August 2015

OSHA Regulatory Initiative Protects Reinforcing Ironworkers California OSHA Hearing Prompts Standards Board to Adopt New Reinforcing Steel & Post-Tensioning Standards

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board are scheduled to vote on adopting new reinforcing steel and post-tensioning standards in December 2015. California OSHA could be the first of many state OSHA plans to adopt these standards. In an effort to raise the standard of safety performance for reinforcing steel ironworkers, General President Wise (Emeritus) submitted 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. Subsequent to this letter, Wise has submitted petitions to California, Oregon, Washington and Michigan to adopt new safety standards for reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities. These states operate under the provisions of state-approved OSHA plans that have the authority to adopt safety and health standards aside from federal OSHA.

Steve Pendergrass, president of the Pacific Northwest District Council of Iron Workers, established several meetings with Washington state OSHA officials to discuss the adoption of new reinforcing steel and post-tensioning standards. Anne Soisa, assistant director for the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and senior staff members reviewed fatality and incident data from the reinforcing steel industry. Future meetings are planned with the Washington Chapter of the AGC, and other reinforcing stakeholders, to discuss the merits of supporting a petition to Washington state OSHA. Special thanks to Steve Pendergrass for contacting representatives of the state agency and helping to move this regulatory initiative forward.

In the fall of 2014 a special California Advisory Committee was convened to discuss Petition No. 537 Regarding Proposed Standards Addressing the Hazards Associated with Reinforcing Steel and Concrete Construction and Post-Tensioning Operations. The Industry Coalition of Reinforcing Steel Stakeholders provided testimony during two days of hearings in support of the proposed standards. The reinforcing steel stakeholders who participated in the two-day safety advisory committee meeting included the following representatives and organizations.

• Hart Keeble, Business Manager, Local 416
• Greg McClelland, Western Steel Council
• Russell McCrary, Safety Institute of the DCIW/CIEC
• Todd Stevens, Gerdau Steel and Post-Tensioning Institute
• Jose E. Mendoza, P.E. M.ASCE, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute
• Lyle Sieg, Harris Rebar
• Fred H. Codding, National Association of Reinforcing Steel Contractors
• Dave L. Otey, Rebar International, Inc.
• Dorothy Ormsby, Independent Contractor Specialist Group, LLC
• Carlos Crisonino, Gerdau RSW
• Jeremy Smith, State Building & Construction Trades Council

Key Safety Provisions For Reinforcing Steel and Post Tensioning

1.  Requirements for Safe Job Site Access and Layout of Reinforcing Material and Equipment
2.  Written Notifications Prior to Commencement of Reinforcing Steel Activities
3.  Stability Requirements for Vertical and Horizontal Columns, Walls and Other Reinforcing Assemblies
4.  Requirements for Impalement Protection and Custody of Impalement Covers
5.  Requirements for Hoisting and Rigging Reinforcement Assemblies
6.  Requirements for Post-Tensioning Activities
7.  Fall Protection Requirements
8.  Material Platforms on Multi-Story Buildings
9.  Requirements for Formwork and False Work Stability
10. Training Requirements

For many decades serious incident trends and fatalities have occurred in the reinforcing industry without adequate safety standards to protect our members. The initiative to pursue federal OSHA and state OSHA plans to adopt new standards will help to expedite the regulatory process. Special thanks to all the reinforcing stakeholders who provided testimony during the California OSHA Safety Advisory Committee meetings and sent letters in support of the adoption of new reinforcing steel and post-tensioning standards.