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News Release USDL 97-248
Thursday, July 24, 1997
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 219-8151
OSHA Receives Consensus Proposal For Steel Erection Standard
Representatives of labor, industry and other groups involved in steel erection who are members of the Steel Erection Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee (SENRAC) today presented the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with a consensus proposal for a revised steel erection standard that could save 26 lives and $125 million a year.
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Gregory R. Watchman, who received the report, said, "The entire steel erection community can be proud of the concerted effort it made to develop this proposal for a revised standard to protect workers. This is a good example of how President Clinton wants the New OSHA to work -- developing partnerships with labor, industry, public interests and other government agencies to achieve common sense regulation."
OSHA plans to later publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register based on this consensus document.
The SENRAC consensus proposal addresses the hazards that have been identified as the major causes of injuries and fatalities in the steel erection industry. These are hazards associated with working under loads; hoisting, landing and placing decking; column stability; double connections; hoisting, landing and placing steel joists; and falls to lower levels.
About 28 deaths and 1,800 lost-workday injuries currently occur each year among iron workers. The SENRAC report says that full compliance with the proposed standard and the existing standard would prevent 26 of these fatalities and about 1,100 of the lost-workday injuries.
The consensus proposal, if adopted, would save employers in the steel erection industry about $125 million a year in costs associated with lost-workday injuries such as lost productivity, medical costs, insurance costs and costs of liability claims.
Net costs of compliance, after deducting the cost of complying with the existing standard, would amount to about $49 million annually.
Helping develop the proposal were steel erectors (both union and non-union); employee representatives; steel fabricators; major producers of domestic steel; manufacturers of steel joists, steel deck, steel coatings, pre-engineered metal buildings and safety equipment; and safety consultants and associations.
SENRAC was established May 11, 1994, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Negotiated Rulemaking Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Under federal law, negotiated rulemaking allows a proposed rule to be developed by a committee composed of interest groups significantly affected by the final rule. Decisions are made by consensus, which in SENRAC's case requires concurrence among all interests represented.
The committee began negotiations in mid-June 1994 and has met 11 times since then. In December 1995, it reached consensus on a proposed standard. In the ensuing months, OSHA staff prepared a preamble and a notice of proposed rulemaking to support the SENRAC text.
The committee's proposal is designed to protect all workers engaged in steel erection activities. It does not cover electric transmission towers, communications towers, broadcast towers, water towers or tanks.
The SENRAC report is available on OSHA's web site at http:\\www.osha.gov under "What's New."
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