More Info on OSHA’s Crane Ruling

This article is reprinted with permission from the NRLA, meant to provide more information and context about the situation we posted about last week. 

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Update on OSHA Crane Rule May 8, 2018

This is a reminder that the OSHA crane rules are scheduled to go into effect on November 10, 2018. As of that date, OSHA will be enforcing their new rules concerning cranes and derricks and, at this time, NRLA does not expect any further delays in the implementation of this rule. This rule includes articulating or knuckle boom cranes.

Beginning November 10, 2018, certain activities will require the operator to be certified to perform those activities. The training for a certified crane operator is not quick, simple, or cheap. Most approved instructors charge more than $1,000 per person for the certification process as it requires a two-day class, passing a written test on general knowledge and on articulating boom cranes, and then passing a practical test where the operator must physically perform certain actions in an articulating boom crane to show their competency and knowledge of the rules. These classes also have limited capacity and availability due to the time required to conduct the practical tests.

NRLA is providing members with the following overview of the rules.

Background

The rule was passed in 2010 and was originally set to be enforced starting November 10, 2014. The rule was postponed until November 10, 2017 because there were not enough certified trainers to conduct the necessary training and certification required, and was once again postponed in August of 2017 until November 10, 2018. This is a federal rule and will apply to all states.

This is an extensive rule that deals with various equipment from boom trucks all the way up to tower cranes. As part of the rulemaking process, there were some exemptions made, including some for the delivery of building materials to construction sites. The rule defines certain situations as being considered facilitation of the construction process; therefore, they would fall under the crane standard and would require the operator of an articulating or knuckle boom crane (as well as other cranes) to be certified to conduct construction activities.

What is NOT covered by the rule

The following activities are considered purely a function of delivery of materials and do not fall under the crane standard; therefore, do NOT require a certified operator to perform these activities:

1. Placing or stacking material on the ground without arranging in a particular sequence for further hoisting;

2. Placing trusses or other prefabricated components onto the ground without arranging them in a particular sequence for further hoisting;

3. Placing precast concrete elements on the ground without arranging them in a particular sequence for further hoisting.

What is EXEMPTED from the rule

There are other activities that are considered part of the crane standard, but have an exemption from requiring a certified operator to perform these activities; however, please note that for these listed activities to be exempted, the following must ALL apply:

1. The articulating crane must be equipped with a fork or cradle assembly directly attached (not suspended from the boom by a load line) AND;

2. The articulating crane must be equipped with a properly functioning automatic overload prevention device.

If you meet those two qualifications, then the following activities ARE EXEMPTED from the crane rule, meaning you will not need a certified operator to perform the following activities:

1. Placing or stacking material on the ground without arranging in a particular sequence for further hoisting;

2. Placing or stacking material on an elevated area of a structure (such as a balcony, upper deck, or roof) prior to being unpacked/unloaded from pallets;

3. Placing trusses or other prefabricated components onto the ground without arranging them in a particular sequence for further hoisting;

4. Placing precast concrete elements onto the ground without arranging them in a particular sequence for further hoisting;

5. Transferring sheet goods onto a structure, so long as the articulating crane is not used to hold, support, or stabilize the material in a way that facilitates construction – such as holding the material in place while it is attached to the structure;

6. Transferring packaged goods onto a structure, so long as the articulating crane is not used to hold, support, or stabilize the material in a way that facilitates construction – such as holding the material in place while it is attached to the structure.

What is NOT EXEMPTED from the rule

OSHA has listed specific activities that are NOT EXEMPTED from the rule; therefore, they would always require the use of a certified operator to perform these activities. These activities require a certified operator in ALL circumstances, whether or not the articulating crane has a fork or cradle assembly and/or a properly functioning automatic overload prevention device. These activities include:

1. Arranging materials on the ground in a particular sequence for further hoisting;

2. Holding, supporting, or stabilizing material in a way that facilitates construction – such as holding the material in place while it is attached to the structure;

3. Transferring a prefabricated component onto a structure;

4. Transferring a structural steel member onto a structure;

5. Placing a HVAC unit in its location of final use.

When materials are unloaded/unpacked from the cradle

There has also been debate and questions as to when the exemption concerning delivery and hoisting ends and an activity triggers the crane standard, which would mean that a certified operator would be required to perform the activity. The most common question we have seen is the following scenario:

An articulating crane is equipped with a fork or cradle assembly and with a properly functioning automatic overload prevention device, but is delivering dimensional lumber, drywall, or, other building materials (including materials on palettes) to a structure through an opening in the structure, such as a window or door. If the items were simply placed on the ground or directly onto the structure itself, the exemption would apply with these parameters, but what happens when an employee, either of the delivery company, the contractor, or a subcontractor, helps unload/unpack the materials from the boom, such as pulling dimensional lumber or drywall off of the cradle and placing it directly onto the structure.

Based on a June 23, 1016 OSHA Letter of Interpretation1 , because a worker has taken the step of unloading/unpacking the material, this activity does NOT fall under the exemption and would fall under the crane standard as it “facilitates the performance of a construction activity and are likely to be subjected to hazards typical to cranes and the roofs, upper decks, and balconies of the structures that are undergoing construction.”

Therefore, unless the delivery of the material can be done COMPLETELY without a worker, whether your employee or an employee of the contractor/subcontractor, physically unloading/unpacking the material once it is on the crane, the delivery requires the use of a certified operator to perform these activities

If there are any questions on this rule, please contact Jeff Keller, Director of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs, at 518-880-6376 or jkeller@nrla.org

 

OSHA’s Crane Ruling and the Certification Debate

Those in the U.S. construction industry should be aware that November 10, 2018 has been set as OSHA’s final deadline for employers to have their crane operators in compliance with their certifications.

And yet, there has been massive uncertainty about what those certification requirements should look like because OSHA has still not set a ruling about them, despite this process beginning in 2010 with the publication of the final cranes and derricks rule. According to an article published in Safety & Health, two major hurdles have delayed this rule: “The first was that the standard required certification for both the type of crane and its capacity…[but] two of the four accredited testing services were issuing certifications for ‘type’ of crane rather than ‘type and capacity.’” The other problem was that “ ‘certification’ did not mean a crane operator was competent or experienced enough to control a machine safely.”

However, a determination on what valid certifications truly are would help employers ensure that their crane operators actually have them. Further delays will only make that process all that much harder, which is why groups like the Associated General Contractors and the Coalition for Crane Operator Safety have been pushing Congress so that OSHA will finally move forward with this ruling.

If you’d like to personally contact your federal representatives in Congress to talk them about your concerns about why OSHA has not yet moved forward, you can start here to find out how to reach them.

 

Dual-Purpose Machine Q&A

On mMay 24th 2016, Cranes101 hosted a Round Table meeting to discuss the unique nature of these Dual-Purpose Machines. We were glad to have such a diverse group of attendees at the event, because they brought their own perspective and knowledge on the subject to share with the group. We started off the discussion by explaining the difference between Bucket Trucks and Cranes stability. Then the conversation opened and we enjoyed a great afternoon of Questions and Answer. Below, here are the highlights from our discussion:

Bucket Trucks: 

Understanding Stability

Per OSHA, refer to the ANSI A92.2 standards for the stability test requirements.

  • The stability test is required to be done by the upfitter, i.e.; the person(s) responsible for attaching the base to the chassis, one time.
  • Truck should be stable at 150% of load when at its worst condition, i.e.; stick straight out.
  • Truck should be able to turn 360°.
  • If truck passes above requirements, this would be the last time a stability check is needed, unless further repairs are done on the truck.

Questions from this section

Question: Does an outrigger repair qualify as “further repairs”?

Answer: Yes. If it is a typical repair, it would require re-certification.

Cranes:

Understanding Stability for Suspended Platforms

Per OSHA, refer to the ASME B30.5 standards for the stability test requirements.

  •  The stability test is required to be done every time you move the crane.
  • The procedure includes;
    • 5-minute suspension test with 25% of the weight attached
    • Weight must meet OSHA’s specifications
    • Test pick which cannot exceed 50% of the basket’s capacity
    • Needs to include your expected capacity in the basket
  • A pre-lift briefing is required at ever stability test. Those in attendance must include;
    • Lift Director
    • Person(s) going in basket

Questions from this section

Question: After the test pick is done, is there a requirement to document the pick?

Answer: It is not required. However, for liability purposes, whenever a pick or test is conducted there should be proper documentation.

Question: Why must my suspension test take 5-minutes?

Answer: This is an OSHA requirement.

 

***DOCUMENTATION beats CONVERSATION!***

If there’s a record of it, you won’t have to talk about whether it’s done or not.

meeting Jay speaker

General Discussion:

Question: How should I go about identifying a Dual-Purpose Machine?

Answer: To date, OSHA and ANSI do not make reference on how to define a dual-purpose machine, so there is no guideline to go by. This is a loaded question that can only be answered by opinion since there is no verbiage on this. The term “Dual-Purpose Machine” is a relatively new term. Manufacturers are still discussing how they are going to handle these machines. So, you can’t always depend on your manufacturer to determine if your machine is dual-purpose. To properly identify this machine, there might be a bit of investigating.

You should also note that

  • You can attach a basket to a crane without making it a dual-purpose machine in some instances
  • Not all manufactures identify a machine as a dual-purpose machine.

 

Question: If you cannot make the determination as to if the machine is dual-purpose or not, then what becomes the default standard?

Answer: Our opinion is to have the manufacturer make that determination.

 

Question: Are any manufacturers currently selling clearly identified Dual-Purpose Machines?

Answer: National Crane will be releasing this machine in 2016.

 

Question: How are range limits achieved?

Answer: With a bucket truck, they typically turn 360°. A crane’s range limits are dependent on mechanical limitations, and the operator needs to be aware of this to test those limits before getting into the basket.

 

Question: Does OSHA require a documented daily inspection?

Answer: No. However, you should check with your employer as they might require it. Also, in the state of Massachusetts, it is a requirement to document your daily inspections.

 

Question: Does OSHA require a documented monthly crane inspection?

Answer: Yes.

 

Question: What standards should I follow for my dual-purpose machine if it is configured as a crane?

Answer: You should follow the ASME B30.5 standards, unless you attach a bucket. Then, you would be required to follow the ASME B30.23 standards.

 

Question: Where is it recommended that I add my notes to document that I did a test pick on my suspended platform crane?

Answer: A suggestion would be right in the daily inspection log under the comment section.

 

Question: Does Massachusetts have the same definition for cranes as OSHA does?

Answer: No.

 

Question: In your opinion, what is the most common cause in accidents for both bucket trucks and cranes?

Answer: Lack of training.

 

Question: How do I know what standards I should be following? What makes that distinction?

Answer: You need to know what industry you are categorized in. The same machine can fall under different standards, depending on what they are being used for. You need to be educated on the different standards and how and when they apply.

Question: In the standards, there is no mention to “use this dual-purpose machine” when feasible. Shouldn’t there be?

Answer: Sometimes there are voids in the standards. This may have been done purposely in order to open discussion for revisions.

 

Question: The use of equipment to hoist employees is prohibited, except in the OSHA 1926 subpart CC. Why is that?

Answer: This is a perfect example of balancing liability. Without an incident, it may not be a safety issue. However, you may be setting yourself up for a liability issue.

 

Question: When a scenario comes up where you are bidding a job, whose responsibility is it to assign the proper equipment for the job?

Answer: There is usually mention in the contract that the contractor will follow the most stringent requirement that applies. This can also depend on the culture of the job.

 

Question: If ANSI and ASME are considered voluntary standards, then this means that they are not the law. Also, good practices and manufacturer’s recommendations are not the law. So, what exactly is the law?

Answer: You need to meet OSHA’s requirements every time. If OSHA refers to an ANSI or ASME standard, then it has now become a law. If OSHA says to refer to your manufacturer, then the referral you receive from them is now the law. The rules of good practices can always exceed OSHA’s requirements, however, they can never come short from what OSHA expects.

On a side note, for liability purposes, you should know that lawyers are not restricted to consensus standards. This means that it is important for the employer to have an understanding of the expectations from all areas.

 

Question: How does the operator protect themselves and know how to operate a Dual-Purpose machine safely?

Answer: The operator must read and understand the operator’s manual.

 

Question: Can a company be cited if there is proof that their operator did not read and understand the operator’s manual?

Answer: Yes.

 

Question: If the machine is built to the A92.2 standards, do you still have to do a load test?

Answer: Only if you can prove that it is built to the A92.2 standards by identifying it on the plate. If the machine has a winch on it, it is now a crane.

 

Question: What if the machines winch is not functioning, i.e.; tied off, and you are using the machine to change light bulbs. What standard do you use?

Answer: OSHA 1910 Standards; because you are not using the machine for construction.

 

Question: Should the supervisor know how to run a Dual-Purpose machine?
Answer: Yes. The supervisor and anyone running the machine should be trained on how to operate these machines. This will broaden the understanding of how to safely operate this machine.

 

Question: What prevents an operator from flipping the switch and using the machine in a different way?

Answer: That has to come from management and discipline, separate from training. In our opinion, altering the functionality of the machine in any way that is unsafe or incorrect would be means for dismissal. This message needs to be clearly understood. Furthermore, having documentation that the operator has signed and understood how the machine is to be operated is a good practice for liability.

 

Question: Is there ever a time where working near power lines or radio towers causes interference?

Answer: Yes. When working with radio towers that has happened.

 

Question: How does the employer ensure safe operation of a Dual-Purpose Machine; or any piece of equipment for that matter?

Answer: Qualify the operator and document it.

 

Question: What are some suggestions for the manufacturer to best provide a safe machine?

Answer: Involve the operator/end-user when they are designing the machine.

Everyone Should See This: Downed Power Lines

Please watch this short video. This applies to the general public regarding downed power lines and the safety precautions to take if you ever find yourself in this situation. This information is vital and could be the different between life and death.

A big “Thank You” to Dave Grafton of Grafton Consulting Services for sharing this with us.

A Year of Injuries, and Lessons

 

This article was posted on the U.S. Department of Labor Blog

Filed in Español, Safety By Dr. David Michaels on March 17, 2016

In January 2015, we started requiring employers to report any work-related severe injury – such as an amputation or an injury requiring hospitalization – within 24 hours. In the first year, we received 10,388 reports, or nearly 30 a day.

Each report told the story of a man or woman who went to work one day and experienced a traumatic event, sometimes with permanent consequences to themselves and their families. But the reports also created opportunities for OSHA to engage with employers in ways we had never done before, and to ensure that changes were made to prevent similar incidents from happening to others.

hospitalizations

We learned things that surprised us, encouraged us and sometimes disappointed us. Today, we published a report of our evaluation that features stories from our offices around the country and reflects on lessons learned in the first year.

Our two main goals for the new reporting requirement were to engage more employers in identifying and eliminating serious hazards themselves, and to allow us to better target our enforcement and compliance assistance efforts to places where workers are most at risk. After reviewing the field reports and associated data, we are confident that both goals are being met.

A few examples explain how:

  • In Chicago, a conveyor loaded with liquid chocolate suddenly started up as a worker was cleaning a roller. Her arm was pulled in and mangled so badly that she required a plate and skin grafting. To prevent future injuries, the employer installed metal guards to shield workers’ arms and hands from moving machinery as well as warning alarms and flashing lights that are activated 20 seconds before the conveyor moves.
  • In Idaho, a valve cover (long known to be problematic) snapped shut on the hand of a truck driver who was loading a tanker, severing his fingertip. After the amputation, the employer devised a new hands-free tool for closing the valve, and alerted the manufacturer and other employers likely to use the same equipment.
  • At a sawmill, a chipper operator’s arm was amputated after he tried to clear a conveyor jam. In response, the owner suspended operations for a week and made improvements that went far beyond what OSHA required, including installing electrical shut-offs within easy reach of all workers, placing catwalks around the entire mill, and providing handheld radios for all employees.

In these cases and many more, employers worked closely with OSHA specialists to protect the safety and health of their workers. In fact, we responded to more than half of all injury reports  not by sending inspectors to the scene but by asking employers to conduct their own incident investigations and propose remedies to prevent future injuries.

At other times, the reported hazards warranted a worksite inspection, and we were able to investigate the incident and determine whether hazards remained.

But we were also disappointed by a handful of employers who went to great lengths to conceal injuries or hazards. In one stunning example, a manufacturer tried to hide an entire production line from OSHA inspectors after a staffing agency reported the amputation of a worker’s finger. Inspectors who uncovered the back room found a row of machinery with exposed parts that could have caused other workers to lose their fingers.

While we have made progress toward ensuring that severe injuries are quickly reported, we believe a sizable proportion of these types of injuries are still not being reported. That’s why we’re developing outreach strategies, including working through insurers, first responders, and business organizations to ensure that all employers know of their obligations to report severe injuries. Those who choose not to report should know that, now that the requirement is in its second year, OSHA is more likely to cite for non-reporting, and we have increased the maximum penalty for not reporting a severe injury from $2,000 to $7,000.

We will continue to evaluate the program and make changes to improve its effectiveness. To help protect the safety and health of the nation’s workers, it is essential that employers report all severe injuries, either by phone or online. Learn more at osha.gov/report.

Dr. David Michaels is the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.