OSHA issues new crane safety regulations


The Labor Dept.’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) sweeping new rule aimed at reducing deaths and injuries involving construction cranes, was reported this week by ENR.com.

OSHA says that the rule, released July 28, will affect about 267,000 construction and crane rental companies and certification organizations that together employ about 4.8 million workers.

The 1,070-page revised standard for Cranes and Derricks in Construction replaces a 1971 regulation and is “long overdue,” says Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

Most provisions of the new rule will take effect Nov. 8. One key provision, a new requirement that construction-crane operators must be certified, will become effective in 2014.

Eddie Buckner, CEO of the Buckner Companies, Graham, said the North Carolina-OSHA crane safety reulations which took effect October 2009, ” almost mirror the new Federal regs.” ¬†One of the differences, Buckner says, “is that North Carolina only allows two years before operators are required to be certified. The feds allow four years.”

“States, like ours that have created their own plans will be allowed to keep them as long as the state plans are at least as stringent as the fed plan,” Buckner added.

Crane operators will be required to be certified for the type of equipment they are using. Other crane-related workers, including riggers, will have to be qualified.

The regulation includes new mandates for working around power lines. For example, the rule includes provisions dealing with synthetic slings. The new regulation requires synthetic slings to be used in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions, during assembly and disassembly. Another new requirement in the rule is that tower-crane parts will have to be inspected before the crane is erected.

The rule has been long in the works. In 2003, OSHA assembled a advisory committee composed of 23 crane specialists, including representatives from various parts of the industry and from labor unions. Buckner Companies President Doug Buckner and Safety & Risk Manager Chip Pocock served on the advisory committee.

That group produced a consensus on crane regulatory provisions in July 2004. But a formal proposed rule didn’t come out until October 2008 and now, some 21 months after that, the final rule is out.

Click Here to view the OSHA revised standard for cranes and derricks in construction.