North Carolina Continues to Consider Cranes and Derricks Rule

The North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL) continues to move forward with plans to adopt its own safety rule for cranes and derricks. "As is evidenced by recent events involving crane operations throughout the United States, accidents, injuries and fatalities resulting from ineffective regulation of the crane industry remain unacceptably high," according to the Notice of Text and Rules filed by NCDOL on Nov. 20, 2008. NCDOL's proposed rule mirrors, with a few minor exceptions, the proposed agreement submitted to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on July 13, 2004, by the 23-member Cranes and Derricks Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee (C-DAC).

Doug Williams, president of the Buckner Companies, Graham, N.C., was SC&RA's official representative on C-DAC. His state is among a number of jurisdictions that have moved forward with their own rulemakings after the federal proposed standards stalled under the Bush administration. As noted in last week's issue of this newsletter, SC&RA continues to advocate the proposed federal rule, with Williams and other representatives from SC&RA member companies testifying on behalf of the rule before OSHA March 17-20.

In the meantime, Chip Pocock, Buckner's safety and risk manager, and Hugh Pratt, Insulatus Inc., Valley City, Ohio, have continued to work with North Carolina officials within that state's rulemaking process. That process had been delayed by objections from Duke Energy concerning digger derricks. After Pocock recently proposed excluding digger derricks when used in the utility industry, the proposed state rule is headed back to the Rules Review Board for reconsideration on April 16. The new state standard originally was scheduled to go into effect on April 1. In addition to working to advance the proposed North Carolina rule, Pratt was among those who advocated the proposed federal rule in testimony at the March OSHA sessions.