News Release
Thursday, August 6, 1998
Contact: Frank Kane (202) 219-8151
Consensus Results from Negotiated Rulemaking


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today proposed a revised steel erection standard that could save 26 lives and $40 million a year. The proposal is based on the consensus of labor, industry and other stakeholder groups involved in the negotiated rulemaking process.

"This proposal is an outstanding example of how President Clinton wants the New OSHA to work -- developing common sense regulation to protect workers through a partnership with labor, industry, public interests and other government agencies," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Charles N. Jeffress, who heads OSHA, noted that the proposal is the result of successful negotiated rulemaking involving all significantly affected interests in the steel erection community. "It would prevent most of the fatalities and lost-workday injuries that steel erection workers now suffer," he added.

The proposal, developed by members of the Steel Erection Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee (SENRAC), addresses the hazards that have been identified as the major causes of injuries and fatalities in the steel erection industry. These are hazards associated with working under loads; hoisting, landing and placing decking; column stability; double connections; hoisting, landing and placing steel joists; and falls to lower levels.

This was the first rulemaking effort in the Department of Labor under the provisions of the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990 and the Department's Negotiated Rulemaking Policy. SENRAC presented its draft in July 1997, and OSHA then obtained approvals from the Small Business Administration and the Office of Management and Budget before the document could be published in the Federal Register for comment.

About 28 deaths and 1,800 lost-workday injuries currently occur each year among iron workers. OSHA says that full compliance with the proposed standard and the existing standard would prevent 26 of these fatalities and about 1,100 of the lost-workday injuries.

The proposal, if adopted, would save employers in the steel erection industry about $40 million a year in costs associated with lost-workday injuries such as lost productivity, medical treatment, insurance, and liability claims.

The proposal is designed to protect all workers engaged in steel erection activities. It does not cover electric transmission towers, communications towers, broadcast towers, water towers or tanks.

SENRAC included representatives of the International Association of Bridge, Structural & Ornamental Iron Workers, United Steelworkers of America, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), International Union of Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, National Erectors Association, the Associated General Contractors of America and the Associated Builders and Contractors.

Notice of the proposal will be published in the Federal Register at a later date.