ASSE Issues Statement on Crane Safety

Recent tragic crane events in New York City and Miami have raised public awareness of the hazards associated with crane and derrick operations and the need for greater worker protection. Approximately 80 construction workers are killed each year due to crane and derrick accidents, with an estimated 263 injuries per year. While lack of training is perceived as a leading contributor to these accidents, misuse of equipment and the use of wrong equipment also are key issues. Equipment failure appears to be the primary factor in the recent high-profile crane incidents, ASSE states.

For guidance in managing safety risks associated with cranes and derricks, ASSE's members fully support the B30 Safety Standards for Cableways, Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Hooks, Jacks, and Slings. Information on these standards can be found at http://cstools.asme.org/csconnect/CommitteePages.cfm?Committee=L01200000. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers is the secretariat for these standards.

ASSE encourages any government regulation of cranes and derricks to look first to these voluntary consensus standards. Members urged such an approach in 2007 when the Washington State legislature addressed crane safety. ASSE's comment can be found at www.asse.org/professionalaffairs/govtaffairs/state_communication.php.

The existing OSHA crane and derrick standards were published between 1967 and 1969. An effort to update those standards was begun in 2002 through the negotiated rulemaking process. Information on the progress of this rulemaking can be found at www.osha.gov. In 2004, the Crane and Derricks Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee submitted its proposal for revised crane and derricks standards to OSHA. OSHA announced that the committee had reached consensus in July 2004 through a press release also available at www.osha.gov.

While ASSE urges OSHA to advance this rulemaking as soon as possible, members believe that the existing B30 voluntary consensus standards provide more comprehensive, up-to-date standards that industry and other governmental entities should look to for guidance in advancing crane and derrick safety.

William F. Davis, CSP, CPCU, of Richmond, Va.-based Zurich Services Corp. will lead a discussion of these and related issues in Thursday's concurrent education session #751, "New OSHA Crane Safety Standard," from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. He says attendees will gain not only a general understanding of crane safety requirements but will have specific points identified that should become part of each crane safety plan. He will also examine causes and corrective action for common mistakes that lead to crane accidents.

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