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RE: Post v. Column defined

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I believe part of what OSHA was trying to define was the difference between a main framing member (“column”) which might be several floors tall, supporting large roof trusses, part of the lateral load system, etc. from a secondary member (“post”) supporting a mezzanine or mechanical equipment or other miscellaneous framing.  The implication is that “columns” need more stabilizing during erection than “posts”.  The 300 lb limitation was intended as a quantitative way to define that difference.  The weight is just the member itself, you don’t have to include connection plates, baseplates etc.  I don’t recall if there are exceptions (e.g. if the column is guyed); I’d need to go reread the standard.



From: Jim Wilson [mailto:wilsonengineers(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2004 11:48 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Post v. Column defined


Is there a better/alternate way to interpret the difference between a post and a column as defined by OSHA?  OSHA's posts must weigh less than 300 lbs and generally support stairs and other light items, or nothing at all.  Columns on the other hand, must have four anchor bolts and be able to support a 300 lb load at the top with an eccentricity of 18 inches.


Is the design engineer responsible for making the final determination which elements are posts and which are columns?  I am looking at a light wood-framed construction project with several steel columns/posts to carry concentrated loads.  Most of them are less than 300 lbs, but a couple might be over.  Following OSHA's definitions, is it straight forward that some elements are columns with 4 bolts and some are posts with 2 bolts?  


Or is there any room for interpretation to OSHA, or are there exceptions to these rules?


Is the EOR responsible for determing the final weight of these columns, and perhaps adding the weight of connection plates, etc. just to specify if there are 2 or 4 anchor bolts?  Seems like this might be a grey area, but I would hate to err on the wrong side.


Does OSHA have jursdiction to fine a structural engineer for not detailing this properly?




Jim Wilson, PE

Stroudsburg, PA

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