Maryland Moves Forward with Stronger Crane Rules

Stronger rules for crane operations are in the works for Maryland after the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health program's Advisory Board unanimously recommended them yesterday. The rules were developed by a panel chosen by Labor and Industry Commissioner Ron DeJuliis to look at crane operator certification, rigger training and certification, and pre-lift safety requirements. The work began after a worker was crushed by a falling crane April 30 as the crane was being dismantled at a work site near Annapolis, the state's capital.

"My charge from the governor was to ensure an outcome in this process by getting consensus regulations that enhance operation safety for workers and the public," DeJuliis said before the Advisory Board's action. "I believe we have accomplished that." The General Assembly's Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee will consider them next.

The rules include training for operators, riggers, and signalers that is equivalent to a nationally recognized certification program; Maryland would be the first state in the nation to set training standards for riggers and signalers, The Baltimore Sun reported today. The newspaper's report says the rules would require that a master rigger be on site and conduct daily safety briefings whenever cranes are set up or dismantled; that employers notify the state's labor department two days before setting up a lift that uses multiple cranes and before installing or dismantling a tower crane; and that crane employees submit to drug and alcohol testing within 24 hours of a serious or fatal accident.

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