Crane Industry Leaders Call for Training, Standards Improvements
On June 5, Representatives of the leading crane industry trade organizations announced their support for enhanced training and rigorous new standards for safe crane construction, operation and maintenance. The announcement came less than a week after a tower crane collapsed in New York.
Joel Dandrea, executive vice president of the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA), said the tragic loss of life was particularly troubling and completely unacceptable.
Dandrea said a recently formed SC&RA Tower Crane Task Force has taken on the responsibility of reviewing recent tower crane incidents and related issues in order to put forth a set of industry best practices intended to help prevent accidents and injuries in the future.
"Tower cranes are a proven, reliable
technology that have been used successfully in construction projects
since the 1940s," Dandrea said. According
to industry statistics, about 2,100 are in use in North America on any
given day. Using a conservative estimate of 50 lifts daily per crane,
Dandrea estimated more than 105,000 lifts are executed safely every day.
To sustain this track record, Dandrea indicated the industry "...believes
it is our responsibility to take an active and progressive role in
establishing safe practices and standards for our industry and providing
the information necessary for members and non-member companies to reduce
workplace accidents and injuries."
Dandrea and other speakers also called for increased training and
certification for crane operators and others as well as enhanced
standards for crane operation. An advisory committee convened by the OSHA in July 2003 and
including SC&RA representatives developed a recommended proposal for the
Cranes and Derricks Construction Standard. This advisory committee,
known as C-DAC, negotiated all aspects of a new standard and submitted
its recommendations to OSHA in July of 2004. The promulgation process
has since languished within the Department of Labor, industry officials said. In February, SC&RA wrote to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to express concern
about the lack of progress in adoption of the standard and the resulting
disservice to the industry, to workers and the general public. That
letter came a full month prior to a crane collapse in New York that
Other industry leaders representing the National Commission For The
Certification Of Crane Operators (NCCCO); the Association of Equipment
Manufacturers (AEM), and NationsBuilders Insurance Services (NBIS),
echoed Dandrea's remarks.
Graham Brent, executive director of NCCCO, described his group's
role in developing performance standards for safe crane operation.
Through comprehensive training and testing, NCCCO certifies crane
operators and others to ensure they possess the fundamental knowledge
and skills necessary for crane operation. By requiring such certification of personnel on their
sites, employers stand to reduce their risk of accidents, as well as the
accompanying financial and personal loss, Brent said.
Nick Yaksich, vice president, Global Public Policy, at the Association
of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) said his group and its member companies
are working to ensure contractors using tower cranes follow manufacturer's
erection procedures, operating and maintenance instructions, and perform
all recommended and required inspections.
Bill Smith, president of NationsBuilders Insurance Services, Claims and
Risk Management Services, called training and standards the two most
important issues facing the crane industry today.
Industry leaders indicated that an international World Crane & Transport
Summit will be convened in October 2009 on crane and transportation
safety to promote harmonization of standards, increase common
understanding and promote acceptance of industry best practices.
Copies of all remarks made at a press
conference can be found at http://www.scranet.org.