- OSHA released its Final Rule Thursday, extended its deadline for crane operators to be certified by one year to Nov. 10, 2018. Now in effect, the rule also pushed back the employer duty that crane operators must be competent to safely operate a crane for the same amount of time, according to the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators.
- Concerns have arisen about whether operators need to be certified by crane type and its lifting capacity, and if certification alone means that an operator is qualified. OSHA says the delay will allow sufficient time to address those issues.
- The delay comes just one day before the requirement was scheduled to be implemented.
Thursday's announcement comes shortly after OSHA announced in September that it was considering pushing the rule's implementation back and marks the second time since 2014 that OSHA has delayed new crane operator guidelines.
Cranes are vital to jobsite operations — 14 major North American cities play host to nearly 400 fixed cranes — but with them come a host of risks.
A February 2016 crane collapse in Manhattan killed one pedestrian and injured three. In response, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered cranes throughout the city be secured and implemented a four-point construction crane safety plan.
Construction groups organized against the regulations, though, saying that the mandate to store cranes when winds reach 20 mph necessitated frequent starting and stopping, which had negative logistical and financial ramifications. A crane safety working group later appealed to the city to phase out older cranes in favor of more modern, safer models.
More recently, a crane incident involved a construction worker being killed in Boston in September 2016 and a July 2016 crane collapse on the $4 billion Tappan Zee Bridge project. Four were injured, but no one was killed.
Not only must crane safety account for accidents, but it's also a concern in the face of natural disasters. Prior to Hurricane Irma's landfall earlier this year, construction companies scrambled to secure cranes. Southern Florida alone had 25 cranes in the Miami area that could not be taken down.
Three cranes ended up collapsing, reported the Miami Herald, though no injuries were reported. In 2008, Miami-Dade county tried to pass a requirement that cranes be able to sustain 140 mph winds, but was later dismissed after an industry coalition sued to block the law.