The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have recently released the most anticipated revisions to the decade-old standards in relation to the use of the crane and derrick. The new rules were published on August 9, 2010. This change has left many operators and owners wondering what the new standard means for the national crane industry. Certified A certified status means that the operator has passed written and practical examinations provided by an accredited testing agency. The examinations are done so the agency can test the skills of the candidate. Qualified A qualified status means that the operator has successfully passed the written and practical tests provided by an in-house testing program. Although the tests are done in-house, they are still audited by an independent testing agency. Additionally, operators may also acquire a qualified status by possessing current qualifications for the equipment that are provided by the United States military branches.
Reasons for Rewriting
The last rules that were created specifically for cranes and derricks were issued in 1971. With the large number of advancements in technology and safety equipment, it was fitting that the rules be amended to keep up with the changes in this important technology. For example, there was no safety guideline regarding the use of a synthetic sling in the old standards because the technology was not available at that time.
While the amendments have been in the planning phase with OSHA since 1998, an increasing number of fatal accidents that have occurred all over the United States since the decision was made to implement these amendments greatly influenced the formulation and publication of the new standards. One particular set of incidents that had a huge influence on the content of the new standards were the fatal accidents that occurred in New York City from 2008 to 2009.
With the new standards for the use of cranes and derricks in place, contractors have a greater responsibility in securing the safety of the work-site. This is anticipated to reduce the annual number of fatalities by 22 and non-fatal injuries by 175.
The new standards set forth by OSHA directly affect approximately 250,000 crane rental businesses as well as those businesses that offer certification in the use of the crane as well as more than 4.5 million crane personnel including operators and workers. For example, with the new revisions, employers must comply with the requirements for local and state licensing. The employers will also have to pay for the certification or qualification of their operators.
With the stricter rules set forth by OSHA, operators and other crane personnel are also required to undergo proper training and evaluation in order to become qualified or certified in the operation of this equipment. The new standards require that operators be either certified or otherwise qualified in order to legally operate the equipment.
The new set of guidelines set forth by OSHA is aimed at improving safety standards with regards to the use of cranes. This new set of guidelines may take some adjustment time. Some employers may not like being responsible for paying for the appropriate training and operators may not like having to take written and practical examinations before becoming qualified or certified. These small inconveniences will pay off as the rate of crane-related fatalities and injuries are reduced thanks to the new OSHA standards!