News & Press

New Post-tensioning and Reinforcing Steel Rules Takes Effect on New Year’s Day, 2018

The California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has approved new Cal/OSHA rules covering post-tensioning of concrete and protections for workers engaged in reinforcing steel (rebar) operations. OAL has set January 1, 2018, as the effective date of the rulemaking package. The new and revised rules are found in Construction Safety Orders 1711, 1712, 1717, and 1721. The Standards Board adopted the regulations on September 14, 2017.

The rebar portion of the standard is aimed at preventing impalement, falls from elevation, improper placement of materials and hazardous site conditions. 

The post-tensioning/reinforcing steel rules, mostly directed to controlling (general) contractors, are meant to address the potential structural collapse of vertical formwork, decks, and columns. It also addresses impalement hazards, misuse of material-handling equipment, site conditions, inadequate workspace and insufficient work platforms, and communication between workers performing post-tensioning, their supervisors and the controlling contractor; as well as hoisting and rigging, and training on post-tensioning techniques.

Specifically, it requires employers to:

  • Provide and maintain access roads into and out of work sites for safe delivery and movement of derricks, cranes, trucks and other necessary equipment.
  • Provide a firm, properly graded and drained area that is readily accessible and which has adequate space to stage and assemble post-tensioning materials.
  • Provide an adequate exterior platform for landing materials on multi-tiered buildings.
  • Notify reinforcing steel contractors before beginning a project that formwork and falsework has been inspected, and that vertical formwork, elevated decks, and walking/working surfaces are safe; and that excavation benching and shoring has been inspected.
  • Comply with specific rules on post-tensioning operations; vertical and horizontal columns.
  • Provide employees protection from exposed, projecting reinforcing steel and other projections.
  • Leave rebar caps in place after reinforcing steel contractors’ work is completed; the controlling contractor must inspect and accept control of the covers and place responsibility for them with another contractor.
  • Maintain a six-foot fall protection trigger for placing or tying reinforcing steel into walls, piers or columns; reinforcing ironworkers are allowed point-to-point travel without fall protection up to 24 feet if there are no implement hazards.