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OSHA seeking comments about reinforcing concrete activities

ambulanceOSHA has issued a Request for Information* (RFI) that seeks comments on how to prevent injuries and deaths from reinforcing concrete activities in construction, and from vehicles and mobile equipment backing into workers in construction, general industry, agriculture and the maritime industry. The agency says it will use the comments received to learn more about how workers get injured and what solutions exist to prevent injury and death, including possible regulatory action.

Workers in the concrete industry use reinforcing methods to strengthen concrete. These workers face potentially life-threatening hazards including impalement, collapsed walls, and slips, trips and falls. OSHA data indicate that more than 30 workers died while performing these activities from 2000-2009. Safety issues relating to these operations were brought to OSHA's attention in a 2010 petition from the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers and an industry coalition of stakeholders including the Concrete Steel Reinforcing Institute, the Western Steel Council, and the Center for Construction Research and Training.

Workers also face fatal injuries when struck by vehicles backing up or when caught between backing vehicles and an object, such as a loading dock. OSHA found that about 360 workers died from backover incidents from 2005-2010. OSHA's request for information is consistent with other agencies' regulatory actions, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requiring cameras in certain vehicles under 10,000 pounds to prevent people from getting backed over.

Comments on this RFI must be submitted by June 27, 2012 to: www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be submitted by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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