Tuesday, August 21, 2012

OSHA re-establishes full protection for demolition and underground construction

On August 17, 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a direct final rule and notice of proposed rule making that applies the requirements of the August 2010 cranes and derricks in construction standard to demolition work and underground construction. The application of this rule will protect workers from hazards associated with hoisting equipment used during construction activities.

The direct final rule will apply the same crane rules to underground construction and demolition that are already being used by other construction sectors, and will streamline OSHA's standards by eliminating the separate cranes and derricks standard currently used for underground and demolition work. The rule making also corrects several errors introduced in the 2010 rule-making to make it easier for workers and employers to understand and implement these standards.

The direct final rule will become effective November 15, 2012, unless OSHA receives a significant adverse comment by September 17. If the agency receives significant adverse comments, the accompanying notice of proposed rule making will allow the agency to continue the notice-and-comment component of the rule making by withdrawing the direct final rule.

The final rule can be viewed here:

Two years ago, on August 9, 2010, OSHA issued new requirements for cranes and derricks used in construction work under Subpart CC. For most construction work, the new Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard replaced the prior cranes and derricks standard, §1926.550, which had been in place for over 40 years.

However, for demolition and underground construction work, the protective requirements of §1926.550 were no longer covered in OSHA's construction regulations. As a result, OSHA had to reestablish the substance of the demolition and underground construction provisions in a new subpart DD, which was in the updated Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard.

A second error was made, however. In the rulemaking process OSHA inadvertently deleted the requirements addressing material, personnel, overhead hoists, and elevators in demolition and underground construction work by requiring employers to follow the requirements of Subpart DD for demolition and underground construction work.

The rule will become effective on November 15, 2012. The specific parts of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction rule that will be affected are:
  • §1926.800(t), Hoisting unique to underground construction.
  • §1926.856(c) Removal of walls, floors, and material with equipment.
  • §1926.858(b) Removal of steel construction.

Some of the updates include:

  • 1926.1427 addresses operator qualification and certification.
  • OSHA established minimum clearance distances for power line safety up to 350 kV for equipment in accordance with Table A of 1926.1408.

Note: The same formula that was used in subpart N (the 10-foot rule) and is similar to Table 1 in ASME B30.5–2004. Unlike subpart N, which required employers to calculate the minimum clearance distance from a formula, Table A sets specified clearance distances in a readily understood table and requires no calculations.
  • Section 1926.1423 Fall Protection, of the OSHA rule, contains provisions designed to protect workers on equipment covered by subpart CC from fall hazards.

1 comment:

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