Question: What is the OSHA fall protection requirement for connectors while they are landing bundles of decking during the steel erection process? We are being told that landing deck bundles is not a connector activity, and connectors cannot place the bundles unless they are tied-off at 15 feet or below. Is this correct?
Answer: No, landing decking bundles is a common connector activity and is supported by the following OSHA definitions of a “connector” and “metal decking” that are contained in the OSHA Subpart R – Steel Erection standard. The placing of metal decking bundles within single-story and multi-story steel structures incidental to connecting beams or other structural components falls within the definition of connector work because metal decking is considered a structural element of the building.
“Connector” means an employee who, working with hoisting equipment, is placing and connecting beams or other structural members.
“Metal decking” means a commercially manufactured, structural grade, cold rolled metal panel formed into a series of parallel ribs; for this section, this includes metal floor and roof decks, standing seam metal roofs, other metal roof systems and other products such as bar gratings, checker plate, expanded metal panels, and similar products. After installation and proper fastening, these decking materials serve a combination of functions including, but not limited to: a structural element designed in combination with the structure to resist, distribute and transfer loads, stiffen the structure and provide a diaphragm action; a walking/working surface; a form for concrete slabs; a support for roofing systems; and a finished floor or roof.
During the process of landing bundles of decking on single-story or multi-story structures, connectors must be provided with fall protection and training in accordance with the following OSHA Subpart- R Steel Erection standards.
Specific OSHA Fall Protection Standards Pertaining to Connectors:
1926.760(b) Connectors. Each connector shall:
(b)(1) – Be protected in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section from hazards of more than two floors or 30 feet above a lower level, whichever is less;
(b)(2) – Have completed connector training in accordance with 1926.761; and
(b)(3) - Be provided, at heights over 15 and up to 30 feet above a lower level, with a personal fall arrest system, positioning device system or fall restraint system and wear the equipment necessary to be able to be tied off; or be provided with other means of protection from fall hazards in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
Please contact me at (202) 383-4820 or firstname.lastname@example.org if this issue comes up in your area or you if you have any questions regarding the OSHA standards pertaining to connector activities as described above.