Welcome to Osh.netGateway for Safety & Health Information Resources
Sign up for your online newsletter
Powered by WorkCare
About UsLink DirectoryArticlesResource CenterBulletin Board
HomeSite Index
Industrial Hygiene
Emergency Management
Enviromental Management
Occupational Health
Government Agencies and Regulations
Internet EHS Sites
Professional Development
Safety Humor Site
Drug And Alcohol Testing

Aurora OSHA Construction News

August 14, 1997 Vol. 1, Issue 3

1) OSHA is on its way toward meeting its goal of 31,000 inspections nationwide. Next year, federal OSHA is projecting about 10% more inspections (newly hired staff are coming on-line), of which about half will be in construction. For Illinois, this means about 1200 construction inspections for the state in FY-98.

2) Power line accidents have been prevalent in the last few months. Our office had a fatality on Rt.. 64 when construction equipment hit overhead lines. In Champaign, two died when the metal gutter they were installing hit a power line at a residential site.

3) Nationally, 1996 was the worst year for ironworker fatalities since 1987. Last year, 49 ironworkers died. This is huge jump from 1995's 35 deaths. In 1987, there were 53 deaths. A summary of 1996 steel erection fatalities is enclosed.

4) Overall in 1996, construction fatalities went down to 569 from 629 in 1995. Illinois increased from 32 to 38 in the same period.

5) There has been no announcement on the new Assistant Secretary for OSHA. In a meeting in Chicago in late July, new Labor Secretary Alexis Herman stated that one candidate is undergoing background checks. Barring trouble, we should have a new boss soon.

6) The issue of fall protection for the scaffold erector is coming close to the scaffold standard's 9/2/97 deadline. We believe that an extension of the deadline is probable.

7) The proposed rule for steel erection standard is in OSHA hands for publishing in the Federal Register. A consensus proposal was signed by the Steel Erection Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee in July.

8) According to the Archives of Internal Medicine published by the American Medical Association, 6,529 job related deaths in 1992 were injury-related. Illnesses were related to 60,300 deaths. 40 percent were transportation accidents, 20 percent were caused by violence or assault, and 10 percent were from falls. The 1992 cost to the American economy was $170 billion. This includes the fixed costs of worker's compensation, medical expenses, and the cost of work disruption and hiring replacement workers. It did not include pain and suffering, home care, or other expenses. They conclude that costs of occupational injuries and illnesses have been vastly underestimated heretofore.

9) An interpretation on fall protection when working off ladders was issued 6/3/97. It states that Subpart M does not apply to stepladders covered by Subpart X.

10) OSHA lost the Arcadian chemical plant case at the Review Commission. They ruled that OSHA cannot cite egregious under Section 5(a)(1) of the Act.

11) OSHA and the Justice Department obtained a 7/31/97 guilty verdict for the Pittsburgh Des Moines criminal trial. OSHA and the Justice Department worked on the recently concluded jury trial concerning the 1993 collapse at the Chicago post office steel erection site.

12) Our office investigated two residential wall collapses. One was due to inadequate erection procedures and inadequate wall stops. The other was inadequate bracing of the non-masonry fire wall against winds. Both cases were cited under the general duty clause, Section 5(a)(1).

13) In June 1997, OSHA made the Establishment Search option available to the public. You can now search any company's prior OSHA history on the OSHA Home Page, www.osha.gov. Click on Statistics and Data, then on Establishment Search. Fill in the company name, date and location ranges,and click on Submit. The Aurora OSHA routinely checks company citation history on each inspection. We suggest that you check your history, too.

14) Don't forget the ASSE/OSHA Professional Development Conference is 9/8-10/97 in Rosemont, IL. Construction issues to be covered include silica, lead, and fall protection, as well as full day courses on scaffolds and trenching. Call us for a seminar brochure, 630-896-8700.

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 Business Park, North Aurora, IL 60542 or call (630) 896-8700.
Most Frequency Cited Construction Standard

Aurora Area Office

1/1/97 - 08/01/97




Deficient accident prevention program



No guardrails on scaffolds



Deficient safety training



Unsafe access to scaffolds



Inadequately bracing masonry walls



Unsafe trench



No scaffold training



No hard hats



Unprotected reinforcing steel



No competent person

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

Comments about most frequently cited items.

1) Accident Prevention Programs - Several canned programs were reviewed this period. These program are not acceptable because they often fail to prevent past accident or problems that have occurred for the construction company. If a company had a fall off of a sloped roof, they must develop written procedures to prevent a similar accident. Also, if they had past OSHA citations, written procedures must be developed to prevent further occurrence. Other examples requiring written rules would include any violations of a verbal rule, notification from outside party about unsafe conditions, and near misses.

2) Scaffold Guardrails - These have been primarily plasterers, masons, and siders. Usually no guardrails are found.

3) Training - Many special trade contractors are still not doing any orientation for expected hazards when hiring new employees. This has been a problem among excavation contractors the most. Failure to train a person in how to conduct a visual and manual test is a common problem.

4) Scaffold Access - This is a problem with many plasterer contractors climbing walk through frame scaffolds.

5) Masonry Wall Bracing - We are seeing many mason contractors still building walls 20 feet up with out any bracing. Bracing afterwards is not acceptable even if the wall is grouted and has rebar every 32-40 inches. There has been some companies using metal bracing systems that have withstood 70 mph winds. Michigan OSHA has the only wall bracing criteria we know of. Wood bracing systems should be engineered or follow the MIOSHA wall bracing standards. The foundation support for a bracing system in MIOSHA needs to be coonsidered as it is not addressed in the MIOSHA standards.

6) Trenches - We have run a several companies with long OSHA history of violations in trenching safety still doing it wrong. One was working in a trench 10 feet deep with only 3 feet of cutback.

7) Scaffold Training - Even though the requirement has been out for months, many companies have not addressed the new scaffold requirements for their company. This is cited quite frequently to construction management companies who have not trained their site superintendent.

8) Hard Hats - This is cited more in residential construction than commercial construction. Many of the companies cited had a rule to wear hard hats, but never enforced it with the workers.

9) Rebar Protection - The latest OSHA interpretation clarified that impalement resistant rebar caps or equivalent would be needed to protect against same surface falls if the rebar is less than 36 inches. This is cited frequently under the multi-employer policy.

10) Competent Person - Many construction managers are not making a site inspection to detect unsafe conditions. Once a day is what many companies do to assure the site is free of visible hazards.
Most Frequency Cited Construction Standard

Nationwide OSHA Area Offices

1/1/97 - 08/01/97


No fall protection above 6 feet



No hard hats


No guardrails on scaffolds


Inadequate safety training



Unsafe trench


No competent person



No ground fault protection

Unsafe access to scaffolds


Deficient accident prevention program


No chemical hazard communication program

John Newquist: Safety Specialist - Aurora OSHA Office (630) 896-8700
Most Penalized Construction Standard

Aurora Area Office

1/1/97- 8/1/97




No fall protection in aerial lifts




Unsafe trench




No fall protection above 6 feet




No ground fault protection




Scaffold without guardrails




No fall protection on flat roofs




Fixed ladders not extending 42 inches above landing




Inadequate safety training




Not protecting floor openings




Unprotected rebar

Minimum of three different companies cited. Penalties reflect application of size, good faith, and history discounts.

Comments about the high penalty items.

1) Aerial Lifts - In telescoping or extensible boom aerial lifts, the employer must provide fall protection for the employee. This fall arrest should be a body harness with a shock absorbing lanyard anchored to the lift manufacturer's anchorage point. Falls from aerial lifts continue to be a source of fall fatalities.

2) Trenching - Despite the TRENCH National Emphasis Program (NEP), we are inspecting companies who have been in business for years still doing it wrong.

3) 6' Fall Protection - This is cited for lack of guardrails or defective wire rope guardrails on commercial sites.

4) GFCI - This is being cited more to electrical contractors than other trades. Usually, the electrician wired something for temporary power without GFCI protection.

5) Guardrails - See most frequently cited items.

6) Flat Roof Fall Protection - This is cited to flat roofing contractors who have no protection at ladder access areas, hoisting areas, or use mechanical equipment at the edge without positive fall protection.

7) Ladders - This has been a problem for commercial contractors on a flat one story roof. In most of these, the hatchway was not installed and the fixed ladder was not long enough.

8) Training - see most cited item description.

9) Floor Openings - Most of these were for openings in a flat roof. This has been a source of two recent fatalities in Northern Illinois. One was for an opening not covered and the other was for falling into the opening while it was being cut. Fall protection is required at 6 feet once decking is completed.

10) Rebar - see most cited items description.

SICs Involved in 1996 United States Construction Fatalities

1996 1995

SIC Fatalities Fatalities Description of SIC

1521 18 19 General Contractors - Single Family Homes
1522 9 8 General Contractors - Other Residential Building
1531 1 2 Operative Builders
1541 17 16 General Contractors - Industrial Buildings
1542 35 34 General Contractors - Commercial Buildings
1611 52 53 Highway Contractors
1622 17 21 Bridge Construction Contractors
1623 54 59 Water, Sewer, Power line, Underground Construction
1629 27 36 Other Heavy Construction
1711 23 43 Mechanical Contractors
1721 20 21 Painting Contractors
1731 47 60 Electrical Contractors
1741 17 29 Mason Contractors
1742 13 12 Plastering Contractors
1743 0 3 Terrazzo Contractors
1751 14 20 Carpentry Contractors
1761 53 59 Roofing and Siding Contractors
1771 8 18 Concrete Contractors
1781 6 0 Well Digging Contractors
1791 49 35 Steel Erectors
1793 3 0 Glazing Contractors
1794 25 21 Site Clearing - Grading Contractors
1795 14 15 Demolition Contractors
1796 12 9 Elevator Contractors
1799 35 36 Special Trade Contractors

569 629 Total

IL 38 32

Illinois goes up 20%, the nation goes down 10%.

Summary of 1996 Steel Erection Fatalities

Count Age Sex Date Description

1 26 m 7/29/96 fell unknown height in a water tower - welder

2 31 m 8/5/96 welder fell when an unsecured beam dropped 10 feet

3 34 m 8/9/96 fell while doing leading edge metal decking 28'

4 38 m 8/23/96 welder fell when hit by crane load - unknown height

5 27 m 8/29/96 fell when sliding a roof curb into place - unknown height

6 54 m 9/10/96 fell while metal roof decking 16'

7 38 m 9/18/96 contacted power line on a roof

8 33 m 9/23/96 fell while laying steel decking - 25'

9 23 m 12/9/96 erector struck by collapsing precast wall during erection

10 39 m 12/12/96 connector fell off a steel beam - 19'

11 43 m 11/15/96 fell when crane load hit a joist - 12'

12 36 m 11/9/96 fell while positioning steel plate - 65'

13 40 m 10/28/96 fell off an unknown scaffold - 13'

14 55 m 10/22/96 welder fell from a roof - unknown height

15 26 m 10/8/96 working from bridge removing stringers - fell 80'

16 37 m 10/07/96 fell through roof opening while moving hole cover - 25'

17 63 m 10/5/96 fell when a scaffold hit by crane load - 50'

18 49 m 9/26/96 fell while metal decking on a roof - unknown height

19 55 m 9/24/96 fell while metal decking -20'

20 46 m 1/10/96 struck by crane boom during pin removal

21 48 m 1/28/96 fell while metal roof decking - 20'

22 32 m 2/7/96 fell while working on a roof - 16'

23 45 m 2/10/96 fell while metal roof decking 32'

24 27 m 2/29/96 crushed between truss and column during erection

25 28 m 3/19/96 fell when hit by falling rebar - 30'

26 51 m 3/20/96 fell off a concrete barrier into traffic and run over

27 43 m 4/9/96 crushed when aerial lift pinned between basket and beam

28 42 m 4/17/96 struck by falling tower ladder

29 41 m 5/1/96 fell through opening after removed cover - 22'

30 32 m 5/3/96 fell from a communication tower - unknown height

31 31 m 5/8/96 fell while metal decking - 36' - fall arrest system failed

32 40 m 5/14/96 unknown fall - found at base of a 30' ladder

33 33 m 5/22/96 fell while trying to land a bundle of decking - 25'

34 34 m 5/29/96 flammable liquid sump compartment exploded during torch cutting

35 43 m 5/29/96 fall from a steel beam - unknown height

36 54 m 6/7/96 fell when stepped on unsecured metal decking - 19'

37 23 m 6/12/96 fell when sliding down a column - 32'

38 57 m 6/18/96 precast erector crushed by panel that slid off bearing pad

39 29 m 6/19/96 fell while removing metal guardrails - unknown height

40 42 m 6/26/96 fell when unsecured decking gave way - 42'

41 42 m 6/28/96 fell off a beam when tripped on a flange - 15'

42 29 m 7/1/97 fall from a roof - unknown height

43 42 m 7/19/96 struck by welded paddeye when it came loose when pulled by a come-a-long

44 32 m 11/11/96 Lost grip and fell while climbing a column - 20'

45 38 m 4/27/96 fell through floor opening on a roof - unknown height

46 40 m 4/3/96 fell while removing sheet metal in preparation for metal decking - 25'

47 32 m 2/27/96 fell during precast panel erection - 209'

48 38 m 1/17/96 hooking slings up when crane wire rope hit power line

49 39 m 12/4/96 slipped off a steel beam - 19'


1) Falls accounted for 38 out 49 fatalities. Thirty of the 39 apparently had no outside factors such as struck by an object or collapse of walking surfaces. These 30 were probably skill-based falls in which all but one was not wearing positive fall arrest. Many Illinois ironworkers connect out of lifts, and there were no fatal falls out of aerial lifts nationwide in 1996 for ironworkers. This method is not only safer, but can increase productivity.

2) Metal decking was the activity that resulted in the most fall deaths. Many were below the OSHA requirements for fall protection of 25 feet.

3) Floor and roof openings must be covered, secured and marked. Also, the cover must adequately hold an ironworker who walks on it.

4) Powerlines still cause ironworker deaths. They always should be considered energized and a minimum of 10 feet clearance must be maintained.

5) There was only one collapse and that was a precast building. Setting panels on bearing pads is dangerous if the columns are not plumb and secured from any lateral movement.

6) Sliding down columns is not acceptable means of access and resulted in two fall fatalities.

7) Only 8 fatalities were ironworkers in their 20's. Most ironworker fatalities are journeymen with years of experience. Not too many trades have more deaths for workers in their 40's than in their 20's.

8) The above fatalities did not include general contractors who did their own steel erection with ironworkers. Tower erection under SIC 1623 was not included.

Comments: Call John Newquist @ (630) 896-8700.

Commercial Fall Protection Quiz

1) Wire rope guardrails must be able to hold ______ pounds without deflecting to a height less than ____ inches.

2) The fall arrest force when wearing a shock absorbing lanyard and a body harness can be obtained from _______.

3) The maximum fall arrest force when wearing a safety belt is ______ pounds:

4) Describe two methods that are acceptable for protecting a 4x4 foot floor opening:

5) Describe one method to protect falling through an opening in which a ladder is use:

6) Impalement resistant rebar caps are required when?

7) Where does one find the requirement that each operator in a scissor lift must be trained in the operating manual for the lift?

8) Anchorages used for fall arrest systems must be designed by a ________ person and capable of supporting ______ pounds or designed with a safety factor of _____.

9) Extension ladders must extend ____ feet above a landing when used for access.

10) What does the written certification for fall protection training include?

11) Scaffolds must be inspected for visible defects by a competent person before _______.

12) Describe the four protective systems that flat roofers who are hand mopping at the edge can have when above 6 feet.

13) What two processes in commercial construction can have a written fall protection plan?

14) When would a Controlled Access Zone (CAZ) be seen in construction?

15) Midrail strength for wood guardrails is ______ pounds.

16) Wire rope must be flagged every ___ feet.

17) When guardrail systems are used around holes which are used as points of access, they shall be provided with _____ or offset so that no one can walk into the hole.

18) Personal fall arrest equipment must be inspected _______ for wear for damage.

19) Positioning device systems shall be rigged so that employees cannot fall more than ____ feet.

20) Warning line systems must resist a tipping force of _____ pounds.

21) Covers used to protect opening must be capable of holding _____ the weight of employees, equipment, or material that may be imposed on them.

22) Employees laying metal decking are required to have fall protection at _____ feet for a single story warehouse style structure?

23) What hazards are there by lifting an employee on a platform from a rough terrain fork lift?

24) Tower scaffolds require guardrails at _____ feet.

25) Wall opening require guardrails if the sill is less than ____ inches above the walking/working surfaces.

Answers to fall protection quiz.

1) 200 lbs., 39 inches - 1926.502(b)(3)

2) The manufacturer of the lanyard.

3) 900 pounds - 1926.502(d)(16)(I)

4) Put guardrails around it or a cover on it that meets 1926.502(b)(2). - 501(b)(4)

5) Provide a guardrail with a gate or offset the guardrail system. 1926.502(b)(13)

6) When there is fall onto rebar from a different level or when there is a same surface fall and the rebar is less than 36 inches high. OSHA Memo issued 6/3/97.

7) All aerial lifts under the ANSI A92.2-A92.6 series require this as well all American aerial lift manufacturers.

8) qualified, 5000 pounds, safety factor of two.

9) 3 feet - 1926.1053(b)(1)

10) name of person trained, date of training, and signature of trainer or employer. 1926.503(b)(1)

11) each work shift. 1926.451(f)(3)

12) guardrail system, safety net system, personal fall arrest system, or warning line and safety monitoring system. 1926.501(b)(10)

13) leading edge and precast work - 1926.501(b)(2) & (b)(12).

14) leading edge, precast work, and overhand bricklaying - 1926.501(b)(2), (b)(9), & (b)(12).

15) 150 pounds - 1926.502(b)(5)

16) 6 feet - 1926.502(b)(9)

17) gates - 1926.502(b)(13)

18) each use for wear. 1926.502(b)(21)

19) 2 feet - 1926.502(e)(1)

20) 16 pounds - 1926.502(f)(2)(iii)

21) twice - 1926.502(I)(2)

22) 25 feet - 1926.105(a)

23) Employees can be bounced off or fall off platform. They could get fingers cut off in the carriages' pinch points. If the platform is not secured, it can slide off the forks. The employee can be pushed into a fixed object and crushed.

24) 10 feet - 1926.451(g)(1)

25) 39 inches - 1926.501(b)(14)


Original articles © WorkCare™; Orange, California.