OSHA Plans to Publish Long-Awaited Crane Regulation

OSHA announced on Thursday that a proposed rule for cranes and derricks in construction will soon be published in the Federal Register. Once the document has been published, a public comment period will begin, according to the OSHA website.

“The cranes and derricks proposed rule comprehensively addresses the hazards associated with the use of cranes and derricks in construction, including tower cranes,” said Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. “This draft rule will both protect construction employees and help prevent crane accidents by updating existing protections and requiring crane operators to be trained in the use of construction cranes.”

The cranes and derricks proposed rule would apply to the estimated 96,000 construction cranes in the United States, including 2,000 tower cranes, according to an OSHA press release. The proposed standard addresses key safety issues associated with cranes, including ground conditions, the assembly and disassembly of cranes, the operation of cranes near power lines, the certification and training of crane operators, the use of safety devices and signals, and inspections of cranes.

The document significantly updates existing tower crane requirements and more comprehensively addresses tower crane safety, with respect both to erecting and dismantling, and to crane operations. It would establish four options for the qualification or certification of crane operators: (1) certification through an accredited third-party testing organization, (2) qualification through an audited employer testing program, (3) qualification issued by the U.S. military and (4) qualification by a state or local licensing authority.

The proposed rule will likely be published in the Federal Register on October 3, 2008, according to the OSHA website. A draft of the document can be found here.