated by the qualified person(s) responsible for its preparation and modification.

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