Orlando Passes Crane Safety Ordinance

Yesterday, the City of Orlando, Fla., approved a new crane safety ordinance, effective immediately, which addresses both mobile and tower cranes. The ordinance calls for uniform erection procedures and describes hurricane and high-wind preparedness. To be issued a permit, crane users must file a site plan and documentation showing crane operator qualifications, crane inspections, and signaling requirements. According to Bruce Whitten, chairman of the Florida Crane Owners Council, Orlando's ordinance contains “cohesive language” and is a “sensible solution.”

Over the past few months, building department officials met with various members of organizations including the Florida Crane Owners Council, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida, the Associated General Contractors of Florida, the Construction Association of South Florida and the American Sub-Contractors Association, to discuss and outline language for this ordinance, Whitten said.

Chapter 13, Article III of the Code of the City of Orlando calls for a uniform standard for the erection of tower cranes and mobile cranes within the city on buildings that are greater than three stories in height. Exceptions include small mobile cranes or mobile cranes that are used for fewer than 15 days per year.

A site plan must be filed with the city in order to obtain permits. The site plan must identify the location of the crane, clearances from power lines, the location of adjacent buildings, and the structural foundation of the crane. In addition, documentation must be provided showing the crane operator's qualifications, that crane inspections have been performed by a qualified crane inspector, that crane lighting meets FAA requirements, and what communication and signaling requirements will be used with the operation of the crane.

Additionally, the ordinance requires that cranes abide by manufacturer's recommendations for working in high winds. Other precautions include lubricating tower crane turntables, laying down or retracting mobile crane booms, and removing rigging.

“Representatives with the city of Orlando have stated that they want to help interested parties bring a proposed bill back before the legislature in Tallahassee,” Whitten said. “Ultimately Orlando does not want to have to enforce or regulate any stronger safety standards than what they have passed, as they feel that effort belongs to the state or the federal government.”