Impacts of New OSHA Crane Safety Regulations
By Scott Day
In the fall of 2010, OSHA adopted comprehensive new safety regulations for cranes. Like new OSHA regulations in the past, it has taken construction industry firms a couple of years to sort out the requirements of these new crane safety regulations and make the necessary adjustments to their business operations to ensure compliance.
While the text of the new crane regulations consists of about 33 pages of new requirements, I want to draw your attention to a few of the most significant requirements that could affect your masonry business.
You can read the complete text of the new OSHA Subpart CC Cranes and Derricks regulations by browsing to the OSHA website at www.osha.gov.
1) Crane Operator Qualification/Certification (1926.1427) – Probably the most significant new requirement for cranes in construction is that all crane operators must be qualified or certified to operate the type and capacity of crane(s) that they will be operating. There are four options for becoming qualified or certified described in the regulations. However, only one option will be a viable option for most construction employers in North Carolina and that is to have their operators certified by an ANSI or NCCA accredited crane operator testing organization. Currently there are only a handful of such organizations in the US. One of which is the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education & Research).
The ABC Carolinas chapter maintains an NCCER Accredited Assessment Center with an endorsement to certify Crane Operators, Riggers and Crane Signal Persons. The certification process consists of a written knowledge assessment and a practical skills examination. Operator candidates are not required to take any training course prior to taking the knowledge assessments and practical examinations however; doing so substantially improves the success rate during the assessments. The ABC Carolinas chapter has also agreed to extend discounted training registration for these and other safety training programs to NCMCA member firms, so please inquire when registering. All crane operators must meet this certification requirement by November 2014.
2) Crane Signal Person Qualifications (1926.1428) – Employees directing crane operators with hand, verbal or radio signals must now meet new minimum qualification requirements. The OSHA regulations allow companies to use either a Third Party Qualified Evaluator or an in-house Employer’s Qualified Evaluator to qualify your crane signal persons. Minimum Crane Signal Person qualifications requirements include: 1) The signal person must know and understand the type of signals used. If hand signals are used the signal person must know and understand the ASME Standard method hand signals. 2) The signal person must be competent in the application of the type of signals used. 3) The signal person must have a basic understanding of equipment operation and limitations, including the crane dynamics involved with swinging and stopping loads and boom deflection from hoisting loads. 4) The signal person must know and understand the relevant requirements of the OSHA regulations pertaining to crane signaling. 5) The crane signal person must demonstrate that they meet the previous requirements through an oral or written test, and through a practical test. The new crane regulations also require employers to have documentation of the signal person’s qualifications available at the site.
3) Crane Inspection Requirements (1926.1412 – 1926.1413) – There are now more comprehensive requirements for the inspection of cranes. The OSHA regulations specifies crane inspections at the following times: 1) After certain types of modifications, 2) After certain types of repairs or adjustments, 3) After being assembled at the site, 4) Each shift prior to operation, 5) Monthly, 6) Annually, 7) Following severe service. Documentation of the monthly and annual inspections is required.
There are also a number of other new crane safety requirements in Subpart CC related to ground conditions, assembly and disassembly of cranes, power line safety, safety devices required on cranes, operational aids required on cranes, operation safety, fall protection on cranes, employee training, hoisting personnel, equipment modifications, and multiple crane lifts to name a few.
These new Subpart CC requirements apply to all cranes used in construction. Forklifts are not considered to be cranes and are specifically excluded from these requirements EXCEPT when configured to hoist and lower (by means of a winch or hook) and horizontally move a suspended load.
Hoisting a suspended load rigged directly to the forks or fork carriage of your forklift is already addressed by a letter of interpretation from OSHA that prohibits employers from hoisting suspended loads rigged directly to the forks/carriage without written approval from the forklift manufacturer.
Many forklift manufacturers will not grant such approval. Hoisting loads attached to the forklift with a lifting attachment device approved by the forklift manufacturer is allowed by OSHA.
In either case when a telescopic extended reach “Lull” type forklift is used to hoist and lower suspended loads the forklift could now be considered a crane and the use of your forklift could now be subject to the Subpart CC Crane safety regulations including Crane Operator Certification described above.
I have requested an additional letter of interpretation from OSHA to further address and clarify this issue so that all member firms will know what is required to comply.
My letter requesting this interpretation can be viewed at this link (www.ncmca.com/images/stories/newsletterImages/safedayletterfeb2012.pdf) or call me and request a copy. I will share OSHA’s response with you all as soon as I receive it.
Scott Day is the president and owner of SafeDay Inc., an occupational safety and health consulting firm for the construction industry based in Winston-Salem, N.C. Contact Scott at (336) 462-5741 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This article first appeared in North Carolina Masonry News.