Overdue OSHA Rule Will Improve Safety Conditions for Crane Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is finally setting new safety standards for cranes and derrick use in the construction industry. OSHA estimates the new standards will save 22 lives and prevent 175 injuries every year.

Among other things, the standards require additional safety measures designed to prevent falls and electrocution, two leading causes of death and injury, and set up more advanced training and certification requirements. “It also sets requirements for ground conditions and crane operator assessment,” OSHA said.

The final rule, published in today’s Federal Register, is the product of almost a decade’s worth of work: OSHA first announced its intention to develop the rule in July 2002. To help write the proposed rule, OSHA established a negotiated rulemaking committee consisting of representatives of both industry and labor. The committee completed its work in 2004.

But inexplicably, OSHA did not publish the proposal until October 2008 – more than four years later. The delay prompted much criticism of the Bush administration.

Thankfully, the drama of the rulemaking has passed, and workers can begin to receive the protection they deserve. The rule goes into effect Nov. 8, though employers will not need to comply with certain provisions of the rule for up to four years.

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