March 2013

2013 Brings New ANSI Safety Standards For Reinforcing Steel and Post-Tensioning Operations

On January 11, 2013, General President Walter Wise issued a press release to all district councils and local unions announcing the ANSI A10 Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) for Construction and Demolition Standards committee passed new comprehensive safety standards pertaining to reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities. For many decades, serious incidents trends and fatalities have occurred in the reinforcing industry without adequate safety standards to protect our members. ANSI standards are not OSHA standards, but "national consensus standards" that reflect the position of construction industry representatives. The A10 ASC includes a voting membership of 73 labor and management construction organizations and requires a 66 percent vote for new standards or amendments to pass. The recent A10.9 Concrete and Masonry ballot passed with a 98 percent YES vote.

The Safety and Health Department for the Iron workers International worked closely with the Department of Reinforcing and the industry coalition of reinforcing steel stakeholders to petition the ANSI Committee to adopt new safety standards in 2011. The industry coalition of reinforcing stakeholders included representatives from the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust, National Association of Reinforcing Steel Contractors, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, Post Tensioning Institute, Western Steel Council, Department of Reinforcing Ironworkers Advisory Committee and the Center for Construction Research and Training.

In January of 2012, I was appointed as chairman of the A10.9 Concrete and Masonry Subgroup and worked closely with the A10 ASC members and industry stakeholders to pursue new safety standards for the reinforcing industry. A series of conference calls with A10.9 Subgroup members and a formal meeting was hosted at the Iron Workers International headquarters to receive comments and address industry concerns.

Rational for Pursuing new ANSI Standards

-  The current ANSI A10.9-Concrete and Masonry standard is antiquated and contains limited safety provisions for hazards associated with reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities.
-  Fatality and accident trends in the reinforcing steel and post-tensioning industry indicate a direct correlation between accident causation factors and lack of specific standards.
-  The use of steel reinforcement and post-tensioning in poured in-place concrete is expected to double by 2015 from its 1990 level and may comprise a majority of commercial and industrial construction.
-  A revised ANSI A10.9 standard will produce the best safety standards that would represent the expertise of industry stakeholders in the reinforcing steel and post-tensioning industry.

In response to the passing of the new ANSI safety standards for reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities, General President Walter Wise sent a letter to the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urging the agency to adopt new safety OSHA standards to protect workers in the reinforcing steel industry. The adoption of new ANSI safety standards will help to prompt federal and state agencies to adopt the same standards. I will work with district councils, local unions and IMPACT regions that operate in the jurisdiction of state approved OSHA plans to pursue new OSHA standards. Key elements contained in the new ANSI A10.9 Concrete and Masonry standards include the following provisions pertaining to reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities.

Key Safety Provisions for Reinforcing Steel and Post-Tensioning
-  Requirements for safe jobsite access and layout of reinforcing material and equipment.
-  Written notifications prior to commencement of reinforcing steel activities.
-  Stability requirements for vertical and horizontal columns, walls and other reinforcing assemblies.
-  Requirements for impalement protection and custody of impalement covers.
-  Requirements for hoisting and rigging reinforcement assemblies.
-  Requirements for post-tensioning activities.
-  Fall protection requirements.
-  Requirements for formwork and false work stability.
-  Training requirements.

In preparation for new ANSI and OSHA safety standards for reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities, the Safety and Health Department will work closely with the National Training Fund, Department of Reinforcing and IMPACT to develop new training materials that reflect new safety standards. The International Association's "2013 ZERO Fatality" campaign targets the deadly dozen serious hazards that includes common activities in the reinforcing industry. Our goal for 2013 is to pursue a downward trend to achieve zero fatalities during reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities, and challenges all members to "See Something--Say Something" to help recognize and avoid workplace hazards.

I will continue to work closely with district councils, local unions and IMPACT regional advisory boards throughout the United States and Canada to promote the 2013 Zero Fatality campaign and help improve safety performance during reinforcing steel and post-tensioning operations. To obtain or view a copy of the new ANSI A10.9 Safety standards, visit the Iron Workers website at www.ironworkers.org and click on the Safety and Health Department section.