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Aurora OSHA Construction News

May 14, 1997

1) Alexis Herman was sworn in on May 1, 1997 as the new Secretary of Labor. She will have the task of selecting the new head of OSHA. Ms. Herman was in charge of the Labor Department's Women's Bureau during the Carter administration.

2) Masonry Silica News: On a recent inspection, we were impressed that G. Porter Masonry had conducted silica dust air sampling. Porter had conducted air sampling for silica for portable saw cutting (sample results were not yet available). Contractors who take action to evaluate and control silica dust hazards will be given more favorable treatment by OSHA. Under the silicosis directive, a contractor who has an effective and ongoing silicosis prevention program will receive a focused inspection.

In a second masonry contractor inspection, silica dust air sampling showed that a mason cutting blocks dry was 22 times over the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL). Since a half mask respirator is only approved for up to 10 times the PEL, a full face respirator will be required at this operation until the dust is controlled. This site was outside with the wind at the block cutter's back. A full written respiratory program, respirator fit testing, dust control, and other measures will be required of this contractor.

We are stressing the use of WATER whenever possible. Wet cutting should keep respirable dust levels very low. Dust control through wetting will save you a lot of resources and money since you won't have to do things such as respirator fit testing. It will also save you from having to deal with getting employees to be clean shaven for good respirator fit.

3) Highway Silica: The Aurora Office has conducted two highway inspections for silica dust in the last four weeks. Both sets of silica sample results are pending. One contractor was over exposed for the allowable noise level for jack hammering. The process was only 5-10 minutes an hour for about six hours.

4) OSHA just won a major review commission decision on multi-employer citation policy for construction. The case was CH2M Hill out of Milwaukee. The commission ruled that construction standards are applicable to a construction manager with no trade employees on site. This is because the company was involved in scheduling work, coordinating construction activity, and preparing contracts, including negotiating with trade contractors. The Aurora office recently settled a $100,000+ citation with affirmation of 15 out of 16 multi-employer citations to a residential construction manager with no trade employees on site.

5) We had a trench collapse in McHenry County last month. The worker was in a nine-foot deep trench without protection. Quick action of the Crystal Lake Fire Department helped rescue the worker from potential crippling injury.

6) Our office investigated three wall collapses in April. No one was hurt, but wall bracing is continually a problem. Two contractors have had success in our area using metal braces. These metal braces were either rented or owned.

7) Aerial lift tip overs are becoming more prevalent. OSHA investigated a fatality in August 1996 where the lift tipped over due to the outriggers sinking in the mud. We are requiring that the general contractors put a stable surface for the lift subcontractors to enable them to perform their work. We would use section 5(a)(1) general duty clause for any potential citation. Several contractors have provided a stable surface voluntarily, and it just makes sense since a stable surface will eventually be needed at the site for concrete pours.

8) Our office wishes to congratulate Olsson Roofing Co., Inc. of Aurora. They are the only Illinois company to gain Premier Roofing Status Level III. This means that their names will be removed from all programmed construction inspections in the Federal enforcement offices.

9) Illinois had 38 construction fatalities in 1996. This was the third worst year in the last ten. The Aurora office had five construction deaths with 60% of them from steel erectors.

10) Scaffold training has been weak for many companies since the new standard took effect in Dec. 1996. The attached quiz and a summary of cited standards should help.

11) There is a March 20, 1997 regional memo on steel erection clarifying that metal decking is covered under steel erection, but cutting skylight openings and HVAC opening are not. Employers cutting openings are to comply with Subpart M. Call Dr. Yen at 312-886-3078 for any clarifications.

12) Construction illness and injury incident rate for 1995 was below that of manufacturing for the second year in a row. The average incident rate is 10.6, which is down four years in a row from 1992's high of 13.1. This rate is for every 100 full-time workers. The average lost work day injury rate is 4.9 per 100 full-time workers.

13) Ladder way openings need to be protected for access to the roof. Two fatalities in Chicago North territory have illustrated the serious issue. The ironworkers, sheet metal deckers, and roofers are the trades most exposed to this.

14) Carpenters must use a slide guard or fall arrest when sheathing a roof. Working on a 6:12 roof without this has resulted in citations.

If you would like to receive this newsletter via E-mail. Contact charlie.shields@aurora.osha.gov. Due to the costs, this cannot be mailed to individual companies.

Comments on the newsletter should addressed to John Newquist, OSHA 344 Smoke Tree, North Aurora, IL 60542 or call (630) 896-8700.
Most Frequency Cited Construction Standard

Aurora Area Office

10/01/96 - 04/30/97




Deficient accident prevention program



Deficient safety training



No guardrails on scaffolds



Unsafe trench



Inadequately bracing masonry walls



No competent person



No competent person for trenching



Inadequate cross bracing of a scaffold



General Duty Clause



No hard hats

John Newquist: Safety Specialist - Aurora OSHA Office (630) 896-8700

Comments about most frequently cited items.

1) One problem that is occurring is the program fails to account for previous accidents. After any accident or near miss, a construction company should review their safety program to see if their program has a written rule to prevent further occurrence. One contractor hit a power line with their equipment last summer. Upon reinspection in April, no rules existed even though their equipment was again close to power lines.

2) Many site superintendents have safety responsibility, but no training in fundamental safety for construction sites. Basic hazard recognition for electrical, trenching, and fall protection must be covered as well as site specific issues that may arise. The OSHA 10 hour course is a starting point for supervisors, but the OSHA 30 hour is recommended if they have site safety duties.

3) A Morgen scaffold and welded frame scaffolds are the majority of the scaffolds cited for guardrail deficiencies. Masons, plasterers, and carpenters are trades found most in violation. Most companies found are missing 50% of the required rails. Almost all did not guard the ends of the scaffold.

4) Digging seven feet deep with vertical walls is the common theme for contractors cited. Some of these companies had the equipment to protect against cave-ins, but the "competent person" did not know how to use the aluminum shoring or where to place the ladder so an employee is not exposed getting into the box.

5) Masonry Magazine has had several articles on this issue. We saw two sites using two different metal bracing systems and the walls withstood a 50-mph wind. Three wall collapses in our territory in April made this one of the worst months ever. A single wood plank with a diagonal brace is not acceptable.

6) Competent person is being cited frequently where unsafe equipment is plainly visible and the company management allows it to be used with a serious defect. This is cited quite frequently for not having a competent person to determine unsafe conditions in manholes or trenches connecting into live sewer mains.

7) A competent person in trenching must know the difference between A, B, C, soil type and able to conduct the visible and manual examinations. We have seen a foreman take an 8-hour competent person course in trenching and excavation and not remember these fundamentals.

8) A problem with interior cross bracing for plastering contractor and masons who put a load between two scaffold towers.

9) Cited for defective aerial lifts under ANSI A92.5 & A92.6, unsafe cranes under ANSI B30.5, and misuse of rough terrain forklifts under ANSI B56.6.

10) These are people near scaffolds or trenching operations in particular.
Most Penalized Construction Standard

Aurora Area Office - Second Half of FY95




Inadequately bracing scaffolds




No fall protection on flat roofs




No guardrails on scaffolds




Inadequate wall bracing




Unsafe access to scaffold




Unsafe trench




Unprotected rebar




No pins in scaffolds to prevent uplift




No gfci protection




Inadequate safety training

Minimum of three citations were issued. Penalties reflect size, good faith, and history discounts.

Comments about the high penalty items.

1) A plastering contractor's biggest problem. The use of a horizontal clamp on braces is an easy solution.

2) Many of the flat roofers have had problems lately. These are mainly the re-roofers on existing commercial buildings. No flags are most common cause for the inspection being initiated in the first place.

3) Probably the most cited willful of late. Some companies have had long OSHA history and are repeat offenders of this standard.

4) Usually where the guardrails are deficient, the wall bracing is bad. Our office has brought Dr. Yen from the region to give us assistance in the complex cases. This is becoming a very common multi-employer citation to the general contractor or construction manager.

5) This is a problem for walk-through frame scaffolds. Company does not prohibit climbing the frames to prevent falls.

6) We have inspected many contractors for the first time violating this standard. Most have been in business several years without any OSHA inspection. Worst was a willful multi-employer citation where the CM did not have anyone exposed, but was told the trench was bad and unsafe.

7) Manufacturers are on record saying they will not prevent impalement. There are metal-lined caps and troughs available. Many contractors have gone back to the old method of using wood. Plastic caps are not acceptable.

8) We inspected one scaffold collapse in Oak Brook in March due to wind. Pins are required when in windy condition, using forklifts to load material, and using hoists.

9) Residential construction sites account for most of these inspections. Several citations have been issued to electrical contractors, general contractors and construction managers.

10) see most frequently cited.

Most Frequently Cited Scaffold Standards

1/97 - 4/97

Rank Nationally Midwest Illinois
1 451 (g)(1)


451 (g)(1) 451 (g)(1)
2 451 (e)(1)


454 (a) 451 (e)(1)
3 451 (b)(1)

Fully Planked

451 (e)(1) 454 (a)
4 454 (a)

Employee Training

451 (f)(7) 451 (f)(7)
5 451 (g)(4)(I)

Rails installed before use

451 (b)(1) 451 (b)(1)
6 451 (f)(7)

Competent Person

454 (b) 451 (c)(2)
7 454 (b)

Erector Training

453 (b)(2)(v) 451 (g)(1)(I)

Ladder jack - no fall arrest

8 451 (c)(2)

No 20 foot tie-ins

451 (g)(4)(I) 451 (b)(1)(I)

More than 1 inch space between planks

9 453 (b)(2)(v)

No fall arrest in aerial lift

451 (c)(2)

No base plates

452 (c)(2)
10 451 (g)(1)(vii)

No guardrails - other scaffolds

452 (c)(2)

Inadequate bracing

451 (c)(2)(ii)

Unstable objects
used for footing

Comments about most cited standards

451(b)(1) - Full planking is required on scaffolds one frame high. We have seen problems with using outriggers and not planking section behind them. Also, there is a problem not full planking access levels.

451(b)(1)(I) - This is cited for having space between planks more than 1 inch. This is a falling object issue. Planks should be 1 inch to frame upright unless employers demonstrated infeasibleness per 451 (c)(2)(ii), then allowed 9.5 inches.

451(c)(1) - Five feet wide scaffold frames must be secured if more than 20 feet high.

451(c)(2) - January 1997 change requires base plate always. Scaffolds cannot have a leg on concrete without a baseplate.

451(c)(2)(ii) - This is cited for using brick, block under a scaffold frame leg.

451(e)(1) - Safe access is required for one frame high scaffold.

451(f)(7) - Competent Person must supervise the scaffold erection.

451(g)(1) - Most common scaffolds cited is the welded frame. The trades found most in violation are the plasterers and masons.

451(g)(1)(i) - Since residential construction is under the Fall Local Emphasis Program. The most common scaffold in violation at these sites is a Ladder jack. This standard requires fall arrest.

451(g)(1)(vii) - This is cited sometimes instead of the general provisions in 451(g)(1). Some offices are using this for pump jacks, wood pole, system scaffolds. In Illinois, offices usually cite the general standard.

451(g)(4)(I) - This standard is similar to 451(g)(1), but requires guardrails to be installed by the erector before the scaffold is turned over to the user.

452(c)(2) - This is cited for missing several braces on a welded frame scaffold. Several manufacturers have flexible bracing diagrams. The competent person in charge of erecting the scaffold is responsible for knowing what bracing can be removed safely.

453(b)(2)(v) - This is cited for extensible boom aerial lifts when the user is not wearing fall protection.

454(a) - This is cited for the user or worker on the scaffold.

454(b) - This is cited for the erector of the scaffold.

Welded Frame Scaffold Erector Quiz


1) The frame scaffold must be capable of supporting _______ times the maximum intended load.

2) The space between the scaffold planks must be no more than ____ inches.

3) The maximum distance permitted between a plank and a frame upright is _____ inches.

4) Platforms used on outriggers brackets attached to frame scaffolds must be at least _____ inches wide.

5) The maximum intended load for a mason frame scaffold is _____ lbs.

6) Plasterer operation can have the scaffold _____ inches from the building frame.

7) Mason operations must have the scaffold no more than ______ inches from the wall to the scaffold.

8) An uncleated scaffold plank must extend over the end support a minimum of ____ inches.

9) Using a horizontal frame separation distance of 7 feet. The maximum plank extension over the end support shall be no more than _____ inches if guardrails are not used to block access to the area.

10) On a 10-section wide frame scaffold, the overlap for each plank on top of each other must be _____ inches.

11) A scaffold five feet wide, 35 feet in length, 30 feet high with frame spacing of 7 feet must have horizontal securement every ____ foot and a vertical tie-in every ____ feet.

12) A frame scaffold, three sections high, using a cantilevered outrigger platform shall use ______ to prevent tipping.

13) Scaffold legs must bear on ________ and this shall rest on either firm foundation or mudsills.

14) Scaffold platforms above ____ feet must be provided with safe access.

15) When hook-on ladders are used, they must be provided with a rest platform every ____ feet.

16) Integral prefabricated scaffold access frames must have a rung length of at least ___ inches.

17) Integral prefabricated scaffold access frames must have a vertical rung spacing no more than ___ inches.

18) Scaffolds shall be erected under the supervision of a ______ person.

19) The scaffold distance between an insulated 220 volt lines must be at least ____ feet.

20) When moving a frame scaffold under a 7200-volt line the separation must be at least ___ feet.

21) Work shall be prohibited during high winds. What MPH is high winds?

22) Scaffold platforms shall not deflect ______ of the span when fully loaded.

23) Guardrails are required on welded frame scaffolds at _____ feet.

24) The height of the top rail shall be from _____ inches to a maximum of ______ inches.

25) Top rail strength must be at least ______ pounds for welded frame scaffolds.

26) Midrails strength on welded frame scaffolds must be _____ pounds.

27) Cross bracing is acceptable in place of a Midrails when the "x" is between ______ inches and ______ inches above the work surface.

28) Cross bracing is acceptable in place of a top rail when the "x" is between ______ inches and ______ inches above the work surface.

29) A scaffold five sections long, four sections high needs how many interior cross braces to maintain structural stability?

30) The purpose of using pins to lock the scaffold vertically together is to prevent ______. Name a scenario when this could occur.

31) What is the maximum intended load of a 10-inch wide, 2 inch nominal thickness wood scaffold plank platform? The scaffold has frames 7 feet apart horizontally.


1) 4 451(a)(1)

2) 1 451(b)(1)(I)

3) 9.5 451(b)(1)(ii)

4) 18 451(b)(2)

5) This depends on the manufacturer, some can allow 2500 lbs. for each frame up to three frames. Most planks cannot approach half this weight limitation. There is no OSHA standard for frame loading capacity other than being able to hold 4 times the intended load.

6) 18 451(b)(3)(ii)

7) 14 451(b)(3)(I)

8) 6 451(b)(4)

9) 12 451(b)(5)(I)

10) 12 451(b)(7)

11) 20, 20 451(c)(1)(ii)

12) Use Ties, guys, braces, outriggers or scaffold manufacturer's stabilizer legs or equivalent. 451(c)(2)(iii)

13) Base plates 451(c)(2)

14) 1 section high 451(e)(1)

15) 35 451(e)(2)(iii

16) 8 451(e)(6)(ii)

17) 16 3/4 451(e)(6)(vi)

18) competent 451(f)(7)

19) 3 451(f)(6)

20) 10 451(f)(6)

21) 30 This is not in the standard. National weather service classifies high winds as 30 MPH gust or more.

22) 1/60 451(f)(16)

23) 10 451(g)(1)

24) 36, 45 451(g)(4)(ii)

25) 200 451(g)(4)(vii)

26) 150 451(g)(4)(ix)

27) 20, 30 451(g)(4)(xv)

28) 38, 48 451(g)(4)(xv)

29) This depends on the manufacturer's bracing diagrams. Some may permit 50% removal of interior braces, but all will require bracing of the end tower sections. This is the area where many competent persons mess up. They do not know what is allowed by the manufacturer. 452(c)(2).

30) Uplift This can occur with a rough terrain forklift grabbing scaffold. Wind can cause it. Also, climbing a scaffold, and the use of a hoist can cause it to lift up. 452(c)(3)

31) 175 pounds Approx. (0.83 foot wide) x (7 feet long) x 25 lbs/sqft = 145 lbs. This is found in appendix A.

SICs Involved in 1996 Illinois Construction Fatalities

Number of

SIC Inspections Fatalities Description of SIC

1521 26 2 General Contractors - Single Family Homes
1522 39 1 General Contractors - Other Residential Building
1531 7 0 Operative Builders
1541 65 0 General Contractors - Industrial Buildings
1542 239 4 General Contractors - Commercial Buildings
1611 21 3 Highway Contractors
1622 26 1 Bridge Construction Contractors
1623 59 1 Water, Sewer, Underground Construction
1629 30 1 Other Heavy Construction
1711 42 1 Mechanical Contractors
1721 19 2 Painting Contractors
1731 31 3 Electrical Contractors
1741 101 1 Mason Contractors
1742 51 0 Plastering Contractors
1743 3 0 Terrazzo Contractors
1751 30 1 Carpentry Contractors
1761 114 5 Roofing and Siding Contractors
1771 11 1 Concrete Contractors
1791 32 4 Steel Erectors
1793 9 0 Glazing Contractors
1794 29 0 Site Clearing - Grading Contractors
1795 13 1 Demolition Contractors
1796 7 1 Elevator Contractors
1799 26 2 Special Trade Contractors

1996 Illinois Construction Accident Causes

Falls 14
metal decking 3
sloped roofs 2
roof openings 2
fell from tree 1
step ladder 1
unknown ladder 1
frame scaffold 1
baker scaffold 1
two point suspended scaffold 1
I-beam (connector) 1

Struck by 13
run over by truck in forward direction 1
run over by asphalt grinder in forward direction 1
run over by water truck in reverse 1
hit by vehicle traffic 1
tractor overturned 1
grave digging equipment overturned 1
crane boom dismantlement 1
grinding wheel expoded 1
aerial lift pinned employee in basket 1
hit by lift assembly cylinder on front end loader bucket 1
struck by material falling off pallet being lifted 1
collapsing roof during demolition 1
floor collapse during equipment move, pinned by equipment 1

Electrocutions 5
crane hit power line 1
concrete pumper hit power line 1
employee hit power line 1
electrocuted by ungrounded elevator 1
chipping hammer hit live electrical in home 1

Confined Space 3
confined space sewer manhole 2
tank confined space 1

Burns 2

electric burns from 480 panel arc 1
gasoline used to clean tile glue ignited 1



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