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 http://www.osha.gov.

June 19 ,2014

Eric M. Dean
General Secretary
International Association of
Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers
Suite 400
1750 New York Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Mr. Dean:

Thank you for your March 11, 2013, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You asked OSHA to rescind the December 24, 2003 letter of interpretation regarding installation of continuous bent plate along the length of the top flange of a beam. OSHA agrees to rescind the letter because in it, the agency incorrectly applies a provision of Subpart R - Steel Erection.

The provision in question, §1926.754(c)(1), headed Walking/working surfaces - shear connectors and other similar devices - (1)Tripping hazards, states:

Shear connectors (such as headed steel studs, steel bars or steel lugs), reinforcing bars, deformed anchors or threaded studs shall not be attached to the top flanges of beams, joists or beam attachments so that they project vertically from or horizontally across the top flange of the member until after the metal decking, or other walking/working surface, has been installed.

In the 2003 letter, OSHA stated that this provision includes shop-installed continuous bent plate because it creates a tripping hazard during the steel erection process. However, this provision only applies to shear connectors (such as headed steel studs, steel bars, or steel lugs), reinforcing bars, deformed anchors, or threaded studs. The fact that shop-installed continuous bent plate may create a tripping hazard does not bring it under the coverage of this provision. In the 2003 letter, OSHA interpreted this provision to include continuous bent plate by reasoning that the phrase "similar devices" in the heading meant devices that cause tripping hazards. However, the plain language of the provision lists the devices covered by the provision. Headings and titles do not limit or alter the plain meaning of the text of the provision. Therefore, §1926.754(c)(1) does not prohibit the shop-installation of continuous bent plate.

As you are aware, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) requires employers to furnish employment which is "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm" to employees. OSHA may cite employers for failure to provide such employment when OSHA standards do not address a particular hazard. In this case, the shop-installed continuous bent plate is part of a walking-working surface. Therefore, the continuous bent plate must be capable of supporting any intended load and free from tripping hazards.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA's requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To ensure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.

Sincerely,

James G. Maddux, Director
Directorate of Construction