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USGNN Original StoryOSHA Crane and Derrick Safety Standard Up for Review Next Week

Long-awaited, proposed changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) crane and derrick safety standard will be published next week. Beginning October 3, the public will have 60 days to submit comments. For those who work in the construction industry these changes are critical, as a significant number of crane-related fatalities and injuries have been reported in the past year alone.

According to Michael McCann, director of safety research for the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), based in Silver Spring, Md., in 2008 the number of crane-related fatalities and injuries is substantial. He says through reading articles in different publications and online research, he's found a total of 48 fatalities and 91 injuries of construction workers, plus four fatalities and two injuries of bystanders. So updating the OSHA crane and derrick safety standard is critical.

"Most crane-related incidents are preventable," says McCann. "One problem right now is the lack of training; only 15 states and three cities require certification for crane operators. The OSHA standard would require certification for all."

In addition to operator certification, McCann says inspector certification is important, too.

"Another problem is that cranes are complicated, so I think there also needs to be certification of crane inspectors and that's not in the OSHA standard currently," McCann says. "There's also a need for detailed, thorough inspections into what caused an accident."

One of the biggest considerations concerning this OSHA standard is that it was written in 1971. McCann says the cranes used today are different than the ones used then, so much of the existing standard is outdated.

"Also, some states started doing their own crane regulations and that can be awkward when there are different regulations in different states," says McCann.

The CPWR has been doing research into crane-related deaths in construction. CLICK HERE to read more.

Contract glaziers also have expressed concerns about the importance of crane safety. CLICK HERE to read more.

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