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USGNN Original StoryOSHA Extends Comment Period on Crane and Derrick Proposed Rulemaking

William Rapetti, the master rigger on the 200-foot-high tower crane that collapsed and killed seven people last March in New York City, was indicted yesterday on multiple charges of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault and reckless endangerment (CLICK HERE to read more).

Given the number of cane-related accidents that have occurred in the past few years, such as the one last March in New York City, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) current efforts to revise its 1971 cranes and derricks ruling are timely. In early 2003 OSHA had announced it would move forward with the negotiated rulemaking process to update its cranes and derricks standard, but after five years little work had been done.

Then on October 9, 2008, OSHA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled “Cranes and Derricks in Construction,” which addresses the key hazards associated with construction cranes and derricks (CLICK HERE).

According to the proposed ruling, “employers would first determine whether the ground is sufficient to support the anticipated weight of hoisting equipment and associated loads. The employer then would be required to assess hazards within the work zone that would affect the safe operation of hoisting equipment, such as those of power lines and objects or personnel that would be within the work zone or swing radius of the hoisting equipment. Finally, the employer would be required to ensure that the equipment is in safe operating condition via required inspections and employees in the work zone are trained to recognize hazards associated with the use of the equipment and any related duties that they are assigned to perform.”

The period for submitting written comments has been extended to January 22 in order to allow parties, including contract glaziers, more time to review the proposed rule and collect information and data necessary for comments.

And for contract glaziers, safety is of paramount importance when it comes to working on the jobsite.

“In Chicago we have not seen many crane accidents, but nationally there have been many issues,” says Robert Martin, president of Arcadia Products Inc. in Northbrook, Ill. “Safety is absolutely our number-one concern. Our employees are our greatest asset and so safety in the field is a significant factor.”

Martin says in order to ensure employees are safe, his company follows a specific, written safety program.

“We also have weekly safety meetings and focus on safety training in classes.”

One means companies may look to when in comes to crane safety is OSHA’s recently launched National Crane Safety Initiative, which addresses safety hazards during construction crane operation. The initiative is designed to raise awareness on crane safety and increase enforcement of the current standards, including launching local emphasis programs in a number of regions to inspect high-rise construction, stakeholder outreach and additional training on crane safety.

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