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OSHA Safety Standards for Steel Erection

Course Outline

The new OSHA Safety Standards for Steel Erection (Final Rules) went into effect on January 18, 2002. This course highlights the primary impact of the new OSHA Safety Standards for Steel Erection on the design practice of structural engineers and architects. This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will be familiar with the new OSHA regulation regarding:

In addition, the student will understand

Course Introduction

On January 18, 2001, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued the new Safety Standards for Steel Erection (Final Rules) in the Federal Register (Vol. 66, No. 12). On July 13, 2001, OSHA announced that its final steel erection standard would go into effect January 18, 2002 in the OSHA National News Release. The original effective date was July 18, 2001.

The new OSHA Safety Standards for Steel Erection (the Standard) is much more extensive and detailed than the last edition, which focused almost exclusively on the erectors. The new Standard requires participation of engineers, fabricators, erectors and contractors.

Course Content

According to OSHA, the new Safety Standards for Steel Erection (the Standard), developed in concert with industry and union groups, is expected to prevent 30 fatalities and 1,142 injuries annually and save employers nearly $40 million a year.

The Standard enhances protections provided to ironworkers by addressing 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; landing and placing steel joints; and falls to lower levels.

Scope of the Standard

The scope of the Standard applies to steel erection activities involved in the construction, alternation, and/or repair of single and multi-story buildings, bridges and other structures. It also applies to other structural materials, such as plastics and composites, when they resemble structural steel in their usage. However, the Standard does not cover electrical transmission towers, communication and broadcast towers, or tanks.


The Standard Section 1926.751 provides detailed definitions of all the terminology used in the Standard. The following definitions are of particular interest to structural engineers:

Column means a load-carrying vertical member that is part of the primary skeletal framing system. Columns do not include posts.

Competent person (also defined in Sec. 1926.32) means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

Double connection means an attachment method where the connection point is intended for two pieces of steel which share common bolts on either side of a central piece.

Double connection seat means a structural attachment that, during the installation of a double connection, supports the first member while the second member is connected. Erection bridging means the bolted diagonal bridging that is required to be installed prior to releasing the hoisting cables from the steel joists.

Post means a structural member with a longitudinal axis that is essentially vertical, that: (1) weighs 300 pounds or less and is axially loaded (a load presses down on the top end), or (2) is not axially loaded, but is laterally restrained by the above member. Posts typically support stair landings, wall framing, mezzanines and other substructures.

Project structural engineer of record means the registered, licensed professional responsible for the design of structural steel framing and whose seal appears on the structural contract documents.

Qualified person (also defined in Sec. 1926.32) means one who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.

Shear connector means headed steel studs, steel bars, steel lugs, and similar devices which are attached to a structural member for the purpose of achieving composite action with concrete.

Steel erection means the construction, alteration or repair of steel buildings, bridges and other structures, including the installation of metal decking and all planking used during the process of erection.

Steel joist means an open web, secondary load-carrying member of 144 feet (43.9 m) or less, designed by the manufacturer, used for the support of floors and roofs. This does not include structural steel trusses or cold-formed joists.

Steel joist girder means an open web, primary load-carrying member, designed by the manufacturer, used for the support of floors and roofs. This does not include structural steel trusses.

Steel truss means an open web member designed of structural steel components by the project structural engineer of record. For the purposes of this subpart, a steel truss is considered equivalent to a solid web structural member.

Structural steel means a steel member, or a member made of a substitute material (such as, but not limited to, fiberglass, aluminum or composite members). These members include, but are not limited to, steel joists, joist girders, purlins, columns, beams, trusses, splices, seats, metal decking, girts, and all bridging, and cold formed metal framing which is integrated with the structural steel framing of a building.

Systems-engineered metal building means a metal, field-assembled building system consisting of framing, roof and wall coverings. Typically, many of these components are cold-formed shapes. These individual parts are fabricated in one or more manufacturing facilities and shipped to the job site for assembly into the final structure. The engineering design of the system is normally the responsibility of the systems-engineered metal building manufacturer.

Impact on Structural Design

The primary impact of the Standard on the design practice of the project structural engineer of record is summarized as followings:

1. Column Stability (see definition for column above)

2. Double Connections (see definition above)

3. Open Web Steel Joists (see definition above)

4. Tripping Hazards

5. Roof and Floor Holes and Openings

6. Column Splice Locations

7. Slip Resistance of Skeletal Structural Steel Members

8. System-Engineered Metal Building (see definition above)

In order to protect the safety of ironworkers, structural engineers, architects and contractors shall get familiar with the new OSHA Safety Standards for Steel Erection. In this course, you are required to study the following documents:

1. Chapter 5 - Definitions and Photos (Inspection policy and procedures for OSHA's steel erection standards for construction) (2002 edition, PDF).
2. OSHA Safety Standards for Steel Erection (2001 edition, the Final Regulatory Text from page 5265 to page 5280 in the Federal Register Vol. 66 No. 12, HTML).

Course Summary

This course highlights the primary impact of the new OSHA Safety Standards for Steel Erection on the design practice of structural engineers. To protect the safety of ironworkers during construction, structural engineers, architects and contractors must adhere to the OSHA Safety Standards for Steel Erection during both design and construction phases of the project.

Related Links

OSHA Subpart R Awareness Guide for Structural Engineers (42KB PDF)
New OSHA Erection Rules: How They Affect Engineers, Fabricators & Contractors
An article on Modern Steel Construction (115KB PDF)



Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered professional engineer. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.