ACCSH Fall Protection Workgroup report and proposal for fall protection.
September 24, 1993
eLCOSH Editor's note:
The OSHA Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) was authorized in the 1969
Construction Safety Act (US Code Title 40§3704, to advise OSHA on matters related to construction
safety and health. It consists of five public representatives (one is normally from a State OSHA
program, one from NIOSH, etc.), five labor representatives (normally from various Building Trades
Unions) and five management representatives (primarily from contractor trade associations). The
ACCSH often sets up work groups, which are open to the public, to draft positions on various topics
or issues. These positions are then often voted on by the full ACCSH and those recommendations referred
to OSHA for their consideration. These work products represent a lot of effort and thought by many
individuals. They are posted here to make that work more easily accessible. This historical archive
many serve as a resource to future regulators and safety advocates, so they don’t have to
start from scratch. OSHA has removed some of these documents from their website which makes access
|TO:||U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON CONSTRUCTION SAFETY AND HEALTH|
|FROM:||STEW BURKHAMMER AND JIM LAPPING, CO-CHAIRMEN, FALL PROTECTION WORKGROUP|
|DATE:||SEPTEMBER 24, 1993|
|RE:||WORKGROUP PROPOSAL FOR FALL PROTECTION|
Attached is the workgroup proposal for Subpart R which we will discuss at the ACCSH meeting on September 30, 1993. Attached to the report are comments made by other members of the workgroup, industry representatives, and OSHA recommendations.
If you have any questions, please direct them Stew Burkhammer at (301) 417-3909 or Jim Lapping at (202) 347-1461. We look forward to seeing you at the September 30, 1993 meeting.
REPORT OF THE FALL PROTECTION WORKGROUP OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON CONSTRUCTION SAFETY AND HEALTH
On September 14, 1993, the Fall Protection Workgroup of the U. S. Department of Labor Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health met in an informal hearing to consider the fall protection issues that were referred to the full committee by Acting Assistant Secretary of OSHA, David Ziegler.
Members of the workgroup included Jim Lapping (Co-chairman), Building and Construction Trades Department; Mike O’Brien, National Association of Home Builders (for Kathryn Thompson); Ron Stanevich, NIOSH; Steve Cooper, International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers; Bob Krul, United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers; Eric Waterman, National Erectors’ Association; Pete Chaney, Associated General Contractors. Workgroup members not present were Stew Burkhammer (Co-chairman), Bechtel Corp.; Kathryn Thompson, Kathryn Thompson Development Co.; Paul King, Pizzagalli Construction Co.
The workgroup felt that any recommendations they make to the full committee should consider previous recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) to OSHA. The workgroup noted that ACCSH had considered certain aspects of fall protection in the steel erection industry at its April 1, 1987 meeting. During that meeting, ACCSH unanimously adopted the following recommendation for steel erection fall protection:
". . . that iron worker connectors in structural steel construction in the initial erection of the structural frame of a building be given relief from the tieing off requirements of Subpart R while walking from point A to point B when connecting."
The workgroup further noted that ACCSH , at its August 4, 1987 meeting, again considered certain aspects of fall protection in the steel erection industry and recommended:
". . . that certain exceptions be granted to connectors when doing connecting work and to any other steel erection employee when walking atop the frame from point to point where the potential fall distance is less than 30 feet."
The workgroup considered these 1987 and other recommendations, including the problems that have evolved as a result of various regions taking different positions concerning fall protection violations. All non-government segments of the industry present at the meeting uniformly renounced inconsistent enforcement policies among the various OSHA regions. They stated that this was making it extremely difficult, if not almost impossible, for contractors to comply with the standards since they are never really certain what they are. They noted that this is causing chaos throughout the industry.
After discussing the matter and reviewing the material available, the workgroup invited interested parties to present testimony prior to their formulating a recommendation. Various parties, representing trade associations, contractors and labor organizations, appeared and stated their position.
The industry presenters were Jim Cole, International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers; Chip Pocock, Williams Industries/Steel Erectors Association of America; Jim Larson, L.R. Wilson and Sons/Steel Erectors Association of America; Aronne Goldkette, Broad, Vogt and Conant; George Miller, Mason Contractors Association of America; Sid Freedman, Precast/ Prestressed Concrete Institute; Fred H. Codding, National Association of Reinforcing Steel Contractors; Robert Herm, Pitt-Des Moines Inc.; Frank Williams, Williams Steel; William Schuzman, Steel Erectors Association of New York City; John Barnhardt, United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers.
After carefully considering all of the information available to it as well as the positions presented during the hearing, the Workgroup found:
- Over the past several years, OSHA has attempted to revise most of the major fall protection standards for the construction industry. each of these standards has its own requirements for the heights at which fall protection is required.
- One of these standards, Subpart R - Steel Erection, has been the object of a tremendous amount of debate, confusion, court and OSHA Review Commission decisions as well as honest and sincere disagreement over conflicts between the standard and industry practice for over 20 years.
- The joint labor-managment safety and health committee of the Iron Workers International Union and four employer associations requested Negotiated Rulemaking to revise the Steel Erection Standard - Subpart R in 1989. Their request was initially rejected by the Acting Assistant Secretary for OSHA.
- After another request by labor and management, Negotiated Rulemaking was approved by the Secretary of Labor on July 8, 1992. However, OSHA has not implemented Negotiated Rulemaking in the last 14 months.
- Since then, steel erector contractors have complained that they are being inundated with fall protection citations and fines by several OSHA Regional Administrators and Area Directors.
- Many of these fines and citations are based on individual regional fall protection policies and programs implemented by the OSHA Regional Administrators as well as their individual interpretations of the OSHA standards.
- These actions have placed steel erectors in a difficult and confusing situation because of inconsistent enforcement policies from region to region.
The workgroup discussed at length the options open to it with respect to a recommendation for an interim policy concerning steel erection. The workgroup reviewed the positions and recommendations of those who had appeared at the informal hearing on September 14, 1993. It noted that the overwhelming recommendation of those who had testified from the industry was that the sub-committee's recommendation should be in accordance with the height limitations set forth in Subpart R; namely, the 25 and 30 foot height limitations.
After careful consideration, the workgroup, in order to
- Re-establish confidence in the OSHA system;
- Clarify the confusion that currently exists throughout the industry, and
- Be consistent with previous recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health on this subject,
recommends that the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health adopt the following recommendations of the Fall Protection Workgroup and recommend implementation of same on a policy basis to the Acting Assistant Secretary:
- Negotiated Rulemaking for Subpart R be initiated immediately.
- Nationwide uniformity and consistency in enforcement of fall protection standards.
- That no citation shall be issued in the steel erection industry under the OSHA Act or any portion thereof or any regulation or directive promulgated under the Act for connecting activities, decking activities and employees walking to and from work stations unless the employee is not protected from a fall that would exceed two stories or 25 feet to the exterior of the structure or from a fall that would exceed two stories or 30 feet whichever is less to the interior of the structure.
- The following are some of the normal recognized activities of employees for which citations should not be issued in
accordance with #3 above:
- Connectors either moving from place to place and/or connectors making the initial connection of structural steel columns, beams, braces, etc.
- Bolt up personnel moving from one location to another to install bolts/fasteners,
- Welders moving from one location to another to weld.
- Plumb crew moving from one location to another to align the steel members.
- Supervisors (foremen and pushers) moving from one location to another to supervise iron workers.
- Decking crew either moving from one location to another and/or unloading, placing, aligning and installing metal decking.
- Iron workers moving from one location to another to install perimeter safety cables.
- Raising gang members moving from one location to another to erect structural steel.
- Iron workers either moving from one location to another and/or spreading, laying or picking up and removing planking for temporary flooring
- Iron workers moving from one location to another to install and align grating, checker plate and other comparable flooring systems.
- Iron workers moving from one location to another to install perimeter angles in connection with decking and bridge work.
- Iron workers moving from one location to another to place, set and adjust sag rods or girts.
- Iron workers moving from one location to another to distribute and align bar joists.
- Iron workers moving from one location to another to install and weld bar joists and bridging.
- Iron workers moving from one location to another to install stairways.
- Iron workers moving from the top of a wall, shear wall or a column to another work area to install reinforcing steel.
- Iron workers in a detail gang moving from one location to another in connection with various operations involved in steel erection.
Respectfully submitted, Jim Lapping and Stew Burkhammer, Co-chairmen.
Comments made by other members of the workgroup, industry representatives, and OSHA recommendations.
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