Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Metal Buildings and Overhead Hazards

More than 50% of industrial buildings in steel erection are systems-engineered. These metal structures use different types of steel members and a different erection process than typical steel erection. They also present certain unique hazards, such as those associated with anchor bolts, construction loads, and double connections.

The primary sources of information for metal buildings is from OSHA Standard 1926.758 and the information for overhead hazards comes from OSHA Standard 1926.759.

Metal Buildings

Systems-Engineered Metal Buildings

metal buildings

All of the requirements contained in 1926 Subpart R apply to systems-engineered metal buildings, except for 1926.755 (column anchorage) and 1926.757 (open web steel joists).

  • All structural columns must be anchored by at least four anchor bolts.
  • Rigid frames must have 50% of their bolts, or the number of bolts specified by the manufacturer (whichever is greater) installed and tightened on both sides of the web adjacent to each flange before the hoisting equipment is released.

Construction Loads

Construction loads may be placed on a structural steel framework when the framework is safely bolted, welded or otherwise adequately secured.

Construction loads are prohibited from:

  • Being placed on any inadequately secured structural steel framework.
  • Being placed beyond any area 8 feet (2.5 m) from the center-line of the primary support member.

Girts or Eave Struts

In girt and eave strut-to-frame connections, when girts or eave struts share common connection holes:

  • At least one bolt must remain securely in place for the connection of the first member.
  • A field-attached seat or similar connection device supplied by the manufacturer may be used in lieu of the bolt to secure the first member so that the girt or eave strut is always secured against displacement.
  • Both ends of all cold-formed or steel joists must be fully bolted/welded to the support structure before:
    • releasing the hoisting cables
    • allowing an employee on the joists
    • allowing any construction loads on the joists
purlins and girts

Purlins and Girts

Purlins and girts are prohibited from:

  • Being used as an anchorage point for a fall-arrest system, unless written approval is obtained from a qualified person.
  • Being used as a walking/working surface when installing safety systems, until:
    • All permanent bridging is installed.
    • Fall protection is provided.

Overhead Hazards

Overhead Hazards – MoDOT

A real, everyday hazard posed to steel erection employees is loose items that have been placed aloft, and that can fall and strike employees working below. The following requirements listed on the next two tabs have been implemented to protect employees from falling objects.

Falling Object Protection

Securing loose items aloft. Secure unused equipment, tools and materials while aloft so they do not fall.

Protection from falling objects other than materials being hoisted. The controlling contractor must bar other construction processes below steel erection activities, unless overhead protection for employees working below is provided.

The Hazards Associated with Placing Joists

Joist manufacturers require that the ends of joists be tack welded or bolted immediately after placement. This welding or bolting holds the joist in place until the bridging is installed, and as a result the joist has very little lateral stability.

Placing any weight on the joist other than the weight of the employee actually erecting the joists can cause the joist to roll over or slip.

If the joist slips, it can:

  • throw employees off the joist or supporting girder/wall
  • throw materials and equipment to the ground below
  • cause a joist to fall over and collapse
  • trigger a domino effect and cause other joists to slip

If the joist falls over, it can collapse or buckle. This can:

  • throw employees off the joist or supporting girder/wall
  • drag employees to the ground if they anchor their fall protection to the joist
  • throw materials and equipment to the ground
  • trigger a domino effect and cause other joists to fall over, collapse and fall to the ground

Employees on the elevated work areas could:

  • fall or be dragged from elevated work areas to the ground below
  • be injured if materials and equipment placed on the joists strike them

Employees working under or near the elevated work could:

  • be injured if falling materials and equipment strike them


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. When constructing systems-engineering metal buildings, all structural columns must _____.

2. Which of the following is true about placing load 12 feet from the center-line of the primary support member?

3. What must occur prior to allowing workers to walk on purlins and girts?

4. You are the on-site controlling contractor. What must be done before you can allow other construction processes below steel erection activities?

5. When placing joists, what must be done prior to the installation of bridging to provide lateral stability?

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.