OSHA Proposes New Rule to Ensure Crane Operators are Qualified
Although cranes are indispensable on many construction sites, they require a large amount of training and expertise in order to operate safely. As a result, OSHA recently proposed a rule to ensure crane operators are qualified to operate equipment.
The proposed rule’s main provisions would clarify certification requirements and reinstate an employer’s duty to ensure employees are qualified:
- Certification categories would change to let more operators meet OSHA requirements
- A requirement for operator certifications to include crane lifting capacity would be discontinued
- Employer requirements for ensuring crane operators have sufficient training, certification and licensing would be extended and clarified
OSHA also published a final rule extending the operator certification compliance date until Nov. 10, 2018, to address employer concerns related to the cranes and derricks in construction standard.
For more information on the proposed rule, see OSHA’s full publication in the Federal Register.
According to OSHA, a Maine-based roofing contractor has ignored numerous safety standards and exposed workers to significant fall risks for a number of years. OSHA cited the contractor – which has operated under the names Lessard Roofing & Siding and Lessard Brothers Construction – for safety violations at 11 different worksites between 2000 and 2011. However, the contractor failed to address the citations or pay any of the issued fines.
In 2011- after Lessard initially failed to address the OSHA citations – the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the contractor to correct the worksite violations, implement appropriate safety measures and pay accumulated fines with interest. Now, the court has held Lessard’s owner in civil contempt for defying the original 2011 order.
As a part of the recent court ruling, Lessard must do the following:
- Provide financial documentation to demonstrate the contractor’s ability to pay the $389,685 in outstanding OSHA fines.
- Ensure that employees and contractors use required safety equipment and fall protection.
- Conduct worksite safety analyses and meetings.
- Employ a competent person to ensure work proceeds according to OSHA regulations.
- Give OSHA details about each of the contractor’s worksites so the agency can conduct safety inspections.
Falls from ladders and roofs still account for the majority of injuries at work. In fact, fall protection violations are one of OSHA’s most frequent citations every year, with 6,072 issued in 2017 alone. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how to protect workers is the first step in eliminating or reducing fall hazards. Contact us at 831-661-5697 for OSHA programs, presentations and training materials you can use to protect your employees and avoid costly fines.
OSHA recently developed a standard for confined spaces in the construction industry (29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA). These spaces can present conditions that are immediately dangerous to your workers’ lives or health if not properly identified, evaluated, tested and controlled. As a result, preparing to respond to an accident in a confined space is just as important as training workers to enter them.
One provision of the standard requires employers to develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services in permit-required confined spaces. Any employer who relies on local emergency services for assistance is required to meet the applicable requirements of the OSHA standard.
However, not all rescue services or emergency responders are trained or equipped to conduct rescues in confined spaces. When you identify an off-site rescue service, it is critical that the rescuers can protect your employees. The emergency services should be familiar with the exact site location, the types of permit-required confined spaces and the necessary rescue equipment.
Pre-planning for a rescue will ensure that the emergency service is capable, available and prepared to save your workers.
Before the start of any rescue operation, you must evaluate prospective emergency responders, and select one that has the following traits:
- Adequate equipment for rescues, such as the following:
- Atmospheric monitors
- Fall protection
- Extraction equipment
- Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for the particular permit-required confined space
- The ability to respond and conduct a rescue in a timely manner based on the site conditions, and the capability to conduct a rescue if faced with potential hazards specific to the space. These hazards may include the following:
- Atmospheric hazards
- Flooding or engulfment
- Poor lighting
- Chemical hazards
- The ability to notify you in the event that the rescue team becomes unavailable.
To ensure the safety of your workers, you must take a proactive role in securing the services of emergency responders. This includes finding the most efficient way of contacting emergency responders, conducting a tour of the project site with them and communicating any changes made to the site before a rescue becomes necessary.
Communicating With Emergency Responders
Talking with emergency responders about the hazards they might encounter during a rescue will assist in preparing for the situation. The following are some questions responders should be able to answer when you request their services:
- Are you able to respond and conduct a rescue in a timely manner based on the site conditions?
- Do you have the appropriate equipment for response and rescue?
- Are you prepared for the hazards identified at the project site?
- Are you aware of the exact location of the work site? This includes information on access routes, gates, site plans and GPS coordinates.
- Can you visit the site and hold a practice rescue?
- What is the best way to contact you? How would I communicate any changes to site conditions throughout the project?
- Could other emergencies or group training preclude you from responding, and how will that be communicated?
Complying with OSHA’s new standard will protect your workers and save you from costly penalties. Contact us today at 831-661-5697; we can provide you with our comprehensive resource, “Permit-required Confined Spaces in Construction Program and Training Materials.”