Aurora OSHA Construction News
July 28, 1998 Vol.
2, Issue 2
- OSHA affirmed a Willful trenching
citation against Ganna Construction in the spring.
(OSHRC Docket No. 96-1686) The case originated out
of Calumet City office. The company had been cited
11 other times for violations of these same rules.
- OSHA affirmed a multi-employer citation
against Ragnar Benson. (OSHRC Docket No. 97-1676,
a Chicago North Area Office case) The issues were
floor hole covers not being secured and marked and
scaffolding fall protection. The Administrative Law
Judge quoted an earlier OSHRC decision in saying:
"The general contractor normally
has responsibility to assure that other contractors
fulfill their obligation with respect to employee safety
which affect the entire site. The general contractor
is well situated to obtain abatement of the hazards,
either through its own resources or through its supervisory
role with respect to other contractors. It is therefore
reasonable to expect the general contractor to assure
compliance with the standards insofar as all employees
on the site are affected. Thus we will hold the general
contractor responsible for violations it could reasonably
have been expected to prevent or abate by reason of
its supervisory capacity."
- Another consultant misrepresented
the facts at an informal conference recently. The
compliance officer immediately returned to the site
to check out the story, and the hazardous condition
was again verified. The company apologized and said
it was not their intention to pull that kind of stuff
because it made them look bad.
- We have noticed
ankle injuries to electricians trying to correct conduit
over bends. Companies should have procedures for their
employees to prevent further reoccurrence.
- In April, an ironworker
fell in Brookfield, WI while laying metal deck. He
suffered severe back injuries. Another ironworker
died in April in Milwaukee, after stepping on a loose
piece of steel and falling 21 feet.
- In February, near
Morris, a worker not tied off in an extensible boom
aerial lift fell 15 feet and suffered head and back
- April was a bad
month for workers on bridge jobs. In Rockford, a worker
fell when then subdecking fell due to a beam support
that was improperly removed. In North Aurora, a worker
fell into the Fox River when the subdecking collapsed
due to overloading of concrete debris.
- Inspection Etiquette I: In a recent
construction inspection, a foreman told derogatory
stories about a certain ethnic group in front in the
OSHA inspector. The inspector brought it up to the
company's vice-president, because OSHA found this
to be inappropriate conduct. Although this is not
technically an OSHA issue, it does reveal management
attitude toward their workers.
- Inspection Etiquette II: It's probably
not a good idea to verbally attract the attention
of the OSHA inspector going to his car when you are
not in compliance. A couple of employees joked about
the inspector's presence from the top of a roof. The
employees then argued about not needing a warning
line, which initiated the inspection. The company
was issued a citation for the lack of warning lines.
- One company was
saved a potential Willful citation by avoiding the
common mistaken thinking of "I'm already in trouble,
I will finish the job." They abated a flat roof fall
hazard by erecting a warning line and using a crane
for hoisting material on a roof. Unsafe conditions
must be fixed as soon as possible. The lack of planning
or inconvenience to abate a condition is no excuse
for letting workers continue to be exposed to serious
- In May, a widow
of a construction laborer received a $5 million out
of court settlement in the death of her husband. He
was electrocuted handling a load from a crane that
contacted power lines. The accident happened in 1994
in Sleepy Hollow, IL. The subcontractor was cited
and affirmed a Willful citation under 1926.550(a)(15)(i).
Per a Daily Herald report, the insurers for
the utility company, crane operator, construction
inspector, and the cited contractor will pay the damages
to the widow.
- In May at DeKalb,
a shingler fell 23 feet during tear off on the roof.
No fall protection was used. Another violation was
the lack of a chute when throwing debris over 20 feet
- In July, a trench
collapse was reported in Lombard. The trench was approximately
5 feet deep, 36 inches wide. The worker was buried
up to his waist and received a dislocated shoulder.
- In June, we settled a citation for
a regional store chain who subcontracted their own
construction work. The issue of multi-employer responsibility
was investigated and not found to apply in this case.
This company exercised no safety authority, had no
trade labor, never resolved safety disputes, and had
minimal presence on-site. The company accepted a citation
to develop an accident prevention program with hazard
recognition training for their superintendents who
were on-site only to check the progress and quality
of the job.
- We have seen a
problem with qualified electricians working on 110-480
volts without wearing protective gloves or using insulated
mats. 1926.416 and 417 require that protection be
used to avoid contact with live electrical parts.
The most common fatality is an electrician who contacts
live 277 volt flourescent lighting circuits while
changing a ballast. Trimming out a panel, replacing
fuses, wiring motor controllers, and testing live
electrical circuits with a multi-meter are other areas
that need protection.
- In July, the Justice
department indicted the foreman and superintendent
of a steel erection company for obstruction of justice
in an OSHA investigation. There was a fall fatality
that occurred the previous year in Ohio. Foreman,
Ronald Creighton of LeMaster Steel Erectors plead
guilty to one count of making a false statement. He
told OSHA that safety cables were in place during
roof decking operation when the worker fell to his
death. Mr. Creighton could face up to six months in
jail. The Cincinnati Enquirer has been providing reporting
of the case. "LeMaster could be fined $500,000 on
each of the four counts if convicted for a total of
- In 1997, Illinois
construction fatalities dropped from 38 in 1996 to
a low of 21. This is the second lowest year for Illinois
since 1980. Only 1991's 18 deaths was lower. In 1997,
OSHA conducted more construction inspections than
in each of the previous five years.
- Safety paid for
a company working off a swing stage scaffold in Oak
Brook. The scaffold motor failed leaving two employees
suspended by their safety harnesses in mid air. The
Oak Brook Fire Department had the workers down in
- We have included
our recent industrial hygiene sampling for construction.
Hopefully, we can build a data base of exposures in
three years. We are noticing noise problems in several
areas. Hearing loss is compensable by the Illinois
Industrial Commission. We are continuing our Lead
and Silica Emphasis Programs.
- Cover your floor openings! A Chicago
area safety consultant was conducting training at
a hotel and stepped into an inadequately protected
floor electrical box, falling and incurring multiple
fractures of the left wrist.
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The next issue should be out by Mid-November
Most Frequently Cited
Serious Construction Standard
No guardrails on scaffolds
Deficient accident prevention program
Deficient safety training
No fall protection over 6 feet
Unprotected rebar or using plastic caps
General duty clause
No baseplates and mudsill for scaffolds
No fall arrest worn in aerial lifts
No fall protection for flat roofing
Not fully decking scaffold levels
Comments about the most frequently cited
- Scaffold guardrails
- Most of the exposures have been at the 13-18 foot
height involving plasterers, masons, and carpenters.
- Accident prevention program
- Canned safety programs still are a source of problems.
One program contradicted itself with the forms that
were supposed to be completed for site inspections.
Another simply copied OSHA rules verbatim. Of course,
employees and foreman had no knowledge of the requirements
in the program.
- Safety training
- Hiring new employees and not giving them any basic
hazard recognition and avoidance orientation before
assigning work at heights has been the common problem
- Fall protection
- We have seen a resurgence of commercial buildings
of 2-3 stories where this is a problem.
- Rebar protection
- This seems to be a problem lately with sites run
by an out of state construction manager. This is a
common multi-employer citation where the construction
manager has contractual responsibility for overall
- General duty clause
- We have cited failing to lockout a pressurized pipe.
Another was not having adequate confined space signs
and procedures for a sludge pit under construction
at a sewage treatment plant. We have cited the current
ANSI B30.5 for crane deficiencies such as inadequate
support for crane outriggers.
- Putting a metal scaffold leg on a wooden mudsill
is not acceptable. Baseplates must be used. We have
seen scrap plywood used as mudsill and even legs with
nothing under them. More of the problems were noted
in the winter.
- Aerial lift fall
arrest - A common source of drive-by inspections.
Electrical contractors have been the most common trade
- Flat roof fall
protection - Lack of warning flags on the roof is
the source of the citations and inspections. Many
companies have the wrong impression that only a monitor
is required for a large roof.
- Scaffold decking - This is often found
with scaffolds missing guardrails. Access levels must
be fully planked.
Most Frequency Penalized
Serious Construction Standard
Inadequately braced masonry wall
Unsafe access to scaffold
Conductors subject to physical damage
No fall protection on open sides
No fall protection on flat roofs
No fall protection steep roof
General duty clause
No guardrails on scaffolds
Comments about the most penalized items
- Masonry wall bracing
- Walls 16-22 feet with no bracing accounted for most
of these citations. These were mainly 8 inch block
walls grouted every 36-42 inches and were reinforced
with #5 rebar. We are seeing the two 16 foot planks
method used unsuccessfully.
- Unsafe trench -
Most of the trenches are 100% off the required sloping
for the soil classification. We are seeing "8 hour
competent persons" supervise work in these trenches.
This is not acceptable. Many of these competent persons
are not testing the soil at all.
- Scaffold access
- Climbing "walk through" frames is the source of
many of these citations. The horizontal spacing is
22 inches or more.
- Conductors - We
have seen open conductors and nonmetallic cable (Romex)
run as wiring from electrical panel boxes to outlets
on construction sites. Those wiring methods must be
elevated 7 feet and protected from physical damage.
We are seeing these lying on the ground and run over.
- Fall protection
open sides - Areas where loading and unloading is
a problem most noted on a commercial site. The exposing
contractors must not let his employees be subject
to a fall off the open side.
- Fall protection
flat roofs - Most of these contractors have been inspected
by OSHA in the past. They often have the old roofing
rules in them, not the 1995 fall protection rules.
- Fall protection
steep roof - Most of these are two story houses under
construction with a 6:12 slope and a eave of 18 feet.
Slide guards can be used to comply with requirement.
- General duty clause
- see most cited items.
- Scaffold guardrails - see most cited
Frequency Cited Serious Construction Standards
No fall protection on walking/walking surfaces
No hard hats
No guardrails on scaffolds
Deficient employee training
Unsafe scaffold access
No certification for fall protection training
Scaffold not fully planked
Ladder not extending 3 feet above landing
No fall protection for flat roofs
SICs Involved in 1997 Illinois Construction
SIC Inspections Fatalities Description
1521 25 0 General Contractors - Single
1522 63 0 General Contractors - Other Residential Building
1531 0 0 Operative Builders
1541 47 0 General Contractors - Industrial Buildings
1542 263 2 General Contractors - Commercial Buildings
1611 14 1 Highway Contractors
1622 29 1 Bridge Construction Contractors
1623 75 0 Water, Sewer, Underground Construction
1629 27 0 Other Heavy Construction
1711 81 2 Mechanical Contractors
1721 48 1 Painting Contractors
1731 50 1 Electrical Contractors
1741 223 1 Mason Contractors
1742 86 0 Plastering Contractors
1743 1 0 Terrazzo Contractors
1751 82 1 Carpentry Contractors
1761 164 5 Roofing and Siding Contractors
1771 36 1 Concrete Contractors
1781 1 0 Water well Drilling Contractors
1791 62 1 Steel Erectors
1793 27 0 Glazing Contractors
1794 27 0 Site Clearing - Grading Contractors
1795 23 2 Demolition Contractors
1796 10 0 Elevator Contractors
1799 55 2 Special Trade Contractor
1997 Illinois Construction Accident Causes
roof openings 3
water tower 1
residential floor opening 1
I-beam (steel erection) 1
Ladder jack scaffold 1
Metal folding ladder collapse 1
hit by vehicle traffic 1
construction trailer overturned 1
generator when sling broke 1
masonry wall collapse 1
falling piece of concrete 1
falling I-beam off a front end loader bucket 1
struck in chest by a back hoe 1
metal gutter hit power line 2
highway equipment hit power line 1
metal ladder hit power line 1
electrocuted by metal ladder energized by a trouble
contacted live wires in a basement crawl space 1
Confined Space 0
Residential Construction Roofing/Shingling
These are common programs that an OSHA
inspector may look at during a FALL LEP inspection.
Common hazards normally found are also listed.
Programs to be reviewed:
1. General safety and health rules
2. Fall protection plan
3. Inspection program and records
4. Training program & records
5. Disciplinary action procedure & records
1. Fall protection on the roof - Are
slide guards used? Are there any roof openings?
2. Scaffolding - pump jack, ladder jack,
tubular welded frame scaffolds may be used to lay starter
row of shingles. Is proper fall arrest or guardrails
3. Ladders/stairs/windows - Where is access
to roof? Is ladder secured, 3 foot above roof eave?
4. Electrical - Are tools grounded? Are
GFCIs used? Are power lines nearby?
5. PPE - Are hard hats worn on the ground?
Is fall arrest worn without knot?
6. Material handling - What is the method
to get shingles up on roof?
7. Hand & power tools - Is there
a safety device on the nailers?
8. Insufficient anchorages - are four
nails holding fall arrest bracket?
9. Insufficient employee training - When
was training last conducted? What was covered? Have
the fall protection requirements been covered? Is the
certification of training available?
10. Is a chute needed for debris?
11. Housekeeping - Are there boards with
nails on the ground?
Some Training Observations in 1998
Employee training is required under several
standards. We have seen several trainers this year and
some could use polishing in their delivery. These are
some of the common problems noted during the last few
Trainers Don't Say
- "I'm going to wing it" (Kiss
of death for a trainer, shows unpreparedness)
- "Yada, yada, yada" repeatedly
(Once is funny, multiple is a bad Seinfeld episode.
Is the trainer fumbling or bored?)
- "Blah, blah, blah" repeatedly.
- "We wanted this training to
be informal, but the room is too big" (Already
the training expectations are lowered)
- "The room setup doesn't lend
itself to training" (So why are we here?)
- "I don't know how to turn on
the overhead projector" (The trainer should have
Visual Aid Problems
- Students cannot read overheads due
to distance, size of type, or lighting. (Size
of type is remedied by using larger type. Lighting
can be overcome by giving student a copy of the overheads.
Distance can sometimes be solved with larger type
and giving copies of the overheads.)
Attendees/student usually want a copy
of the trainers overhead. (Some trainers flip through
overheads so quickly that students cannot write notes
on this important subject)
Not enough copies of handouts (Sometimes
this is not the trainers fault, but planning for 10%
extra is normal)
Not supplying paper if you expect students
to take notes.
Breaks should be
approximately every 60-90 minutes for adults. (60
minutes is recommended after morning coffee and after
lunch. Tell students the break schedule so they don't
start walking out to go to the bathroom)
- Ask for input at the start of the
presentation, but then tell class to wait to the
end of the 90 minute presentation for questions.
(This is mixed signals, unless the class is
over 50 people, questions during the presentation
- Could your audience pass a quiz
on your subject at the conclusion of your presentation?
Competent Person - Excavation Quiz
Since we have seen the "competent person"
get hurt in excavation cave-ins, this quiz may help
your company evaluate the proficiency of the designated
- Are all trenches excavations?
- An excavation does not become a
trench if its bottom width exceeds _____ .
- Safe means of egress must be provided
in trenches that are ____ feet or more in depth.
- A trench that is 100 feet long needs
_____ means of egress if workers are located every
10 feet in the trench.
- Name at least two acceptable means
of egress for a trench.
- What is the slope for Class "D"
- What is the slope for Class "A"
- Which has the smaller particle diameter?
Sand, silt, or clay.
- Type "C" soil usually will not contain
a large amount of? Sand, silt, or clay.
- A cubic foot of dirt weighs approximately
- A competent person must conduct
_____ manual tests and _____ visual test before
employees are allowed in an excavation?
- Name at least two manual soil tests.
- Which manual test determines the
% of sand in a soil?
- Ladders used for access into a trench
must extend ____ feet above the grade.
- Name at least two pieces of construction
equipment that can create a superimposed load when
working adjacent to an excavation?
- An excavator can approach a 7,200
volt line within ____ feet.
- Name at least three confined space
hazards that could occur in an excavation.
- At what depth must a professional
engineer determine a sloping/shoring/protective
- A gasoline boring machine in an
excavation emits what toxic gas?
- What is the lowest acceptable %
of oxygen allowed in a trench?
- At what height is fall protection
required for vertical excavation such as shafts?
- An excavation in a cornfield can
pose what toxic gas hazard?
- A trench box can be _____ feet above
the bottom of an excavation.
- The swing radius of an excavator
can be protected by _________.
- Tabulated data for an engineered
trench box must be kept by the company at _______.
- A contractor makes end cave-in protection
out ½ inch steel plate to attach to an Efficiency
trench box. What documents are required?
- A trench is 8 feet deep, 20 feet
long, 10 feet wide in Type A soil. What size of
wood shoring is acceptable for the whalers, cross
brace and uprights? Use Douglas fir guidelines.
- A trench 7 feet deep, Type B soil,
4 feet wide, 30 feet long, needs vertical aluminum
shores with a maximum horizontal spacing of _____
- Refresher training in excavation
must be every _____ years.
- Name five underground installations
that may be encountered in the area of an excavation.
- Name at least two surface encumbrances
that may be hazardous to employees in a trench.
- What is the purpose of a stop log
for a front end loader dumping gravel in a trench?
- Soil which has water freely seeping
is Type ____.
- Can manual testing be foregone if
the soil is presumed to be Type C?
- Who must approve a shoring system
where the excavation is below the foundation of
an existing building?
- Describe a scenario where a protective
system would be required for a 4 foot deep trench.
- Previously disturbed soil is classified
as either Type ___ or ___.
- 15 feet. See trench definition in
- 4 feet. See 651(c)(2).
- 2. Put at the 25 foot and 75 foot
- Ramp, ladder, or stairway. See 651
- There is no such slope. (Two "competent
persons" have said this in the past year though)
- 3/4 to 1. One exception for short
term, less than eight feet deep at ½ to 1.
- Clay will pass through a #200 sieve,
others will not.
- Clay is cohesive and generally Type
C will not contain a large amount of clay.
- 100-150 lbs. Many use 114 pounds
as an average.
- 1, 1. See Appendix A, paragraph
- Plasticity, Dry Strength, Thumb
Penetration, Drying test, Penetrometer. Appendix
A, paragraph D.
- There is a sedimentation test involving
water, but this not listed in the Appendix.
- Three. 1053(b)(1).
- Excavator, Dump truck, etc...
- 10 feet. 600 (a)(6)
- 1a) Soil has high organic content
(Use USDA soil survey criteria of more than 4% organic
content by volume). Decomposing soil of this type
can generate high levels of carbon dioxide; 1b)
Soil has methane pockets (Hydrogen Sulfide in certain
locales); 2a) Area is in a high traffic area.. Carbon
Dioxide is heavier than air and could settle in
the low areas. Carbon Monoxide, although not heavier
than air, is a toxic byproduct of combustion engines.;
2b) Use of diesel/gasoline equipment in the space.
OSHA has seen boring machine emit 300 ppm of carbon
monoxide in an excavation. 3) Use of chemicals in
the space. Solvents from waterproofing compounds/pipe
sealers have been past causes of fatalities. 4a)
Adjacent to gas main or a landfill. Gases from both
are hazardous. 4b) Connecting to or next to a live
sewer main. Gases can travel down or upstream of
the confine space. 5) Space has left been alone
for a long period of time. Anything from underground
gases, chemical off-gassing, and oxygen depletion
through oxidation can occur in the confined space.
- 20 feet. Table B-1, note #3.
- Carbon monoxide.
- 19.5%. 1926.651 (g)(1)(ii)
- 6 feet. 1926.501 (b)(7)
- Organic soil has decomposed creating
carbon dioxide. OSHA investigated a fatality where
carbon dioxide displaced the oxygen in a 20 foot
deep excavation. The workers entering the excavation
died of asphyxia.
- 2 feet. 1926.652 (g)(2)
- Barricading or flagging the area.
Citations under the general duty clause are possible
if counterweight can crush an employee.
- Their location. It must be available
to OSHA. 1926.652(c)(2)(iii)
- Documents must follow section 1926.652
(c)(3) which requires a professional engineer's
- Table C-2.1 is chosen. 4x4 cross
braces can be with a horizontal spacing of up to
6 feet and a vertical spacing of 4 feet. Wales would
not be required. 4x6 uprights must be used with
a maximum horizontal spacing of 6 feet.
- Table D - 1.2 is used. Per the table,
shores would be spaced every 8 feet.
- No requirement for refresher training.
Many companies in Illinois are doing it every two
- Telephone cables, gas lines, water
pipe, sewer lines, and electrical lines to name
- Trees, rocks, stored pipe, utility
poles, storage tanks, etc.
- So that the front end loader does
not drive into the trench or approach so close as
to create a superimposed load on the bank and collapse
- C. Appendix A - Type C Definition
- Yes. There is no worse soil than
C. Visual examination would have still have to be
- A registered professional engineer.
- We have seen employees lying on
their side to weld in a vertical trench. This is
- Type B or C. Appendix B definition,
section (iii). It would need to meet one of the
five definitions in Type C to be classified lower
than Type B.
Recent Industrial Hygiene Sampling
in Construction by the Aurora office
Minutes % Si Exposure PEL Process
Sampled mg/M3 mg/M3
3/26 75 0 0.12 5 Wet cutting of bricks
3/30 197 4.2 0.45 1.61 Handsaw - hose wetting down
blade 3/30 402 3.0 .502 2.0 Vehicle jackhammer Wet
- hose -Inside
3/30 363 7.5 .267 1.05 Shoveling - near jackhammer
inside 4/14 270 8.4 .40 .98 Jack hammering - outside
4/14 406 7.4 1.04 1.06 Jack hammering - outside The
wet process is effective is reducing silica levels
as shown in the first three processes.
Date Minutes Exposure Potential Process
Sampled µg/M3 TWA µg/m3 for 8hr 4/14 176
6970µg/m3 19,000µg/m3 Abrasive blasting
8% lead paint 4/14 207 990 µg/m3 2300 µg/m3
Abrasive blasting 8% lead paint The OSHA Permissible
Exposure Limit for lead is 50 µg/m3 average for
an 8 hour day.
Date Minutes Exposure Process Sampled
Dose % 3/30 315 43.2 (87dbA) hand saw cutting 3/30
186 158 (100.9) Walking saw 3/30 401 129 (93) DH-500
vehicle -jackhammer 3/30 377 105 (92) Employee in
area of jackhammer 4/14 350 503 (102) Jackhammer/cutting
4/14 403 670 (103) Jack hammering 4/14 388 504 (102)
Concrete cutting operation 6/2 340 136.8 (92.3) Jack
Hammer Operator 6/2 340 62 (86.5) Jack hammer operator
6/4 115 216 (95.6) Abrasive blasting Operator 6/4
115 202 (95.1) Abrasive blasting helper 6/13 45 27.2
(82.5) Slab cutting - wet 6/24 147 17.1 (77.1) Block
cutting wet 6/24 129 17.4 (77) Brick cutter helper
A dose of more than 100% is above the OSHA occupational
noise exposure limit.