Tower Crane Use in Philadelphia Faces Tough Safety Guidelines

Earlier this month, Mayor Michael Nutter signed into law guidelines specific to the use of a tower crane in the city of Philadelphia, Pa. Termed one of the toughest crane-safety laws in the country, the legislation writes guidelines for the erection, use and inspection of a tower crane.

The bill, drafted by Councilman James Kenney, establishes stiff certification requirements for crane operators, riggers, and inspectors. It also codifies standards for equipment and bonding for crane companies, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I am proud that Philadelphia is leading the way in construction-site safety,” Nutter said during the signing, which was attended by members of the crane industry.

Sarah Sachdev, legislative assistant to Councilman Kenney, explained that while the state of Pennsylvania has operator certification legislation in place, Kenney’s aim was to target tower cranes specifically. The legislation, she said, “is specific to tower cranes and provides comprehensive regulations. The state legislation relates to certification for operators of all cranes.”

Under the new legislation, before a tower crane can be erected in Philadelphia, certain information about the crane must be disclosed and a Certificate of Insurance (min. $15 million) must be filed, Sachdev told Lift and Access 360. “When a tower crane is being erected, jumped, lowered or dismantled, a qualified person trained specifically for the tower crane being used will be required to supervise the operation, and a designated safety representative must be present,” she added.

Also, in order to operate a tower crane, the operator must be certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators or another organization that is NCCA- or ANSI-accredited, Sachdev said. And, by Oct. 9, 2010, all individuals providing hand signals, verbal communications or rigging duties must be certified by NCCCO or another organization whose program is NCCA-or ANSI-accredited.

“Additionally, this legislation requires the inspection of the tower crane immediately following the erection of the crane and the jumping or lowering of a crane,” said Sachdev.