Eight years after OSHA issued its rule to improve construction crane safety key provisions have yet to be enforced because of disagreements over requirements.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s current proposal to rewrite unenforced portions of the rule covering operators has raised questions about whether the rule’s mandate that operators be certified by OSHA-approved evaluators is needed (RIN:1218-AC96). That would instead allow employers to determine for themselves who is qualified to operate a crane.
OSHA said in May it was considering no longer linking a worker’s third-party certification to whether the worker was “qualified”—a higher standard than merely being certified—to operate a crane. The proposed change would leave it to employers to determine who is qualified, a status employers told OSHA requires more training and experience than certification.
When OSHA issued the original rule in 2010, it estimated the annual cost of operator qualification and certification for the industry was $50.7 million, while preventing seven fatalities and 175 injuries each year. Today, individual operator certification costs vary, but most initial exams cost less than $250.
Long-time supporters of the rule, including commercial construction-focused, unions, insurers, and organizations offering evaluations, have called on OSHA to keep the third-party certification mandate and the requirement for recertification every five years.
Chris Trahan Cain, director of health and safety for North America’s Building Trades Unions in Washington, headquartered in Washington, drew an analogy with earning a driver’s license and then having to renew it.
“You need to ensure everyone who has come to the jobsite is safe,” Cain told Bloomberg Environment.