Archive for June, 2015

Annual Dielectric Test Required?

Question: I have an insulated bucket truck. Does it need to have an annual dielectric test if I’m not an electrician?

bucket truck dielectric

Answer: The short answer is YES. Ask yourself this question. Is there a chance that you may get near anything that may be charged electrically in the upcoming year? I mean ANYTHING (A tree, building, telephone pole, lit sign…..) If you can’t answer no to that question, your answer is yes.

Update on Operator Certification and Recent OSHA Meeting in D.C.

Most of you who read this will be familiar with the draft proposed recently by OSHA regarding crane operator qualification which would replace the original wording of the 1926 (subpart CC) section 1427. This is the section where the operator certification and qualification requirements are covered. Copy and paste the following link to read the entire proposed draft:

In a nutshell, the draft was a rewrite of what qualifies and/or certifies an equipment operator, which includes a variety of crane types. In particular, the draft as written would require an extensive annual evaluation of the operator and require that the operator attend a very strenuous training program. The ‘proposed draft’ changed the current wording which states that operators are to be “certified by type and capacity of equipment” to “operators are to be certified by type of equipment.

As you might expect, there was an adverse reaction to this proposed draft, especially by employers of crane and equipment operators, since an annual evaluation of each operator would be extremely time-consuming and costly. Personally, I was not surprised by this proposed draft. I knew change was coming when OSHA extended the operator certification date because of the opposition of certain groups over operators having to be certified by type and capacity. Also, it was pretty obvious that OSHA had given serious thought to the subject of cranes, particularly to personnel who operate them, that certification did not equal qualification and there should be a greater emphasis on operator training, assessment and evaluation.

OSHA scheduled an ACCSH (Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health) meeting on March 2, to discuss the proposed draft. ACCSH is a 15-member advisory body that provides advice and assistance in construction and policy matters to the assistant secretary. ACCSH meetings are open to the public and are announced in the Federal Register. As you would expect, the room was full. CIC was represented by Tony Brown, Jeff Dudley, Pete Walsh and myself. Tony and I signed up to be speakers. When it came our time to speak, Tony and I both recommended to the ACCSH committee that the language requiring operators to be certified by type and capacity should remain in the regulation.

We made this recommendation based on the following reasoning: Half of the four accredited certification organizations (NCCER and CIC) developed their certification programs by type and capacity because OSHA said that would be the requirement. It just would not be fair to these organizations to change the original requirement for certification which was by type and capacity and force them to change their programs. That would not only be unfair, it defies common sense!

[I understand] there are operators that have certifications which are based on type only. Requiring them to be certified by type and capacity would cause them to be disenfranchised. Therefore, we recommended to the ACCSH committee that not only should type and capacity be left in the regulation, but the regulation should also allow operators to be certified by type. The standard would ultimately read that operators of equipment be certified by type and capacity or by type. We felt like this would satisfy all of the certification organizations and would be fair to all of them as well.

The next day, the ACCSH committee recommended by motion several things to OSHA. First, that OSHA needs to rework the operator evaluation and re-evaluation language and that type and capacity be put back into the rewrite of 1427. This would result in operators having the choice of being certified by type and capacity or by type only. ACCSH also recommended that OSHA clarify whether a trainer be certified or certified and qualified and that OSHA develop some reasonable definition of who the controlling contractor would be on the job site.

I’ve always been a little skeptical of OSHA and its control in the workplace. However, after attending the ACCSH meeting I have a lot more respect for OSHA and what it does to protect workers. I was also very pleased with the meeting and have great admiration for the members of the ACCSH committee. Some of these members might not have even known what a crane was when the meeting first started, but they came up to speed very quickly and were very astute to the issues being presented. They made appropriate motions and recommendations to OSHA regarding the most important points of the proposed draft.

So this is what we can be assured of: OSHA is going to require that operators be evaluated on a periodic basis with signed documentation by an evaluator. There will be more stringent training requirements which will have to be documented along with the periodic evaluations. In other words, people will have to attend more of a professional type training program which covers the topics outlined in the proposed draft. It was also expressed that OSHA would like to get all of this done by year’s end. So now we just have to wait for OSHA to do their work and present another rewrite of what was previously proposed. It will then have to go through the process and hopefully by year’s end all of this can be done and this certification issue can be put to bed, and the industry can move forward in a direction that would help more men and women go home safely at the end of the work day.

– Jay Sturm

Fatal Staten Island Roof Collapse Could Have Been Avoided: OSHA


A demolition worker’s death at a Staten Island car dealership could have been avoided if his employer had complied with federal safety rules, according to findings by Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors.

Delfino Jesus Velazquez Mendizabal, 43, died Nov. 28 after a concrete roof at the dealership on a service road off the Shore Expressway partially collapsed.

The OSHA investigation found that Formica Construction disregarded several safety protocols that could have prevented the collapse, including failing to determine the building’s stability, to conduct inspections to identify safety hazards, to train its employees to recognize hazards and to keep a records of on-the-job injuries and illnesses.

Investigators said the construction company also ignored safety regulations by removing load-supporting sections of walls and floors of the building before upper-level sections had been demolished.

OSHA has fined Formica Construction $121,000 for the violations. A comment from the company was not immediately available.

Four construction workers were inside the building at the time of the roof collapse, but three were able to get out by themselves. Police and firefighters extricated Velazquez Mednizabal, who was found in the debris. He was taken to Richmond University Medical Center where he died, police said.

The building was an old Dana dealership that was being demolished, according to Ironhorse Development, which is part of the construction project. The new Dana dealership is next door.

What is ‘Dynamic Loading”?

The simplest description of dynamic loading is the effect felt by the weight of the load times the speed of it. Accidents created by dynamic loading probably follow this logic. You’re lifting 10,000 lbs. It’s 80% of your cranes capacity and the wind is making it sway 30’ side to side. You are now exerting more than 10,000 lbs of stress on the boom (dynamically) and even a great mathematician would need time to calculate if you’re still in your chart. sport-graphics-weightlifting

To witness this effect at home, go down to the basement a grab one of your heaviest dumbbells.

Wipe the dust of it, lift it up in one hand and stand up straight. (Quit moaning, you can do it!!).

Now try standing up straight while swinging it side-to-side, then front to back.

See how much heavier it gets?

That’s “dynamic loading”.


Drivers can track construction, accidents with Mi Drive mobile app

Drivers in Michigan now have an easy way to track construction and other types of roadway delays, and in real time.

The Mi Drive app for mobile devices was launched about six months ago and has been helping motorists ever since.

It’s been downloaded more than 40,000 times since it launched in November, is free, and is kept up to date with construction, accidents and other types of delays. The app also gives access to state funded traffic cameras for an actual view of the roadways ahead.

“The summer driving season is always hectic but it’s no secret there’s work to be done on our aging infrastructure,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “Part of MDOT’s job is not only to do the best job we can maintaining Michigan’s transportation infrastructure with the resources available, but also to keep motorists safe, informed, and mobile. Mi Drive does a great job of helping MDOT serve the public.”

According to the Pew Research Center’s April 1 report “U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015″, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 40 percent of smartphone owners look up government services or information. Connect Michigan has found 1.4 million Michiganders access the Internet daily on their smartphones.

Mi Drive uses Intelligent Transportation Systems technology, speed sensors, cameras and cell phone data to provide motorists with real-time information about factors that can affect travel. The site currently displays real-time traffic camera views, real-time color-coded speeds on major routes, message boards, work zones, rest areas and Welcome Centers across Michigan, MDOT carpool lots, and National Weather Service forecasts by city name or zip code.

The app is available for both android and Apple users, and can be downloaded from iTunes, Google Play or directly from

The Mi Drive website and app are maintained by MDOT; the Department of Technology, Management and Budget; the state’s Center for Shared Solutions & Technology Partnerships; and the ITS program office within the MDOT Operations Field Services Division. First launched in 2007, the site has been revamped several times. A mobile version was introduced in 2011 and the app was rolled out on Nov. 12.