Alaska Labor Commissioner: Focus on Crane Safety

In response to the series of crane incidents claiming the lives of workers and bystanders in recent months in Nevada, New York, Florida, and Texas, officials in Alaska have launched a "proactive safety effort" focused on proper crane procedures.

"In Alaska we have not had a crane-related fatality for several years and I intend to keep it that way with a proactive safety effort," Labor Commissioner Click Bishop said. "We ask all employers who use cranes to review crane lifting and safety policies, check cranes for mechanical integrity, and ensure crane operators are qualified and use appropriate safety procedures."

While there is no state requirement for crane operator certification, Alaska's Occupational Safety and Health regulations require employers who use cranes to ensure every operator has appropriate training, knowledge, and experience, and is physically fit to operate a crane. It is the employer's responsibility to adequately inspect and maintain the crane and rigging. It is also critical for employers to ensure that employees assisting with the lift are properly trained--including signaling, load limits, and rigging techniques--and are aware of the hazards of operating a crane.

"I ask that all employers, safety professionals, crane operators, and other concerned Alaskans stand by me and make sure that 'we all go home safe tonight,' " Bishop said. For help with crane standards in Alaska, employers should contact the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Consultation and Training Section at 800-656-4972.

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