Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Qualified rigger

March 18, 2014

Eric M. Dean

General Secretary
International Association of
Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers
Suite 400
1750 New York Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Mr. Dean:

Thank you for your March 12, 2013, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You asked a question regarding the determination of whether an employee may be considered a "qualified rigger" under 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC (Cranes and Derricks in Construction).
We have paraphrased your question as follows:

Question: Can a labor-management joint apprenticeship training program that is a "qualified evaluator (third party)" for purposes of ensuring that signal persons meet qualification requirements also provide training regarding "qualified rigger" status?

Answer: Yes, but the employer is responsible for ensuring that any employee who rigs materials is a qualified rigger. The employer may consider determinations made by a third party, such as completion of a joint labor management apprenticeship training program, in assessing whether an employee is in fact a "qualified rigger." While such programs generally provide high-quality classroom and hands-on instruction, the employer must ensure that an employee assigned to rig a load is a qualified rigger with respect to that specific lift.
29 CFR 1926.1401 defines a "qualified rigger" as:
[A] rigger who meets the criteria for a qualified person.
29 CFR 1926.1401 defines a "qualified person" as:
[A] person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.
The level of experience, knowledge, and skill needed to perform a rigging job safely depends on the type of rigging and worksite conditions. The employer must ensure that the rigger has the ability to recognize and resolve any issues relating to the specific rigging work to be performed.

The cranes standard does not require or refer to third party evaluators with respect to qualified riggers. The standard's provisions regarding riggers differ in this respect from those regarding signal persons, to which your letter refers, under which documentation from a "qualified evaluator (third party)" is an alternative means of compliance. As noted, the employer may consider determinations made by a third party such as a joint apprenticeship program, but it retains responsibility for ensuring that any employee assigned to rig a load is qualified. 

This interpretation is consistent with OSHA's discussion of qualified riggers in a letter to William K. Irwin, Jr., dated January 9, 2012, available here:
https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=28268. 

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA's requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.

Sincerely,

James G. Maddux, Director
Directorate of Construction

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Protect workers from demolition hazard, new resources

Recent fatalities serve as a reminder to protect workers from demolition hazards: New resources available.

On June 20, a construction worker taking down a Blockbuster Video building in New Jersey was trapped and killed when the last standing wall collapsed on top of him. Six months earlier, a 25-year-old construction worker in Chicago was struck and killed by pieces of falling concrete while conducting renovations on a shopping mall. A year ago, six people were killed and 14 injured in Philadelphia when a four-story building undergoing demolition collapsed. All these deaths could have been prevented.

OSHA recently launched updates to its Demolition Web page that focuses on the serious hazards common in demolition operations. The page includes information safe practices that must be followed to to prevent injuries and fatalities, and a link for stakeholders to share stories about demolition safety. Read the news release below for more information.


Trade News Release Banner Image


July 10, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

Recent fatalities serve as a reminder to protect workers from demolition hazards
OSHA launches updated website, training resources for construction demolition industry

WASHINGTON – On June 20, a construction worker taking down an old Blockbuster Video building in New Jersey was trapped and killed when the last standing wall of a building under demolition collapsed on top of him. Six months earlier, a 25-year-old construction worker in Chicago was struck and killed by pieces of falling concrete while conducting renovations on a shopping mall. These tragedies follow the June 5, 2013, collapse of a four-story building undergoing demolition in Philadelphia that killed six people and injured 14. These deaths could have been prevented. To help prevent these tragedies and save lives, OSHA has developed new educational resources and training for the construction demolition industry. 

"Demolition workers face many hazards and their lives should not be sacrificed because of deliberate neglect of demolition fundamentals," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Employers must ensure that all workers involved in a demolition project are fully aware of hazards and safety precautions before work begins and as it progresses." 

OSHA recently launched an updated demolition website to address the hazards common in demolition operations and the safety measures that can be taken to prevent them. The updated Demolition page provides information on applicable OSHA standards, hazard assessments, measures that can be taken to prevent injuries and illnesses before site work begins, and a link for stakeholders to share stories about demolition safety. 

From 2009 to 2013, OSHA issued nearly 1,000 citations for violations of OSHA's construction demolition standards. The most common citation issued was for failure to conduct an engineering survey to determine the condition of the structure prior to demolition. This includes determining whether an unplanned collapse of the building or any adjacent structure would injure those working in the vicinity.

To ramp up efforts to protect demolition workers, OSHA recently provided demolition training courses on construction safety to federal, state and local government personnel with construction safety responsibilities in the Philadelphia area.