OSHA has decided it will forego conducting general schedule inspections on the new Steel Erection Standard for 60 days, until March 19, 2002. Until then, the agency will emphasize outreach and education to assist the industry in training employees on the new requirements, which take effect January 18, 2002.

OSHA wants to allow its field personnel, as well as employers and employees, to become familiar with the requirements of the new steel erection standard, according to OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw. Although the agency will not conduct general schedule inspections, it will inspect fatalities and complaints.

The agency is putting together a comprehensive training initiative on safety standards for steel erection. The initiative begins with a three-day training session January 14-16 in Chicago, and additional training activities and educational materials will be developed.

The new standard addresses the hazards that have been identified as the major causes of injuries and fatalities in the steel erection industry. These include hazards associated with working under loads; hoisting, landing and placing decking; column stability; double connections; landing and placing steel joists, and falls to lower levels.