Federal Registers - Table of Contents Federal Registers - Table of Contents
• Publication Date: 03/29/2012
• Publication Type: Proposed Rules
• Fed Register #: 77: 18973-18984
• Standard Number: 1910; 1911; 1915; 1917; 1926; 1928
• Title: Reinforced Concrete in Construction, and Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 61 (Thursday, March 29, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 18973-18984]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-7510]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, 1917, 1926, and 1928

[Docket Nos. OSHA-2010-0058, OSHA-2010-0059]
RIN 1218-AC51


Reinforced Concrete in Construction, and Preventing Backover 
Injuries and Fatalities

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Request for information (RFI).

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SUMMARY: OSHA is aware of employee safety risks in two areas, 
reinforcing operations in concrete work (construction only) and fatal 
backovers by vehicles and equipment (all industries), and is requesting 
information from the public on these risks. This RFI requests 
information that will assist the Agency in determining what steps, if 
any, it can take to prevent injuries and fatalities in these two areas.

DATES: Submit comments and other information by June 27, 2012. All 
submissions must bear a postmark or provide other evidence of the 
submission date.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments and additional materials using any of the 
following methods (submissions relating to Reinforced Concrete in 
Construction to Docket No. OSHA-2010-0058, and submissions relating to 
Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities to Docket No. OSHA-2010-
0059):
    Electronically. Submit comments and attachments electronically at 
http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. 
Follow the instructions online for making electronic submissions.
    Facsimile. Commenters may fax submissions, including attachments, 
that are no longer than 10 pages in length to the OSHA Docket Office at 
(202) 693-1648; OSHA does not require hard copies of these documents. 
Commenters must submit lengthy attachments that supplement these 
documents (e.g., studies, journal articles) to the OSHA Docket Office, 
Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210. These attachments must 
clearly identify the commenter's name, date, subject, and docket number 
(i.e., for Reinforced Concrete in Construction, OSHA-2010-0058, and for 
Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities, OSHA-2010-0059) so the 
Agency can attach them to the appropriate comments.
    Regular mail, express delivery, hand (courier) delivery, or 
messenger service. Submit a copy of comments and any additional 
material (e.g., studies, journal articles) to the OSHA Docket Office, 
Docket No. OSHA-2010-0058 (for Reinforced Concrete in Construction), 
Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350 
(TDY number: (877) 889-5627). For submissions relating to Preventing 
Backover Injuries and Fatalities, please identify the docket number as 
OSHA-2010-0059. Note that security procedures may result in significant 
delays in receiving comments and other written materials by regular 
mail. Contact the OSHA Docket Office for information about security 
procedures concerning delivery of materials by express delivery, hand 
delivery, or messenger service. The hours of operation for the OSHA 
Docket Office are 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m., e.t.
    Instructions. All submissions must include the Agency name and the 
OSHA docket number for this rulemaking; i.e., for Reinforced Concrete 
in Construction, Docket No. OSHA-2010-0058, and for Preventing Backover 
Injuries and Fatalities, Docket No. OSHA-2010-0059. The Agency places 
all submissions, including any personal information provided, in the 
public docket without change; this information will be available online 
at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, the Agency cautions 
commenters about submitting information they do not want made available 
to the public, or submitting comments that contain personal information 
(either about themselves or others) such as Social Security numbers, 
birth dates, and medical data.
    Docket. To read or download submissions or other material in the 
docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, or to the OSHA Docket Office 
at the address above. While the Agency lists all documents in the 
docket in the http://www.regulations.gov index, some information (e.g., 
copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or download 
through this Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, 
are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. 
Contact the OSHA Docket Office for assistance in locating docket 
submissions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Information regarding this Request for 
Information is available from the following sources:
    Press inquiries. Contact Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office of 
Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-1999.
    General and technical information. Contact Blake Skogland, Office 
of Construction Standards and Guidance, OSHA Directorate of 
Construction, Room N-3468, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2020; fax: (202) 
693-1689.
    Copies of this Federal Register notice. Electronic copies are 
available at http://www.regulations.gov. This Federal Register notice, 
as well as news releases and other relevant information, also are 
available at OSHA's Web page at http://www.osha.gov.

Table of Contents of This RFI

Exhibits Referenced in this RFI
Reinforced Concrete in Construction, Docket No. OSHA-2010-0058
Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities, Docket No. OSHA-2010-
0059
Authority and Signature

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Exhibits Referenced in This RFI

    Documents referenced by OSHA in this request for information, other 
than OSHA standards and Federal Register notices, are in Docket Nos. 
OSHA-2010-0058 (Reinforced Concrete in Construction) and OSHA-2010-0059 
(Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities). The dockets are 
available at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. 
Most exhibits are available at http://www.regulations.gov; some exhibits 
(e.g., copyrighted material) are not available to read or download from 
that Web page. However, all materials in the dockets are available for 
inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, U.S. 
Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC.

Reinforced Concrete in Construction

Table of Contents

I. Background
    A. Events Leading to This Action
    B. Hazards and Accidents
    1. Reinforcing Steel
    2. Post-Tensioning
    C. Applicable Standards
    D. Standards From Other Jurisdictions
II. Request for Data, Information, and Comments
    A. Post-Tensioning Operations
    B. Site Conditions and Roads
    C. Documentation
    D. Reinforcing Steel Operations
    E. General Reinforcing Safety
    F. Impalement
    G. Training
    H. Injuries
    I. Economic Issues
    J. References

I. Background

    Concrete has strong compression strength (is not easily crushed), 
but weak tensile strength (breaks easily when stretched); thus, adding 
reinforcement increases concrete's tensile strength, which is 
particularly important in floor or deck construction. Without 
reinforcement, many concrete structures and buildings would not be 
possible. Reinforced concrete is concrete that uses reinforcing steel 
bars ("rebars"), reinforcement grids, plates, steel tendons, fibers, 
or other material to increase its tensile strength. The construction 
industry uses reinforced concrete in building most types of commercial, 
industrial, and residential structures; this use includes many types of 
structural components such as slabs, walls, beams, columns, and 
foundations. According to estimates provided by the National Ready 
Mixed Concrete Association, contractors used about 257 million cubic 
yards of ready mixed concrete in 2010 (National Ready Mixed Concrete 
Association (NRMCA) Fact Sheet), while the Steel Manufacturers 
Association estimates that the construction industry used 6.05 million 
tons of rebar in reinforced concrete in 2010 (Apparent Domestic 
Consumption of Rebar 2010 Spreadsheet). This RFI will address 
reinforcing concrete construction activities.

A. Events Leading to This Action

    The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & 
Reinforcing Iron Workers ("Ironworkers"), along with an industry 
coalition of stakeholders,\1\ petitioned OSHA on April 19, 2010, to 
conduct a negotiated rulemaking and publish new regulations for 
reinforcing steel and post-tensioning operations. (Letter to David 
Michaels, OSHA, from Joseph Hunt, International Association of Bridge, 
Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers.) They explained 
the hazards of reinforcing operations, and noted that the use of steel-
reinforced and post-tensioned poured-in-place concrete is likely to 
double its 1990 usage level by 2015. The request prompted OSHA to 
conduct a retrospective review of existing rules to determine what 
action, if any, the Agency should take to improve safety for workers 
engaged in this type of construction. In its review, OSHA found little 
information in the literature on the rates of incidents caused by 
reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities. The Bureau of Labor 
Statistics (BLS) does not have statistics specific to this subject. 
Consequently, OSHA is issuing this RFI to gather more information to 
assess whether the Agency should take action to improve worker safety 
for reinforcing concrete activities.
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    \1\ Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust 
(IMPACT), National Association of Reinforcing Steel Contractors, 
Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, Post Tensioning Institute, 
Western Steel Council, Department of Reinforcing Ironworkers 
Advisory Committee, and the Center for Construction Research and 
Training.
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B. Hazards and Accidents

    OSHA conducted a review of its Integrated Management Information 
System (IMIS) incident database to determine the number of worker 
fatalities resulting from activities working with rebar for concrete 
reinforcement. This work includes constructing rebar mats and cages, 
and installing rebar. (Rebar and Post-tensioning Deaths from IMIS 
Database 2000-2009 Spreadsheet.) This review showed that, from 2000-
2009, a total of 30 workers died while performing rebar-related 
activities, including five who died from impalement injuries, nine 
killed in falls, eight who died when rebar cages or columns collapsed, 
and six killed as a result of struck-by injuries. There also was one 
positional-asphyxiation death and one death involving a rebar mat 
collapse. In addition, during this period, IMIS data showed that one 
worker died while performing post-tensioning operations.
    Many of the rebar-related deaths occurred despite the existence of 
a specific standard governing the activities involved.\2\ For example, 
Federal OSHA and state-plan states other than California \3\ cited 29 
CFR 1926.703(d)(1), which requires employers to adequately support 
reinforcing steel for vertical structures to prevent overturning and 
collapse, nine times between 2000 and 2009. During the same time 
period, Federal OSHA and state-plan states also cited employers for 
various fall protection-related regulations in Subpart M--Fall 
Protection 15 times, and 29 CFR 1926.701(b), which requires the use of 
rebar caps, five times. While capping the rebar and using fall 
protection as required likely would prevent many of these accidents, it 
is unclear whether these existing standards are adequate to fully 
protect workers involved in reinforced concrete operations. For 
example, contractors involved in reinforced concrete operations may 
endanger the employees of contractors involved in subsequent steel 
erection or masonry work when they remove caps from rebar or supports 
from vertical form structures after they complete their work and leave 
the site; such an oversight indicates that the existing standards may 
need revision to ensure continuity of hazard control at these 
worksites. The Agency will study this issue further, and make use of 
any additional information collected from this RFI to determine what 
steps, if any, it can take to prevent fatalities and injuries related 
to working with reinforced concrete.
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    \2\ The document "Rebar and Post-tensioning Deaths from IMIS 
Database 2000-2009 Spreadsheet," which is available in the OSHA-
2010-0058 docket, lists the regulations that Federal OSHA and state-
plan states cited after investigating rebar-related deaths.
    \3\ California adopted its own reinforcing concrete regulations, 
which differ from federal OSHA's standards. The other state-plan 
states have regulations that duplicate Federal OSHA standards, but 
may follow a codification system that differs from the Code of 
Federal Regulations.
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1. Reinforcing Steel
    The construction industry uses reinforcing steel in a variety of 
different configurations, which create different hazards. Contractors 
use flexible steel wire to tie rebar together for such configurations 
as walls, mats, and cages. When tied improperly, these configurations 
can collapse. Formwork and decks also are susceptible to collapse when 
not properly installed. In addition, improperly anchored walls or cages 
can tip over, subjecting workers to fall and struck-by hazards. Vertical 
uncapped rebar can create impalement hazards. Workers also can face 
struck-by and crushing hazards related to material-handling when a crane 
operator uses a crane to place pre-assembled rebar components and does 
not rig the load properly. Suppliers deliver, and workers position, 
rebar during the early stages of construction when site conditions are 
typically poor--the ground is rutted and uneven, which presents tripping 
hazards, and mud and wet or icy conditions create slipping hazards.
    The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) discussed 
injuries sustained by ironworkers (which CPWR defined as "ironworkers, 
reinforced ironworkers, rodmen, or steelworkers") in the publication 
"Occupational Injuries among Construction Workers Treated at the 
George Washington University Emergency Department, 1990-1997".\4\ 
Although this study did not document what these workers were doing when 
injured, their job titles and the types of injuries indicate that they 
most likely received their injuries during operations involving 
reinforced concrete. Accordingly, this study showed that, from November 
1, 1990, through October 31, 1997, 133 ironworkers received treatment 
for work-related injuries at the George Washington University Emergency 
Department. The most common injuries for these ironworkers were struck-
by injuries (23%), which included injuries caused by falling objects. 
Other common injuries were caused by falls (21%), sharp objects (18%), 
and overexertion/strenuous movement (17%). Ironworkers were most likely 
to injure fingers, thumbs, hands, and wrists (combined 34%). To reduce 
these types of injuries, CPWR recommended limiting lifting and carrying 
objects over uneven surfaces, and the frequency of moving heavy 
materials. CPWR also recommended improving the efficiency of current 
staging practices, and having the workers wear heavy gloves.
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    \4\ At the time of the study's publication, CPWR was the acronym 
for the Center to Protect Workers Rights. It later changed its name 
to Center for Construction Research and Training.
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    A study from British Columbia found similar results for injuries 
reported by concrete-reinforcing workers. "Mechanisms of Injury: 
Concrete Reinforcing", WorkSafeBC, CU 721012. The WorkSafeBC study 
noted that falls, overexertion, and struck-by incidents constituted 71% 
of the injuries reported by 465 workers between 2007-2009.
2. Post-Tensioning
    Post-tensioning poses several unique hazards to workers. There are 
two types of post-tensioning systems: Unbonded and bonded. In an 
unbonded post-tensioning operation, workers place high-strength steel 
tendons (coated in grease and sheathed in plastic) in a horizontal form 
(e.g., to construct a floor or slab) before pouring concrete into the 
form; both ends of the tendons protrude through the form on opposite 
sides. In a bonded post-tensioning operation, contractors pour the 
concrete around plastic, steel, or aluminum ducts. Workers then 
maneuver a set of tendons through the ducts and seal the ductwork with 
grout. In both cases, once the concrete hardens, workers tension the 
tendons using hydraulic jacks. Workers typically tension the tendons 
between 30,000 and 50,000 p.s.i.
    One of the most dangerous hazards in a post-tensioning operation is 
the struck-by hazard that results from tensioning or de-tensioning the 
tendons, especially a flying object propelled by the energy released 
when a tendon breaks or a component fails at these high pressures. 
According to OSHA IMIS database reports, in 2008, an employee died when 
he was de-tensioning the tendons. The jack slipped and struck the 
employee in the chest, killing him. Ten years earlier, a worker died 
after a flying object struck his right arm and the back of his head 
while he was post-tensioning a parking lot ramp.

C. Applicable Standards

    The following provisions of OSHA's Concrete and Masonry 
Construction standard at 29 CFR part 1926, subpart Q, regulate some 
aspects of reinforcing steel and post-tensioning operations: 29 CFR 
1926.701(b) (Reinforcing steel); 29 CFR 1926.701(c) (Post-tensioning 
operations); and 29 CFR 1926.703(d) (Reinforcing steel).
    Subpart M of 29 CFR part 1926 (Fall Protection), specifically Sec.  
1926.501(b)(5) (Formwork and reinforcing steel), requires fall 
protection for workers exposed to heights over six feet when working on 
reinforcing steel.

D. Standards From Other Jurisdictions

    In its research on reinforced steel and post-tensioning, OSHA found 
that, in the years since it published 29 CFR part 1926, subpart Q, 
various federal agencies, state governments, and industry associations 
drafted additional regulations and guidelines for reinforcing steel and 
post-tensioning operations. A few of the 26 state-plan states, which 
can develop their own occupational safety and health standards, have 
regulations regarding reinforcing steel and post-tensioning operations. 
California, for instance, has several concrete-reinforcing regulations. 
These regulations specify the criteria for impalement covers and tests 
to determine whether caps are effective. California has detailed 
requirements for rebar caps and troughs, which are long wooden forms 
built to encapsulate the exposed ends of rebar, Title 8, CCR Sec.  
344.90. California also regulates job-built covers used to protect 
workers from protruding rebar and similar projections Title 8, CCR 
Sec.  1712. In addition to impalement devices, California requires that 
contractors use a qualified person to install and remove guys, 
supports, and braces (id.).
    Washington State regulates the performance of post-tensioning 
activities, which includes requirements that: "deadheads" used in 
post-tensioning be the type that will increase the grip on the cable as 
the tension increases; contractors use proper means and equipment to 
prevent over-tensioning; and only qualified workers perform post-
tensioning operations, WAC-296-155-695. These regulations also require 
employers to: follow supplier recommendations and instructions 
regarding installation, maintenance, and replacement of anchor 
fittings; keep tools and strand vices clean and in good repair; and 
comply with minimum safety factors for expendable strand deflection 
devices and reusable strand deflection devices. Washington State also 
has regulations regarding jacking operations which specify that 
"during jacking operations of any tensioning element or group of 
tensioning elements, the anchors shall be kept turned up close to the 
anchorplate" and that no one can stand "in line or directly over the 
jacking equipment during tensioning operations." (Id.) Jacking and 
pulling equipment must be inspected frequently. These regulations also 
include requirements for handling stressed concrete.
    Federal agencies involved in construction activities also have 
requirements relating to concrete reinforcement. For example, section 
25.3.6 of the 2009 edition of the Bureau of Reclamation Safety and 
Health Standards prohibits the use of reinforcing steel as guy 
attachments at deadmen or other anchorage points for scaffolding hooks, 
for stirrups, or as a load-bearing member of any lifting device.
    Section 27.B.03 of the 2008 edition of the Army Corps of Engineers 
Safety and Health Requirements Manual requires that a registered 
professional engineer design support systems for reinforcing steel that 
are independent of other forms or shoring support systems. Additionally, 
this manual requires that contractors: Secure connections of equipment 
used in plumbing-up; secure turnbuckles to prevent unwinding while under 
stress; place plumbing-up guys and related equipment so that employees 
can reach the connection points; and to remove these guys and equipment 
only under the supervision of a competent person. This manual also 
specifies that the designs and plans of shoring and formwork must meet 
the standards in the American Concrete Institute Publication 347 and 
that the manufacturer's specifications for fabricated shoring systems 
be available at the job site during job planning and execution.
    The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard for 
reinforced concrete, ANSI/ASSE A10.9-2004, Safety Requirements for 
Masonry and Concrete Work--American National Standard for Construction 
and Demolition Operations, also includes safety recommendations for 
operations involving reinforced concrete. Similar to the Bureau of 
Reclamation standards, section 1.13.2 of the ANSI standard prohibits 
the use of reinforcing steel as hooks or stirrups for scaffolding, or 
as a load-bearing member of any lifting device. The ANSI standard also 
requires that reinforcing mats used as walkways be capable of 
supporting the walkway's load, and it must have a surface covering that 
affords adequate footing (section 3.1.3). In addition, the ANSI 
standard requires that contractors clean and store post-tensioning 
tendons to prevent rusting, pitting, kinks, pits, or other damage 
(section 8.3), keep tools in good repair, and have a competent person 
inspect jacking equipment before and during jacking operations (section 
8.4).
    The purpose of this RFI is to gather information, data, and comment 
on hazards in operations involving reinforced concrete in construction, 
as well as effective measures to control these hazards to prevent 
injuries and fatalities.

II. Request for Data, Information, and Comments

    As noted from the discussion in section IA, OSHA has limited 
information on reinforcing steel and post-tensioning operations. 
Therefore, OSHA developed the following questions to expand its 
information base. OSHA invites the public, especially the regulated 
community, both employers and employees, to read this document 
carefully and respond to these questions as completely as possible, 
including full explanations of their positions and arguments. 
Accordingly, OSHA is seeking data, information, and comment on hazards 
present in these operations, and the measures used to control these 
hazards and reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities. OSHA welcomes 
any available data, information, or comments related to regulatory 
requirements addressing operations that involve reinforcing concrete. 
Based on its analysis of the information received in response to this 
RFI, OSHA will determine what action, if any, it will take to address 
the hazards of operations involving reinforced concrete. Please refer 
to each question by its specific number when responding, and make 
submissions in the OSHA-2010-0058 docket on reinforced concrete.

A. Post-Tensioning Operations

    1. Are there specific post-tensioning hazards not currently 
addressed by OSHA standards? If so, what are they?
    2. What are the most common post-tensioning-related injuries, and 
what procedures or techniques are available to prevent them?
    3. Should a competent person inspect jacking equipment for visible 
signs of defects or other signs of failure before and during jacking 
operations? Are such inspections currently standard practice in the 
industry?
    4. What safety checks are necessary before post-tensioning activity 
occurs?
    5. Are there engineering issues relating to post-tensioning 
operations that affect the safety of employees?
    6. Are there post-tensioning hazards associated with mixing 
components from various manufacturers?
    7. How can employees be protected from risks or hazards associated 
with drilling or cutting concrete after post-tensioning operations are 
complete?
    8. Are the hazards associated with de-tensioning generally 
different than the hazards associated with post-tensioning? Please 
explain. What measures are available to reduce these hazards?

B. Site Conditions and Roads

    9. Some contractors perform rebar work, such as building rebar 
cages, on the ground. At a construction site with multiple contractors, 
concrete reinforcing workers may not have the authority to alter ground 
conditions that are muddy, uneven, or contain other hazards. Workers 
also need to transport rebar and other materials on the site. Do 
concrete reinforcing workers experience material-handling hazards, such 
as tripping, while carrying rebar when site conditions are poor? What 
site conditions make it difficult to transport rebar and other 
materials on the site? How do these conditions contribute to injuries, 
if at all? Please explain.
    10. Do site conditions pose other significant hazards for 
reinforcing steel work? If so, how frequently does this occur and when 
should contractors address site conditions--after excavation, before 
formwork begins, or at another time?
    11. Are road conditions a problem for reinforcing concrete 
contractors, and do they create hazards for employees? What would be an 
appropriate remedy to address risks to employees?

C. Documentation

    12. Welding rebar used for reinforcement that is not safe for 
welding can make the rebar brittle and may lead to collapse of the 
structure and injury or death to workers. How can employees be 
protected from these risks?
    13. Are inadequate guardrails a problem for workers performing 
rebar operations? If so, how frequently does this occur, and what would 
be an appropriate remedy to address this risk?

D. Reinforcing Steel Operations

    14. What are the hazards associated with using gas-powered abrasive 
cut-off saws (demo-saws) on rebar? What are appropriate training and 
safety measures necessary to protect employees?
    15. Are there safety issues in regard to the wire used for tying 
rebar (for example, the gauge of wire used for tying rebar)? If there 
are, what are the safety measures necessary to protect employees?
    16. Rebar columns can collapse when not supported properly, 
potentially injuring or killing workers. What safety measures are 
necessary to protect rebar workers from this hazard?
    17. Do some types of structures pose more risk to employees 
performing rebar work? Please explain.
    18. Are there specific safety issues related to the use of 
reinforcing steel and post-tensioning in residential construction?
    19. Workers may form rebar cages on the ground (horizontally) and 
then raise them to a vertical position. Are there specific rigging 
hazards related to moving rebar columns? If so, what are they?
    20. What health hazards are associated with working with or cutting 
epoxy-coated rebar or galvanized rebar?
    21. What are the hazards involved with using reinforcing steel as 
guy attachments at deadmen or other anchorage points for scaffolding 
hooks or stirrups, or as load-bearing members of any lifting device? 
Does the Bureau of Reclamation's regulation (indicated above) effectively 
address these hazards?
    22. What are the hazards associated with using rebar mats as a 
walkway? What safety measures would address these risks?
    23. What safety measures are needed to address the risk of concrete 
forms collapsing? Please explain.

E. General Reinforcing Safety

    24. 29 CFR 1926.703(d)(2) requires employers to take measures to 
prevent wire mesh from recoiling. What types of injuries occur when 
working with wire mesh? Are there additional hazards related to wire 
mesh that require safety measures to protect workers? What would these 
additional safety measures be?
    25. Are additional protective measures needed to address inhalation 
of the fibers used in fiber-reinforced concrete?
    26. Is a competent or qualified person necessary to supervise 
guying, bracing, or shoring formwork? What measures would help avoid 
collapses of these structures? Is using a competent or qualified person 
for this purpose currently standard practice in the industry? When 
installation of formwork requires removal of structural-stability 
guying of an erected cage, is an alternative stability measure used in 
place of the guys? If so, what are these measures?
    27. Are there safety issues associated with guardrails erected by 
reinforcing concrete contractors remaining onsite after the reinforcing 
contractors departed from the site? Should a controlling contractor be 
responsible for the guardrails after the reinforcing contractors depart 
the site to ensure that guardrails remain effective? What is currently 
the standard practice in the industry?
    28. Does improper sequencing among multiple crafts result in 
accidents or collapses in reinforcing concrete construction? Would a 
plan for project sequencing help eliminate the hazards created by 
multiple crafts working at the same time? Please explain.

F. Impalement

    29 CFR 1926.701(b) requires that "all protruding reinforcing 
steel, onto which employees could fall, shall be guarded to eliminate 
the hazard of impalement." Despite this requirement, workers continue 
to die and experience serious injuries because of impalement incidents. 
OSHA is looking at ways that it can improve its existing impalement 
standard to prevent future injuries and deaths.
    29. How could the current impalement provision be changed to be 
more effective or protective? Is it practical or effective to require 
additional specific forms of impalement protection for specific 
situations? For example, under what circumstances should a contractor 
use protective troughs?
    30. Subpart R of 29 CFR 1926 contains regulations that explain when 
a controlling contractor may take possession of fall protection, 29 CFR 
1926.760(e). These regulations allow a controlling contractor to take 
control and responsibility for fall protection installed by a 
subcontractor. Fall protection stays in place while the responsibility 
shifts from the subcontractor, who is leaving the area, to the 
controlling contractor, who remains at the worksite. Similar issues 
arise when many crafts use rebar caps placed by one contractor. Would 
procedures similar to the procedures specified for fall protection be 
useful in ensuring that rebar caps remain installed until no longer 
needed?
    31. The state of California has a test to determine whether rebar 
caps are effective. Does such testing increase worker protection of 
caps? Please explain.
    32. OSHA issued a memorandum on January 15, 1997, that explains 
what types of rebar caps adequately protect workers from the hazard of 
impalement, e.g., mushroom caps are insufficient for this purpose. What 
should OSHA do to update the clarifications described in this 
memorandum?
    33. In addition to rebar, construction sites have other, similar 
hazards that protrude from concrete, such as pipes. Unlike rebar, no 
existing OSHA standard covers these hazards. Are these hazards a safety 
issue, and what would be the most effective measure to use in 
controlling them?

G. Training

    34. Is specific training needed for work involving reinforcing 
steel and post-tensioning? If so, what specific types of training are 
needed for operations involving these activities?
    35. How does your company/organization evaluate employees to 
confirm that they understand information provided in the training? 
Should employers rely on hands-on methods and practical demonstration 
of skills rather than written tests/evaluations?
    36. Does your company/organization train employees for operations 
involving reinforced concrete? If so, what information does it cover? 
How is training adapted for non-English speaking employees? Please 
provide copies of training materials, if possible.
    37. OSHA would like to receive information on employer experiences 
with training non-English speaking workers. What percentage of your 
workforce involved in reinforced concrete operations speaks languages 
other than English? What training methods have you found to be 
effective with these workers? Are you aware of any data that estimates 
the number of non-English speaking workers engaged in operations 
involving reinforced concrete? If so, please identify the data.

H. Injuries

    OSHA currently is looking for information and data on incidents in 
the reinforcing concrete industry. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
(BLS) keeps data on many types of injuries, the BLS data regarding 
concrete reinforcing is not specific to the incidents addressed by this 
RFI. While OSHA has some limited data, including the CPWR and BeSafeBC 
studies, the Agency needs additional data to determine the types and 
frequency of these incidents.
    38. If you or your company/organization performs work involving 
reinforcing steel, what kinds of rebar-related injuries, if any, have 
your employees experienced? How many?
    39. If you or your company/organization performs post-tensioning 
operations, what kinds of post-tensioning-related injuries, if any, 
have your employees experienced? How many?
    40. Are you aware of any data used to evaluate the effect of 
implementing specific safety practices in reinforced concrete 
operations? Is so, please identify the data.

I. Economic Issues

    41. The Agency examined data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 
(BLS) Occupational Employment Survey (May 2009) to identify which 
industries employ Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers (SOC 472171) (see 
the table below).\5\ Based on the data in this table, it would appear 
that most concrete reinforcement activity occurs in NAICS code 238100, 
with small amounts of activity in other construction sectors.\6\ 
However, the data may not be accurate because there may be construction 
workers, including laborers and carpenters, who perform reinforcing 
concrete operations and who are classified under other SOC codes 
because reinforcing concrete is not their primary activity. Also, there 
likely are reinforcing iron and rebar workers employed in non-construction 
sectors not accounted for in the data presented in this table.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Standard Occupational Classification (SOC).
    \6\ North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

                                 Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers by Industry
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Potentially affected industries     Potentially affected employees
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NAICS code                                Industry..........................                  SOC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              472171: Number of Reinforcing Iron
                                                                                       and Rebar Workers
                                                                             -----------------------------------
                                                                                  Subtotal            Total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
236100..................................  Residential Building Construction.  ................               280
236200..................................  Nonresidential Building             ................               ENR
                                           Construction.
237000..................................  Heavy and Civil Engineering         ................             2,520
                                           Construction.
237100..................................  Utility System Construction.......               360  ................
237300..................................  Highway Street and Bridge                      1,870  ................
                                           Construction..
237900..................................  Other Heavy and Civil Engineering                100  ................
                                           Construction.
238000..................................  Specialty Trade Contractors.......  ................            16,960
238100..................................  Foundation Structure and Building             16,180  ................
                                           Exterior Contractors.
238200..................................  Building Equipment Contractors....               150  ................
238900..................................  Other Specialty Trade Contractors.               620  ................
327300..................................  Cement and Concrete Product         ................                40
                                           Manufacturing.
423000..................................  Merchant Wholesalers Durable Goods  ................               130
999301..................................  Local government including schools  ................                40
                                           and hospitals.
                                                                             -----------------------------------
                                           Total............................  ................            19,970
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ENR = "Estimate Not Released"--due to data suppression, the actual number of rebar workers will be larger than
  the total based on the available data.
Source: BLS Occupational Employment Survey, May 2009.

    42. Do the data listed in the table provide reasonable estimates of 
where concrete reinforcement work is done and who is doing it? Are 
there construction sectors other than those listed in the table above 
that do concrete reinforcing work? Are there other occupational groups, 
such as cement masons and concrete finishers, that OSHA should consider 
in determining the industries in which concrete reinforcement work 
might take place?
    43. Do reinforcing iron and rebar workers in sectors other than 
construction engage in construction work (as opposed to performing 
general industry maintenance)? Do they face hazards similar to 
reinforcing iron and rebar workers working in the construction sector?
    44. OSHA is interested in the experience of employers in complying 
with existing standards regarding concrete reinforcement, in terms of 
costs and benefits; specifically, the experience of employers in states 
with supplemental mandatory requirements related to concrete 
reinforcement, such as California and Washington.
    a. Have there been additional expenses in complying with these 
rules and what are these expenses?
    b. Have these standards had any affect on the industry structure? 
Has there been a noticeable improvement in safety? Are there any data 
sources on injuries related to reinforced concrete operations at local 
or regional levels?
    c. What is the industry's experience, in terms of costs and 
benefits, in complying with various consensus standards, such as the 
ANSI standards?
    d. Have the Bureau of Reclamation or Army Corps of Engineers 
requirements imposed additional expenses, affected industry structure, 
or resulted in safety improvements?
    e. Is there any reason to believe that, if OSHA adopted the 
requirements of these various standards, the resulting costs, benefits, 
and affects on industry structure would differ from current experience?
    f. Are current state standards sufficiently flexible and/or 
performance-oriented to adapt to changing technology in the 
construction sector over time?
    45. Subpart R requires the controlling contractor to properly grade 
and drain the work area (29 CFR 1926.752(c)(2)). Reinforcing concrete 
work may be done before structural steel work begins. Currently, there 
is no requirement to grade and drain the site prior to commencing 
reinforcing concrete work. If controlling contractors must drain and 
grade the site prior to reinforcing concrete work, would this increase 
the cost of draining and grading the site, or would it merely shift the 
timing of the cost? Please explain.
    46. How many, and what kind of, small entities (small businesses, 
small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions) perform 
reinforcing steel and post-tensioning operations? What percentage of 
the industry do they comprise? Are there important differences between 
entities of various sizes within the affected industries?
    47. OSHA requests that members of the small business community and 
others familiar with small business concerns address any special 
circumstances small entities may encounter in controlling hazards and 
reducing injuries and fatalities associated with reinforcing steel and 
post-tensioning operations.
    a. How, and to what extent, would publication of new regulatory 
provisions that address hazards in reinforcing steel and post-
tensioning operations affect small entities in the industry?
    b. Are there special circumstances that make the control of hazards 
in reinforcing steel and post-tensioning operations more difficult or 
more costly for small entities? Please describe these circumstances, 
and explain any alternatives that may serve to minimize these impacts, 
such as extended compliance dates, use of performance standards, 
simplified compliance options, different requirements, and partial 
exemptions for affected small firms.
    48. Are there reasons why the benefits of new provisions to control 
the hazards of reinforcing steel and post-tensioning operations may be 
different for small entities than for larger establishments? Please 
explain.

J. References

    All references in this list are available in OSHA Docket No. 
OSHA-2010-0058, Reinforced Concrete in Construction.

WAC 296-155-695. Miscellaneous Concrete Construction.
ANSI/ASSE A10.9-2004, Safety Requirement for Masonry and Concrete 
Work, American National Standard for Construction and Demolition 
Operations.
Apparent Domestic Consumption of Rebar 2010 Spreadsheet.
Bureau of Reclamation--Section 25 Concrete Masonry Construction and 
Formwork.
California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 344.90. Impalement 
Protection. Specifications and Testing Criteria.
California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 1712. Hazards 
Associated with the Use of Reinforcing Steel and Other Similar 
Projections.
Hunt, J., President, International Association of Bridge, 
Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers. Letter to 
Michaels, David, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational 
Safety and Health.
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) Fact Sheet.
Occupational Injuries among Construction Workers Treated at the GWU 
Emergency Department.
OSHA Rebar and Post-tensioning Deaths from IMIS Database 2000-2009 
Spreadsheet.
Swanson, R. Memorandum re: Mushroom Rebar Caps, May 29, 1997.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Safety and Health Requirements Manual 
Section 27, 2008 ed.
WorkSafeBC. Mechanisms of Injury. CU 721012 Concrete Reinforcing 
Industry Overview.

Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities

Table of Contents

I. Background
    A. Introduction
    1. Backover Injuries and Fatalities
    2. Current OSHA Standards
    3. Consensus Standards and State Standards
    4. Actions by Other Federal Agencies
    B. Backover Prevention Technology and Methods
    1. Backup Alarms
    2. Cameras
    3. Proximity Detection Systems
    4. Combined Technologies
    5. Backover Prevention Methods
    C. Other Research on Backing Maneuvers
II. Request for Data, Information, and Comment
    A. General: Backing With an Obstructed View
    B. Audible Backup Alarms
    C. Studies
    D. Vehicle and Backing Safety System Manufacturers
    E. State Regulations
    F. Internal Traffic Control Plans
    G. Training
    H. Economic Issues
    I. Scope
    J. References

I. Background

A. Introduction

1. Backover Injuries and Fatalities
    Workers can experience caught-between injuries and fatalities when 
backing vehicles or mobile equipment, especially those with an 
obstructed view to the rear, pin them against an object and struck-by 
injuries when struck by backing vehicles or mobile equipment in other 
circumstances. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
(NHTSA) refers to many backing incidents as "backovers," which are 
"crash[es] which occur when a driver reverses into and injures or 
kills a non-occupant" ("Fatalities and Injuries in Motor Vehicle 
Backing Crashes"). While backover incidents can be fatal, some 
backover incidents can result in serious non-fatal injuries, such as 
amputations, compound and simple fractures, and crushing injuries (OSHA 
Backing Injuries 2007-2009, Region 9 Spreadsheet). In this Request for 
Information (RFI), OSHA is seeking information about backover incidents 
that occur when drivers or mobile equipment operators have an 
obstructed view to the rear. In addition, some mobile equipment that 
has an unobstructed view, such as most forklifts, also may cause 
backing incidents. The Agency also is seeking information and comment 
on this equipment.
    In a search of its Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) 
database for fatal accidents involving backover hazards, the Agency 
identified 358 fatal incidents over a six-year period, from 2005 
through 2010 \7\ (OSHA Backing Fatalities 2005-2010 Spreadsheet). Of 
these deaths, 142 occurred in the construction industry, and the 
remaining 216 occurred in general industry, shipyard employment, 
maritime, and agriculture industries. There were 279 fatalities 
involving struck-by hazards, and 73 fatalities involved caught-between 
hazards, 16 of which included workers caught between a loading dock and 
a tractor trailer, and 6 fatalities caused by falls from backing 
vehicles. Three types of vehicles caused a large number of deaths: 61 
deaths involved dump trucks; 31 deaths involved tractor trailers; and 
20 deaths involved garbage trucks.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ This data did not include accidents caused by backing 
railroad vehicles because the Federal Railroad Administration 
regulates railroad vehicles, nor did it include accidents in which 
the driver of the vehicle was the only fatality. However, the data 
included accidents in which a backing vehicle hit an object which, 
in turn, resulted in a fatality (e.g., a vehicle backed into a tower 
and toppled it onto an employee standing nearby). Additionally, not 
all IMIS fatality reports are available to the public because the 
employer is contesting the citations, or the Agency is reviewing the 
report.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The analysis of the IMIS data also provided a context for these 
fatal backover incidents. Eight of the deceased workers were using cell 
phones when the backover incident occurred. Twenty-one fatalities 
involved vehicles with no driver.\8\ Twenty-five of the victims were 
acting as spotters for the vehicles that backed over them. In many of 
the cases, employers were using spotters to comply with the existing 
backover-related standards. In some these cases, OSHA cited employers 
under Sec.  5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 
known as the General Duty Clause.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ In most of these incidents, the victims were drivers who 
left the cab of the vehicle while it was running to perform a task 
behind the vehicle.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One area in which backover incidents are a significant concern are 
incidents that occur in highway work zones. Road construction workers 
routinely work in close proximity to mobile equipment and construction 
vehicles, which exposes them to struck-by hazards on the job site. For 
example, flaggers and other workers on foot are at risk because they 
may not be visible to equipment operators or motorists. Other highway 
workers are at risk because they routinely work in conditions of low 
visibility, low lighting, inclement weather, noise, or in congested 
areas with high traffic volumes. The 2010 highway work zone study, 
"Fatal Occupational Injuries at Road Construction Sites, 2003-07," 
found that, of the 639 fatal workplace injuries on road construction 
sites between 2003 and 2007, 101 (15.8%) involved backing vehicles or 
mobile equipment. Additionally, the study found that dump trucks caused 
60 of these fatal backover incidents. An earlier study found that 51% 
of workers killed by backing vehicles while on foot occurred within the 
confines of a highway work zone ("Building Safer Highway Work Zones: 
Measures to Prevent Worker Injuries from Vehicles and Equipment").
    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 
compiles case studies of worker fatalities in its Fatality Assessment 
and Control Evaluation (FACE) reports. An OSHA review of 25 
construction-related backover fatalities described in these reports 
indicates that, in 15 of these fatalities, the backup alarm on the 
vehicle was functioning properly, suggesting that backup alarms may not 
be sufficient to prevent backover incidents.
    In the FACE reports, NIOSH recommended that employers:
     Ensure that procedures for backing vehicles safely are in 
place for mobile construction vehicles;
     Designate a spotter to direct vehicle backing;
     Train workers on the specific duties they are to perform 
during backing maneuvers;
     Train workers to recognize equipment blind areas;
     Ensure that drivers are in communication with workers who 
are on foot near the vehicle;
     Implement and enforce procedures that minimize exposure of 
workers on foot to moving construction vehicles and equipment;
     Provide personal protective equipment and high-visibility 
clothing, and require its use; and,
     Install after-market devices (e.g., cameras, radars, and 
ultrasonic devices) on construction vehicles and equipment to monitor 
workers on foot in blind areas.
    While vehicles cause the majority of backover incidents, mobile 
equipment cause backover injuries and fatalities as well. Powered 
industrial trucks, many of which are forklifts, are one type of mobile 
equipment that has the potential to create many backing hazards. 
Powered industrial trucks may need to change direction rapidly, which 
can make it difficult for a worker on foot to know where the forklifts 
are going. In addition, these machines cause injuries by backing slowly 
and trapping workers. ANSI standard B56.1-2009, Safety Standard for Low 
Lift and High Lift Trucks, provides safety instructions for personnel 
who operate powered industrial trucks. Section 5.2.7 of this standard 
instructs operators to "[s]afeguard pedestrians at all times." NIOSH 
recommended that powered industrial trucks have backup alarms to avoid 
worker on-foot fatalities ("Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Workers 
Who Operate or Work Near Forklifts"). Currently, there are no OSHA 
standards requiring powered industrial trucks to have backup alarms.
2. Current OSHA Standards
    There are three OSHA construction standards that require employers 
to use an alarm or a spotter when backing a vehicle or other mechanical 
equipment with an obstructed view to the rear. These standards are:
     29 CFR 1926.601(b)(4)--Motor vehicles;
     29 CFR 1926.602(a)(9)(ii)--Material handling equipment; 
and
     29 CFR 1926.952(a)(3)--Mechanical equipment.

General industry standard 29 CFR 1910.269(p)(1)(ii) provides similar 
requirements for vehicular equipment operated in general industry at 
off-highway jobsites.
    While no OSHA standard defines the phrase "obstructed view to the 
rear," a 1987 OSHA memorandum addressing the use of the phrase in 29 
CFR 1926.602(a)(9)(ii) provides the following explanation:

    A simple interpretation would be "anything" that would 
"blockout" (interfere) with the overall view of the operator of 
the vehicle to the rear of the vehicle, at ground level.
    "Obstructed view to the rear" could include such obstacles as 
any part of the vehicle such as structural members, its load 
(gravel, dirt, rip-rap), its height relative to ground level 
viewing, damage to windows or side mirrors, etc. used for rearview 
movement of the vehicle; in addition, it could include restricted 
visibility due to weather conditions such as heavy fog; or work 
being done after dark, without proper lighting.

(Memorandum re: Interpretation of 29 CFR 1926.602(a)(9)(ii).) In a 
letter of interpretation, OSHA also permitted the use of motion-sensing 
equipment (e.g., radar) on vehicles, so long as it provides adequate 
warning to workers in the path of the vehicle or walking toward the 
vehicle (Letter of Interpretation re: Permissible methods of operating 
trucks in reverse on construction sites).
    The above-mentioned construction and general industry standards 
only require the use of a backup alarm when the view to the rear is 
obstructed. If the obstruction is removed or non-existent, current 
regulations do not require an alarm. OSHA notes, however, that vehicles 
and mobile equipment with unobstructed views to the rear, such as 
forklifts and some skid-steer loaders, kill and injure workers during 
backing maneuvers ("Fatal Occupational Injuries at Road Construction 
Sites" and "Building Safer Highway Work Zones").
    While OSHA does not specifically require backup alarms on powered 
industrial trucks, there are regulations that prohibit removing a 
backup alarm if a powered industrial truck is equipped with one by the 
manufacturer. Accordingly, two OSHA standards for the maritime industry 
(29 CFR 1917.43(c)(5) and 29 CFR 1918.65(f)(1)) prohibit employers from 
removing safety devices, such as backup alarms, when the manufacturer 
equips a powered industrial truck with such an alarm. Additionally, 29 
CFR 1910.178(q)(6) prohibits eliminating parts from powered industrial 
trucks, which would include backup alarms. Paragraph (n)(6) of 29 CFR 
1910.178 requires employers to ensure that powered industrial truck 
operators look in the direction of travel, whether moving forward or in 
reverse. Similarly, 29 CFR 1910.266(f)(2)(v) requires operators of 
logging machines to determine that no employee is in the path of the 
machine before starting or moving the machine. Paragraph (g)(7) of 29 
CFR 1910.266 applies this requirement to logging vehicles that 
"transport any employee off public roads or * * * perform any logging 
operation, including any vehicle provided by an employee."
    OSHA also has a requirement for the longshoring industry that 
prevents backover incidents when operators drive vehicles on and off 
cargo vessels. Accordingly, 29 CFR 1918.86(n) requires that "[d]rivers 
shall not drive vehicles, either forward or backward, while any 
personnel are in positions where they could be struck."
3. Consensus Standards and State Standards
    The ANSI A10.47-2009 standard, Work Zone Safety for Highway 
Construction, contains several sections regarding backing construction 
vehicles and equipment. Section 6.2 of this ANSI standard requires 
that, when pedestrians are potentially in the blind areas of vehicles 
and equipment, the vehicles and equipment must use a mechanical backing 
assistive device \9\ or a spotter before backing. Section 6.2.1 
requires the use of a mechanical backing assistive device and a backup 
alarm if the employer does not use spotters. Section 6.2.2 requires 
employers to train spotters on the following topics: How to safely 
direct backing maneuvers; on not standing in the path of construction 
vehicles or equipment; to remain in the direct line of sight of 
drivers; and to wear high-visibility apparel. Employers also must train 
drivers to stop their vehicles when they lose sight of spotters. 
Section 6.2.3 requires that visual warning devices supplement audible 
backup alarms, especially at night.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ The ANSI standard defines a mechanical backing assistive 
device as "a mechanical device that provides increased visibility 
or detection of objects behind a vehicle to prevent accidents during 
reverse operations."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Some states have regulations to prevent backover injuries and 
fatalities. Washington State regulation WAC 296-155-610(2)(f) requires, 
"An operable mechanical device that provides the driver a full view 
behind the dump truck [to be] used, such as a video camera," or the 
use of spotters when using dump trucks where people will be walking 
behind them. In addition, Washington State law RCW 46.37.400 requires 
trucks registered or based in the state and equipped with a "cube-
style, walk-in cargo box up to eighteen feet long used in the 
commercial delivery of goods and services" to have either crossview 
mirrors or backup devices that alert the driver when a person or object 
is behind the truck.
    Virginia promulgated a comprehensive regulation to prevent backover 
incidents in construction and general industry in 2009. The regulation 
applies to vehicles, machinery, or equipment used in off-road work 
zones, or for over-the-road hauling or transportation, and that are 
capable of operating in reverse and have an obstructed view to the rear 
(16VAC25-97-10). To operate a vehicle under these conditions, it 
generally must have a backup alarm audible above the surrounding noise 
level. The operator also must use a spotter or video camera, or 
"visually determine, that no employee is in the path of the covered 
vehicle" prior to backing (16VAC25-97-30). In addition, the regulation 
specifies requirements for spotters, including the use of fluorescent 
safety vests or jackets, maintaining visual contact with the driver 
when the vehicle is operating in reverse, and not using personal cell 
phones or headphones (16VAC25-97-40). Vehicle operators must stop 
immediately if they lose visual contact with the spotter. Employers 
must train spotters and vehicle operators on the regulation prior to 
commencing backing activities and provide refresher training for 
drivers and spotters when they violate the regulation, have an accident 
or near miss, or receive an evaluation showing that they are not 
operating under the regulation in a safe manner (16VAC25-97-50). Since 
Virginia promulgated the regulation, two backing fatalities occurred in 
the state, which is less than the four or five the state saw before 
promulgating the regulation (ACCSH Transcript, Dec. 16, 2011).
4. Actions by Other Federal Agencies
    OSHA is not the only federal agency working to curb backover 
incidents. Recently, the NHTSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
that would expand the required field of view in passenger cars, trucks, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, buses, and low-speed vehicles rated at 
10,000 pounds or less, gross vehicle weight, to prevent pedestrian 
backover deaths. In the near term, the only technology that complies 
with the proposal is cameras with an in-vehicle visual display. (See 75 
FR 76186, December 3, 2010.) The Mine Safety and Health Administration 
recently published proposed rule which would require the use of certain 
proximity detection equipment on certain mining machines. (See 76 FR 
54163, August 31, 2011.) This type of proximity detection system would 
stop the mining machines when they enter a pre-determined danger zone 
near a miner. A sensor on the machine detects a signal emitted by a 
device attached to the miner.

B. Backover Prevention Technology and Methods

1. Backup Alarms
    Many construction employers equip large vehicles used on 
construction sites and in work zones with reverse signal alarms. Most 
of these alarms emit a single tone. Single tone alarms are used for 
backup alarms and other types of alarms on many types of vehicles and 
mobile equipment. Because they are used in so many applications, some 
workers may not pay attention to the alarms. It also may be difficult 
for workers to determine from what direction the tone is coming 
("Construction Noise: Exposure, Effects, and the Potential for 
Remediation; A Review and Analysis"). Other types of backup alarms are 
available. These alarms include broadband alarms (also known as white-
noise alarms) and self-adjusting alarms, which vary the tone based on 
the ambient noise level. However, the self-adjusting alarms can be 
problematic if several vehicles use them on a worksite and the alarms 
adjust to the tone that each alarm is emitting.
    The noise generated by backup alarms can cause problems. For 
example, over the years, OSHA received several letters from members of 
the public about the annoying sounds emitted by backup alarms at 
construction sites, especially in residential neighborhoods. (See, 
e.g., Letter of Interpretation re: Alternatives to common back-up 
alarms on construction motor vehicles; use of other effective 
technology or observers/signal persons.) In addition, noise caused by 
backup alarms may cause problems for workers. The Eugene, Oregon, Fire 
Department commissioned a 1998 study on the hearing effects of backup 
alarms on firefighters. ("Personnel Noise Exposure to Fire Apparatus 
Backup Alarms: Eugene Fire and EMS.") The study failed to confirm that 
backup alarms caused hearing loss in firefighters, but the alarms were 
of sufficient concern that the fire department requested revision of a 
local ordinance that required the use of backup alarms, to allow the 
department to use spotters instead (id.).
2. Cameras
    Most vehicles (and some types of mobile equipment) now can 
accommodate a camera that provides operators with a view to the rear. 
In a study involving medium straight trucks, NHTSA found that cameras 
provided an effective means of allowing the driver to see behind the 
vehicle ("Experimental Evaluation of the Performance of Available 
Backover Prevention Technologies for Medium Straight Trucks").
    Several studies explored the use of cameras on construction 
equipment and identified conditions that limit their use. The NIOSH 
study, "Evaluation of Systems to Monitor Blind Areas Behind Trucks 
Used in Road Construction and Maintenance: Phase 1," found that, in 
winter, snow and grime may accumulate quickly on the lenses of cameras, 
thereby impeding their usefulness. Determining where to mount a camera 
for maximum effectiveness may be difficult, especially on large 
vehicles. For example, dump trucks may require two or three cameras to 
monitor the blind spots on the front, rear, and side of the vehicle 
("Monitoring Blind Spots: A Major Concern for Haul Trucks"). Mounting 
cameras on exposed areas subjects them to accumulations of mud and 
grime, which may damage the camera ("Evaluation of Systems to Monitor 
Blind Areas Behind Trucks Used in Road Construction and Maintenance: 
Phase 1"). Also, camera systems manufactured for the automobile market 
may not be durable enough to use on vehicles at construction sites 
(id.).
3. Proximity Detection Systems
    Radar and ultrasonic technology both are used in backing safety 
systems. There generally are two types of radar used in these systems--
Doppler effect radar and frequency modulated continuous wave radar. 
Doppler effect radar detects the presence of objects that are moving 
with respect to the vehicle. Consequently, either the vehicle or the 
object needs to be moving for the vehicle driver to detect it. 
Frequency modulated continuous wave radar can detect persons or objects 
that are not moving. However, these systems must be in a position where 
they will not detect harmless objects, such as the concrete slab of a 
driveway, which can interfere with the detection of an object or person 
behind the vehicle or mobile equipment. Also, the composition of the 
object can affect the detection of an object, with some materials being 
virtually invisible to radar ("Evaluation of the Performance of Available 
Backover Prevention Technologies for Light Vehicles").
    Ultrasonic systems, such as sonar, emit bursts of ultrasonic waves. 
When the waves strike an object, they generate echoes used to determine 
the distance to the object.
    A major drawback of radar and ultrasonic technology is that, in 
crowded work areas, many false alarms may result from detection of 
harmless objects ("Evaluation of Systems to Monitor Blind Areas Behind 
Trucks Used in Road Construction and Maintenance: Phase 1"). The 
accumulation of snow or mud on sensors also can cause false alarms 
(id.). Additionally, sensors may not detect every object behind a 
vehicle ("Experimental Evaluation of the Performance of Available 
Backover Prevention Technologies for Medium Straight Trucks").
    Another type of proximity detection system is an electromagnetic 
field-based system. This system consists of a combination of 
electromagnetic field generators and field detecting devices. One 
electromagnetic field-based system uses electromagnetic field 
generators installed on a vehicle and electronic sensing devices worn 
by persons working near the vehicle. Another electromagnetic field-
based system uses field generators worn by persons working near the 
vehicle, while the sensing devices installed on the vehicle. These 
electromagnetic field-based systems can be programmed to warn affected 
workers, stop the vehicle, or both, when workers get within the 
predefined danger zone of the vehicle.
4. Combined Technologies
    NIOSH recommends combining a radar or ultrasonic system with a 
camera to protect workers from backover hazards ("Evaluation of 
Systems to Monitor Blind Areas Behind Trucks Used in Road Construction 
and Maintenance: Phase 1"). In a dual system, a radar or ultrasonic 
system would alert the driver to a possible object behind the vehicle, 
while a camera would enable the driver to easily determine if the 
signal is an object (including a person) or a false alarm ("Test 
Results of Collision Warning Systems for Surface Mining Dump Trucks"). 
One study assessed the use passenger vehicle drivers made of cameras 
while backing and found that drivers were more likely to look at the 
video monitor if sensors alerted them to an obstacle than they were to 
look at the camera without a sensor \10\ ("Backing Collisions: a Study 
of Drivers' Eye and Backing Behaviour Using Combined Rear-view Camera 
and Sensor Systems").
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ In this study, the drivers were not performing work while 
driving.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. Backover Prevention Methods
    One common method to address backover hazards is to use spotters to 
signal drivers while backing a vehicle. However, spotters are at 
increased risk of death or injury if drivers lose sight of them while 
backing.
    Internal traffic control plans (ITCP) is another method used to 
address backover hazards. These are plans that project managers can use 
to coordinate the flow of construction equipment, workers, and vehicles 
at a worksite to prevent vehicle impacts with workers. These plans can 
significantly reduce, or possibly eliminate, the need for vehicles to 
back up on a site. ANSI standard A10.47-2009, Work Zone Safety for 
Highway Construction, section 6.3 recommends that employers develop 
ITCPs and communicate them to employees. In addition, section 6.3.3 
states that an ITCP should include a diagram of travel routes; a 
listing of all onsite personnel and equipment; a checklist of site-
specific safety hazards and how to minimize these hazards; a list of 
safety notes defining site-specific injury prevention measures; and a 
plan for communicating the ITCP to workers, truck drivers, and 
equipment operators. However, OSHA has no information on the 
effectiveness of this consensus standard.

C. Other Research on Backing Maneuvers

    Some studies examined the use drivers make of backover prevention 
technology, but OSHA found no studies that address the use of this 
technology by drivers and operators under working conditions. NHTSA 
reviewed studies of parking assist technology, such as cameras, and 
found that the warning devices often are not useful to drivers who are 
not expecting objects behind their vehicles ("Vehicle Backover 
Avoidance Technology Study"). Drivers in these studies stated, 
however, that they would brake immediately if they received a sudden 
alert while backing. However, this research also found that drivers 
brake less often when the backing aids have a high false alarm rate, 
even when an object is behind the vehicle.

II. Request for Data, Information, and Comment

    OSHA is seeking additional information to evaluate the hazards that 
backing maneuvers pose to workers. The Agency is requesting information 
on how and when backing maneuvers occur in the workplace, and the 
injuries and fatalities caused by these maneuvers. OSHA is particularly 
interested in how employers use backover prevention technologies in the 
workplace. Workers who perform backing maneuvers are also encouraged to 
respond. Based on its analysis of the information received in response 
to this RFI, OSHA will determine what action, if any, it will take to 
address backover hazards.
    OSHA appreciates detailed responses to the following questions on 
backover hazards and prevention. Please make comments regarding 
backovers in the OSHA-2010-0059 docket. When answering questions, 
please refer to the question number in your comments and also provide 
the following information:
     If you are a worker, employer, or manager, please explain 
what industry you are in, and what position you hold.
     If you are a public health professional, please explain 
which industry or industries you work with/study.

A. General: Backing With an Obstructed View

    1. What types of vehicles or mobile equipment do you use that have 
an obstructed view to the rear?
    2. How does your company address the risk of backing vehicles that 
have an obstructed view to the rear?
    3. Are some types of backing safety systems, including non-
technological solutions such as spotters, more effective than other 
systems in your work situations? Please explain.
    4. To what extent do your vehicles with obstructed views have 
cameras or proximity detection systems?
    5. Do you use multiple cameras or cameras in combination with 
another backing safety system? If so, describe the systems used, and 
why you use them.
    6. How effective are the systems you use in preventing backing 
accidents involving vehicles with an obstructed view?
    7. Are you also using backing safety measures to protect the driver 
and vehicle from accidents and damage, in addition to protecting 
pedestrians or other workers? If so, describe the measures you are 
using.
    8. If your company uses spotters for backing maneuvers, how do 
drivers and spotters communicate--verbally, by using two-way radios, 
hand signaling, or some other technique?
    9. Does your company require the use of reflective clothing for 
spotters or other exposed employees during backing maneuvers? If so, 
describe when you require its use (for example, during all maneuvers, 
only during periods when backing maneuvers are frequent).

B. Audible Backup Alarms

    10. To what extent do your vehicles currently have audible backup 
alarms? Do you rely only on audible alarms when vehicles have an 
obstructed view to the rear?
    11. Does your company rely on more than just an audible alarm to 
ensure safe backing maneuvers? If so, what additional backing safety 
system does it use, and why?
    12. Backup alarm operations:
    a. If your company primarily uses backup alarms during backing 
maneuvers, do you find that these alarms can be recognized at all times 
above the background noise?
    b. Is it difficult to find a backup alarm that can be recognized 
above the background noise of the worksite?
    c. Can workers recognize the direction of a backup alarm signal?
    13. If your company requires hearing protection for workers who are 
on foot, does this protection interfere with their ability to hear the 
backup alarm on vehicles or mobile equipment during backing maneuvers?

C. Studies

    14. Are you aware of any additional studies, including studies of 
over-the-road vehicles such as cars, that analyze the effectiveness of 
the backing safety systems discussed in this notice, including cameras 
or proximity detection systems? If so, please provide references to the 
studies.
    15. Do you or your company use any backing safety technology not 
discussed in this notice? If so, please explain what the technology is, 
how it works, and whether it is commercially available.
    16. Does your company follow the ANSI A10.47-2009 standard, Work 
Zone Safety for Highway Construction, section 6.2, for safe practices 
during backing maneuvers?
    17. Are you aware of any studies addressing human factors or 
performance related to backing maneuvers in construction or other 
industries? If so, please provide the references to these studies.
    18. Do you have any studies or other information on the 
effectiveness of backup alarms when used around workers on foot who 
have difficulty hearing? Please provide the references to these studies 
or information.
    19. Do you have any studies or other information on injuries or 
fatalities resulting from backover hazards? Please provide the 
references to these studies or information.

D. Vehicle and Backing Safety System Manufacturers

    20. For manufacturers of vehicles or mobile equipment:
    a. Are camera or proximity detection systems available for your 
vehicles or mobile equipment that have obstructed views to the rear? 
Are they standard or optional equipment?
    b. How frequently are these technologies chosen by customers if the 
technology is not standard-issue equipment? Why do customers choose a 
specific technology or combination of technologies (that is, what 
special benefits do they believe one technology has over others)?
    c. Do you offer backing safety technology not mentioned in this 
RFI? If yes, please explain.
    d. What factors do you consider when deciding whether to equip a 
vehicle or mobile equipment with a backing safety system?
    21. For manufacturers of vehicles or mobile equipment with audible 
alarms:
    a. What decibel ranges do you provide on audible alarms? How do you 
determine how loud an alarm should be?
    b. Do you include audible backup alarms on all vehicles with 
obstructed views to the rear as part of the original equipment package? 
If not, are such alarms an option? Please explain your response.
    c. What percentage of customers request single-tone alarms, or 
other alarms such as broadband (white noise) or self-adjusting alarms?
    22. Are there types of vehicles or mobile equipment for which 
adding technology such as cameras or proximity detection systems are 
infeasible? Please explain.
    23. Some vehicle operators have hearing loss. Do your radar and 
proximity detection systems that provide audible warnings also provide 
visual warnings?
    24. For manufacturers of backing safety systems: do you provide any 
form of training in the use of this equipment?
    a. If yes, whom do you train--company representatives, end users, 
and/or others?
    b. If yes, what kind of training and training materials do you 
provide?
    c. Are there vehicles that are difficult to retrofit with a backing 
safety system? Please explain.
    25. For manufacturers of after-market backing safety systems: what 
kinds of support do you provide to companies that purchase your 
equipment? Do you suggest ways to mount the equipment?
    26. Are there other types of proximity detection systems in use for 
backing safety not described in this RFI? Is there any new, 
commercially available, technology to enhance backing safety that OSHA 
did not mention in this RFI? Please explain your response, including a 
description of the technology and its availability in the United 
States.

E. State Regulations

    27. If your company must follow Virginia's (16VAC-25-97-10 et seq.) 
or Washington's (WAC 296-155-610(2)(f)) backing regulations:
    a. Do you use a spotter or a camera when backing?
    b. How costly and difficult is it to comply with the regulations?
    c. How do you train your employees?
    d. Would phase-in periods make implementation of a regulation more 
effective? Please explain your response.
    e. Have you retrofitted vehicles? If so, please describe that 
experience.
    f. Did your backover incident rates change after implementation of 
the regulation?
    g. Have you faced any challenges with implementation? If so, what 
are they?

F. Internal Traffic Control Plans

    28. Internal traffic control plans regulate the flow of traffic in 
work zones and may reduce the frequency of backing that occurs in work 
zones. Does your company have an internal traffic control plan to aid 
or reduce backing maneuvers?
    29. Should companies use internal traffic control plans on 
construction sites other than road construction? Please explain.

G. Training

    30. Does your company have training requirements regarding backing 
maneuvers? If yes:
    a. Who receives training?
    b. Is there specific training for operators of vehicles or 
equipment that are involved in backing maneuvers?
    c. Is there specific training for the designated spotters? Please 
describe this training.
    d. What is the length of the training programs offered?
    31. If you train your employees on backing maneuvers, how often do 
you conduct the training? Have you found a decrease in injuries since 
implementing the training?
    32. Should spotters receive specific training for backing 
maneuvers?
    33. Is backing maneuver training presented formally in a class or 
provided informally on a jobsite?
    34. If you have one or more employees who do not speak fluent 
English, do you provide backing maneuver training for them in another 
language? Would it be helpful to have training materials and guidelines 
available in a language they can understand?

H. Economic Issues

    35. In addition to backup alarms, what initial costs are needed for 
safety measures associated with backing maneuvers? Please provide 
specific information on these costs.
    36. Do these safety measures for backing maneuvers affect daily 
productivity? Please provide specific information on these productivity 
costs.
    37. Do the various technological systems (cameras and proximity 
detection) save money or time if they replace spotters? Please explain.
    38. Are your costs for general liability insurance or workers' 
compensation insurance affected by the types of backup safety systems 
you use? Please explain.
    39. What property damage has resulted from backing accidents? 
Please describe the types of accidents, the property damage involved, 
and the value of the damaged property.
    40. How, and to what extent, would promulgation of additional 
standards that address hazards in backing maneuvers affect small 
businesses in your industry?
    41. Do special circumstances exist that would make additional 
standards difficult or costly for small entities? Please describe these 
circumstances.
    42. Are there steps OSHA could take that would reduce the burden 
and cost of improved backing safety measures for small businesses? 
Please explain.

I. Scope

    43. Should OSHA consider framing the problem in terms of the 
dangers associated with workers being too close to dangerous moving 
vehicles or mobile equipment, rather than focusing only on backover 
incidents?
    44. Are there non-regulatory alternatives the Agency should 
consider?
    45. What industry sectors, such as maritime or construction, have 
higher risks or greater frequency of injuries? On what information do 
you base your response?

J. References

    All references in this list are available in OSHA Docket No. 
OSHA-2010-0059, Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities.

ANSI A10.47-2009, Work Zone Safety for Highway Construction.
ANSI B56.1-2009, Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks.
RCW 46.37.400. Mirrors, backup devices.
16VAC25-97-10. Applicability.
16VAC25-97-30. Covered vehicle requirements.
16VAC25-97-40. Responsibilities while engaged in reverse signal 
operation activities.
16VAC25-97-50. Training.
WAC 296-155-610(2)(f). Motor vehicles on construction sites.
Fairfax, R.E., Acting Director, Directorate of Construction, letter 
to 20090429-9037, re: Permissible methods of operating trucks in 
reverse on construction sites, March 2, 2010.
Hurwitz, D.S., Pradhan, A., Fisher, D., Knodler, M.A., Muttart, 
J.W., Menon, R., Meissner, U. "Backing Collisions: a Study of 
Drivers' Eye and Backing Behaviour Using Combined Rear-view Camera 
and Sensor Systems," Injury Prevention, 16: 79-84, 2010.
Mazzae, E. and Garrott, R. National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, "Evaluation of the Performance of Available 
Backover Prevention Technologies for Light Vehicles," The 20th 
International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of 
Vehicles Conference, Paper Number 07-0292, 2006.
Mazzae, E. and Garrott, W.R. National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, "Experimental Evaluation of the Performance of 
Available Backover Prevention Technologies for Medium Straight 
Trucks," DOT HS 810 865, November 2007.
Miles, Jr., J.B., Directorate of Field Operations, Memorandum for 
Roger Clark, Regional Administrator, re: Interpretation of 29 CFR 
1926.602(a)(9)(ii), January 21, 1987.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Fatalities and 
Injuries in Motor Vehicle Backing Crashes," Report to Congress, 
November 2008.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Vehicle Backover 
Avoidance Technology Study," Report to Congress, November 2006.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Publication 
2001-109, "Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Workers Who Operate or 
Work Near Forklifts," 2001.
OSHA Backing Injuries 2007-2009, Region 9 Spreadsheet.
OSHA Backing Fatalities 2005-2010 Spreadsheet.
Pegula, S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Fatal occupational injuries 
at road construction sites, 2003-07," Monthly Labor Review, 
November 2010.
Pratt, S.G., Fosbroke, D.E, Marsh, S.M. National Institute for 
Occupational Safety and Health, Publication No. 2001-128, "Building 
Safer Highway Work Zones: Measures to Prevent Worker Injuries from 
Vehicles and Equipment," April 2001.
Robertson, T. Eugene Fire and EMS Department, "Personnel Noise 
Exposure to Fire Apparatus Backup Alarms: Eugene Fire and EMS," 
March 1998.
Ruff, T.M. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 
"Evaluation of Systems to Monitor Blind Areas Behind Trucks Used in 
Road Construction and Maintenance: Phase 1," Report of 
Investigations 9660, February 2003.
Ruff, T.M. "Monitoring Blind Spots: A Major Concern for Haul 
Trucks," Engineering and Mining Journal, December 2001, 202(12).
Ruff, T.M. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 
"Test Results of Collision Warning Systems for Surface Mining Dump 
Trucks," Report of Investigations 9652, May 2000.
Suter, A.H. "Construction Noise: Exposure, Effects, and the 
Potential for Remediation; A Review and Analysis," American 
Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, 63: 768-789, November/
December 2002.
Swanson, R., Director, Directorate of Construction, letter re: 
Alternatives to common back-up alarms on construction motor 
vehicles; use of other effective technology or observers/signal 
persons, September 27, 2004.

Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for 
Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, authorized 
the preparation of this notice pursuant to Sections 4, 6, and 8 of the 
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657), 
29 CFR part 1911, and Secretary's Order 1-2012 (77 FR 3192).


    Signed at Washington, DC, on March 23, 2012.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2012-7510 Filed 3-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-26-P

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