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OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.
November 8, 2002
Mr. Jeff Baum
The SHARP Program
4840 W. 15th Street, Suite 1000
Lawrence, KS 66049
Re: Whether the repair and installation of metal roofing and roofing accessories is covered by the steel erection standard; steel decking; §§1926.502(d)(15), 1926.750(b), 1926.751, and 1926.760(d)(2)
Dear Mr. Baum:
This is in response to your letters of May 8 and 22, 2002, to the Directorate of Construction in which you ask for guidance in the application of our fall protection standard (29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart M) and our steel erection standard (29 CFR 1926 Subpart R). We apologize for the delay in providing a response. Your questions have been paraphrased as follows:
Question (1)(a): Scenario: A commercial roofing contractor is engaged in a re-roofing job. In the course of removing the weatherproofing material, the contractor discovers that some of the metal roof decking has deteriorated, and that a 6' X 6' section has to be replaced. Is this replacement work covered under Part 1926 Subpart R?
Under §1926.750(a), Subpart R is not limited to new construction - it also applies to steel erection activities in alteration and repair work. Section 1926.750(b)(1) contains a list of activities that are covered by Subpart R, including "installing metal decking." Since §1926.750(a) states that steel erection activities done during repair are covered by Subpart R, the reverse of the decking installation process - removal - is also covered under §1926.750(b)(1).
Question (1)(b): Is there a requirement under Subpart R that the contractor develop a site-specific plan for this work?
No; there is no general requirement in Subpart R for developing a site-specific erection plan. The only time a site-specific erection plan is required is when an employer wants to use an alternative to the following requirements: §1926.753(c)(5) (latches on hooks must be activated); §1926.757(a)(4) (joists 60'+ at/near columns to be set in tandem), and §1926.757(e)(4) (requirements for landing decking on steel joists).
Question (1)(c): Assume that the roof is between 15 feet and 30 feet high. Can the employer use a Controlled Decking Zone as a substitute for conventional fall protection for the employees engaged in removing the bad decking?
No. Section 1926.760(c) states that:
"a controlled decking zone may be established in that area of the structure over 15 and up to 30 feet above a lower level where metal decking is initially being installed and forms the leading edge of a work area..." [Emphasis added]
The controlled decking zone option was designed specifically for the initial installation of metal decking. The removal of deteriorated decking involves hazards that are not addressed in the controlled decking zone provision (for example, the fall hazards encountered when cutting decking and/or removing welds or fasteners). Therefore, the controlled decking zone exception does not apply to this deck removal work; conventional fall protection must be used.
Question (2)(a): When doing work covered by Subpart R, what are the requirements for anchorages used for restraint systems?
Subpart R defines a restraint system in §1926.751 as: "a fall protection system that prevents the user from falling any distance." Section 1926.760(d)(2) states:
Fall arrest system components shall be used in fall restraint systems and shall conform to the criteria in §1926.502 (see appendix G to this subpart). Either body belts or body harnesses shall be used in fall restraint systems.
Therefore, when using a fall restraint system to protect against fall hazards while doing work covered by Subpart R, the anchorage must meet the same requirements as those that apply to fall arrest system anchors. Those requirements are in §1926.502(d)(15), which states:
Anchorages used for attachment of personal fall arrest equipment shall be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms and are capable of supporting at least 5000 pounds (22.2 kN) per employee attached, or shall be designed, installed, and used as follows: (i) as part of a complete personal fall arrest system which maintains a safety factor of two; and (ii) under the supervision of a qualified person.
Question (2)(b): When doing work covered by 29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart M, what are the requirements for anchorages used for restraint systems?
For purposes of work covered by 29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart M, a restraint system is personal protective equipment that prevents the employee from reaching a fall hazard; the employee will not fall any distance because the fall is prevented. Subpart M does not contain requirements for restraint systems. However, under Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers must ensure that the workplace is free of recognized hazards.
For a restraint system to work, the anchorage must be strong enough to prevent the worker from moving past the point where the system is fully extended, including an appropriate safety factor. In a November 2, 1995, interpretation letter to Mr. Dennis Gilmore, OSHA suggested that, at a minimum, a fall restraint system have the capacity to withstand at least 3,000 pounds or twice the maximum expected force that is needed to restrain the person from exposure to the fall hazard. In determining this force, consideration should be given to site-specific factors such as the force generated by a person (including his or her tools, equipment and materials) walking, slipping, tripping, leaning, or sliding along the work surface.
Question (3)(a): Is the installation of coping metal, drainage scuppers and flashing1 covered by the steel erection standard?
Section 1926.750(b)(2) contains a list of activities that are covered by Subpart R when they are done during and as a part of an activity listed in §1926.750(b)(1). Included in the list of activities in §1926.750(b)(2) are "all related activities for construction...of metal roofing and accessories..." Coping metal, drainage scuppers and flashing are "roofing accessories." Therefore, their installation is covered by Subpart R if they are installed during and as a part of the installation of structural metal roofing (see Q&A 1(a) above).
Typically, these materials are installed in conjunction with the installation of the metal decking. Where that is the case, the installation of these metal roof system accessories are covered by Subpart R.
In contrast, if they are not installed in conjunction with the metal decking, their installation would not be covered under Subpart R. An example of this would be as follows: In a complete re-roofing job, all metal roof decking has been removed and replaced. One week later, a crew returns to install flashing and gutters. The installation of the flashing and gutters is not covered by Subpart R in this example because it is not done "during and as a part of" the metal decking work.
Question (3)(b): Is the repair or replacement of these materials covered by Subpart R?
Section 1926.750(b)(2) contains a list of activities that are covered by Subpart R when they are done during and as a part of an activity listed in §1926.750(b)(1). Included in the list of activities in §1926.750(b)(2) are "all related activities for...repair of materials and assemblies such as...metal roofing and accessories..." The repair/replacement of these roofing accessories would be covered by Subpart R only if they are repaired/replaced during and as a part of the installation, repair or replacement of structural metal roofing.
Example A: In a roofing repair job, a section of deteriorated decking near the center of the roof is removed and replaced. That work is covered by Subpart R under §1926.750(b)(1) (see Q&A 1(a) above). Some flashing along the eaves also has to be replaced. Because the metal decking work is separate and unaffected by the flashing work, the flashing work is not "a part of" an activity covered under §1926.750(b)(1), and is not covered by Subpart R.
Example B: In a roofing repair job, a section of deteriorated decking along the eave is removed and replaced. The flashing in that area also has to be replaced. The flashing is installed on the replaced metal deck at the same time that the metal deck work is done. The flashing work is covered by Subpart R under §1926.750(b)(2) because it is done "during and as a part of" the metal decking work.
If you need additional information, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, [Office of Construction Standards and Guidance], fax # 202-693-1689. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.
Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction
1 You also asked if the installation of metal/aluminum shingles is covered by Subpart R. We will address that issue in an upcoming revision of our compliance directive for Subpart R (CPL 2-1.34). [ back to text ]