In July 2019, 3M issued stop use and product recall notices on two products frequently used by ironworkers in steel erection applications.
The first is 3M™ PROTECTA® Cobra Mobile/Manual Rope Grab AC202D, which is incorrectly stamped for use with 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter rope on the exterior body of the unit. This Cobra Rope Grab is certified for use ONLY with 5/8 inch diameter polyester or polypropylene rope. All marketing information and the Instructions for Use (IFU) for this rope grab correctly identify the size of rope to be used as 5/8 inch polyester/polypropylene rope.
In the event of a fall from height, a Cobra Rope Grab used with 1/2 inch diameter rope may not arrest the fall and could result in serious injury or death to the worker.
If the adjacent structure is not equipped to provide appropriate fall protection, the Genie® boom may be used as a fall arrest anchor. (Credit: Genie)
It’s not uncommon that a construction worker needs to access an upper elevation using a boom lift, but does not know if in this particular situation it is safe and legal to do. There are legitimate reasons for exiting the platform at height. Sometimes exiting the platform when elevated is simply the safest way to carry out temporary work at height.
Effective February 7, 2019, employers must evaluate crane operators to ensure they are fully qualified to operate the crane, taking into account the size, configuration, environment, and hoisting activities. Operators must demonstrate ability to recognized and avert risk. Employers must document these evaluations, and documentation must be available at the work site.
Certification alone does not qualify an operator to operate cranes. Employers have a responsibility to make sure operators are fully qualified by demonstration of skills and knowledge necessary to operate equipment safely, and be able to recognize and avert risks.
Metal deck installation is one of the most hazardous tasks that ironworkers face during the structural steel erection process. The first step in the decking process is the hoisting and landing of the deck bundles on the floors or roof. During this first step if the deck bundle is not properly landed on the framing or the deck bundle is not tightly nested from the plant (imagine an unshuffled deck of cards) it can cause a falling hazard.
Multiple lift rigging, or “christmas treeing,” is prohibited for construction activities other than steel erection because of the hazards involved, including beams hitting other objects or people. OSHA’s Sub Part R 1926.753 addresses the use multiple lift rigging assemblies, and a 2005 OSHA letter of interpretation provides additional explanation. Because of the necessity for this work practice in steel erection, crew members should understand the dangers and follow best practices.