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New construction crane standard draws closer

OSHA's Crane and Derrick Negotiated Rulemaking Committee (CDAC) recently reached consensus on language for a revised crane and derrick standard for construction. The draft will be submitted to OSHA chief John Henshaw and continue through the rulemaking process.

Key provisions of the proposal include:

  • The scope section covers a wide range of new types of cranes that have been developed over the past 30 years.

  • A qualified person must address a list of key hazards associated with equipment assembly and disassembly.

  • Ground conditions must be made adequate for crane set-up to help prevent tip-overs.

  • In order to prevent electrocution, a leading cause of crane-related fatalities, employers must choose from a list of options to ensure that equipment does not come within a prescribed distance of power lines. When working closer than that distance, a specified list of measures must be taken.

  • After a phase-in period, crane operators will have to be certified by either: 1) any crane operator-testing organization approved by a nationally recognized accrediting agency; or 2) the employer’s own qualification program, which must be audited by a testing organization approved auditor.

  • Signal persons must meet specified qualification requirements.

  • Requirements for cranes on barges have been updated.

  • Safety devices, operational aids, signals, specific types of equipment (such as derricks and tower cranes), inspections, wire rope, prototype design and testing, crushing and overhead hazards, fall protection and equipment modification are also addressed.

    The committee was established in June 2003 to function as a part of OSHA’s rulemaking process to revise the existing standards for cranes and derricks in construction.

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