SC&RA Expresses Support of C-DAC Document

Five representatives of the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA), Fairfax, Va., met with officials at the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) on July 28 to emphasize their continuing support of the consensus document agreed to by the Crane and Derrick Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee (C-DAC).

In July 2003, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) appointed 23 individuals to C-DAC for the express purpose of recommending a proposal for a construction safety standard for cranes and derricks. That standard was last updated in 1971. C-DAC members represented all facets of the industry affected by the standard.

After a year of diligent efforts, C-DAC negotiated all aspects of the proposed new standard by July 2004, satisfying OSHA's deadline requirements. Not until over two years later, in August 2006, did OSHA convene the required Small Business Advisory Review Panel on the forthcoming regulatory proposal. The review panel issued its report in October 2006, five days after the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) unanimously supported the OSHA draft proposed standard as written and urged OSHA to move forward with all deliberate speed to issue the due standard.

It has only recently moved to OMB, where it is expected to be subject to review for 30 to 90 days. Testifying before OMB were Beth O'Quinn, SC&RA vice president, Graham Brent, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, and three SC&RA members who served on C-DAC • Doug Williams, Buckner Companies; Bill Smith, NBIS Construction & Transport Underwriters Inc.; and Robert Weiss, Cranes, Inc.

Robert Weiss pointed out that the current safety standard for cranes and derricks "has exactly five short sentences devoted to tower cranes, the most complex and, given their great height, potentially dangerous type of crane out there," he said. "C-DAC's proposed standard, on the other hand, has 14 full pages devoted to tower crane specific items, including erecting, climbing and dismantling, safety devices, operational aids and inspections."

Doug Williams said the existing standard is challenging to use because it references a number of other standards, whereas the standard proposed by C-DAC is all-inclusive and clearly spells out requirements. The masses of smaller businesses within the industry simply lack the resources to research and interpret the requirements scattered over many documents, according to Williams.

Bill Smith focused on two areas covered by the standard proposed by C-DAC • signals and training. He demonstrated incorrect hand signals to help explain how lack of signal person training could result in injuries and fatalities. He also said the industry needs the proposal's clear definition and delineation of jobsite responsibilities. "You can't just pop in a video, turn the lights off and think that constitutes training," he said.

Graham Brent explained how the requirements for crane operator certification stipulated in the standard proposed by C-DAC can help to save lives, protect life, limb and property and make the worksite a safer place. "The financial impact on the crane operator and his or her employer would be far greater if OMB does not act to publish this rule since this will serve to promote licensing at state, county or even city level," Brent said. In the four years since C-DAC had finished its work, six states had enacted crane operator certification requirements, and at least six more, and several cities, had introduced legislation or were in the process of drafting it, he said.

In closing, Beth O'Quinn emphasized SC&RA's support for operator certification, training and the enforcement of unified standards. She urged OMB to more forward with the promulgation of the standard as written by C-DAC.

"We have the opportunity to ensure lives and property throughout the United States are no longer put at risk because of antiquated standards," she said. "We ask that you not allow the work accomplished by the members of C-DAC, and the industries they represented, to have been done in vain. Not only would that be a disservice to those on C-DAC, but the industry as a whole."