OSHA Issues Final Regulations on Cranes and Derricks

Kegler Brown Construction Alert

On July 28, 2010, OSHA issued its much-awaited Cranes and Derricks in Construction Final Rule that will replace a decades-old standard. The final version of the regulation will be published on August 9, 2010, and goes into effect 90 days thereafter. The new regulation applies to a wide variety of equipment associated with the crane industry, but it does not apply to articulating boom trucks used to deliver material to the site, such as drywall. OSHA expects the final standard will prevent 22 fatalities and 175 non-fatal injuries each year. Some of the notable changes in the regulation (29 CFR Subpart CC) include:

1. Qualification or Certification Requirements for Operators

Operators are to be either “qualified” or “certified,” which essentially means the operator must successfully pass a written test and demonstrate the necessary skills to safely operate the equipment. The regulations provide for the following options to satisfy this requirement:

  • Certification by an accredited crane operator testing organization;
  • Qualification by an audit employer program;
  • Qualification by the U.S. military; or
  • Licensing by a governmental entity.

Employers must provide the qualification and certification at no cost to their operators and have four years to be in compliance. Crane operators who operate different types of cranes will be required to have multiple certifications. (Subpart CC § 1926.1427)

2. Qualifications Requirements For Signal Persons and Riggers

Employers must ensure each signal person meets the qualification requirements provided for in the regulation. The signal person’s qualification can be established by either a third-party evaluator or the employer’s qualified evaluator and the documentation for such qualification is to be available at the site. (Subpart CC § 1926.1428). Similarly, “qualified riggers” must be used in the equipment’s assembly and disassembly. The term “qualified rigger” means one who possesses the ability to solve/resolve rigging problems based on the individual’s education, certification, professional standing, or extensive knowledge. (Subpart CC § 1926.1404)

3. Controlling Entity’s Obligation To Inform of Hazards in the Set-Up Area

The “controlling entity” has an obligation to inform the crane operator of the hazards beneath the equipment set-up area if those hazards are identified in the documents that are in the possession of the “controlling entity,” which would include site and as-built drawings. The term “controlling entity” would include anyone that has overall responsibility of the site, such as a general contractor or construction manager. (See Subpart CC § 1926.1402)

4. Inspection Requirements

Applicable equipment is to be inspected by a “qualified person” for each shift, month, and year the equipment is in service. The regulations provide further detail as to what the inspections are to include and provide documentation requirements for the monthly and yearly inspections. (See Subpart CC § 1926.1412)