Thursday, August 28, 2008

Crane Operators and Riggers Need Training

Why Aren't Operators and Riggers Trained?

The article below from - AP Texas News reports that another crane tipped injuring two workers.

This incident clearly shows that contractors are not providing proper training for Crane Operators, Rigging Personnel, and Supervisors of rigging operations. It is quite obvious that neither the operator nor the riggers had any idea of the weight of the pipe being handled nor how to correctly read a Load Chart.

I have advocated in several posts that all contractors, State and City Safety groups, such as state OSHA agencies, send personnel to companies in their area that provide the type personnel training and certification of these workers. There is no excuse for incidents like these just because the personnel doing the work have not been properly trained.

2 injured after crane topples in Dallas

By JEFF CARLTON Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated Press

Aug. 28, 2008, 1:22PM

DALLAS — A crane lowering a heavy length of pipe toppled Thursday morning at a city water pumping station on the Trinity River in Dallas, injuring two city workers.

A contract crew was trying to lower the more than 9-ton pipe through an opening on the pump station roof when it pulled the crane cab off the ground, said Dallas Fire Rescue spokeswoman Sherrie Lopez.

"I think the weight was not distributed properly," Lopez said.

The boom of the crane fell onto the roof and the pipe landed on two city vehicles, crushing their roofs. The crane's cab tilted at a 45-degree angle.

Both workers were taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital and are in good condition, Lopez said. A worker in a truck struck by the pipe had a head laceration, she said.

A 56-year-old worker on the roof was initially thought to have suffered two broken legs, but Lopez later said it was an ankle injury.

She said that both were coherent and answering questions as paramedics took them away.

"We're very fortunate," she said. "When you look at the scene, things could have been much worse."

When the accident happened, three city employees were on the ground, three were in the building and one was on the roof, she said.

She said that the crane company, Louisiana Crane Company, will bring in two more cranes to remove the fallen boom and pipe.

The work was part of routine maintenance on one of the four pumps at the Old Hampton Pumping Station, which takes runoff rain water from city streets and pumps it into the Trinity River, said Kelly High, interim director of street services for the city.

He said the accident's cause is under investigation.

"Right now we're trying to gather that information. We've got to put the puzzle together," he said.

Patrick Kelley, corporate safety director for Louisiana Crane Company, said Thursday that he was on his way to the scene.

The accident is the latest in a string of crane accidents across Texas this summer. It came about a month after another crane accident left one man dead and another injured in Smithville. A crane was removing steel beams while dismantling an old bridge over the Colorado River and became overloaded, then toppled.

In mid-July, a 30-story tall crane at a Houston refinery toppled over, killing four contract workers and injuring seven others.

A month earlier, a construction crane's cable snapped, injuring three people working on the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington. That accident came a day after a worker died at a construction site in downtown Dallas when a piece of equipment fell from a crane and struck him.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What is the Value of a Life?

What is the Value of a Construction Worker?

The post below from The Hattiesburg American emphasizes the relatively low fines issued by OSHA to the two companies responsible for the deaths of four workers due to unsafe practices during trenching operations.

The fines were $12,700 for the one fatality and possibly $65,450 (this one will probably be reduced after an appeal to OSHA.) This total of $78,150 equals an average value for the life of a worker at $19,450. I'm far from a mathematician, but in my calculations a worker earning $12.21 per hour would make that much in 40 weeks. Is 40 weeks' earnings worth a man's life???

There are many ways to calculate the value of a 30 something old person, but the emphasis I'm trying to bring forth is that it is a paltry sum for a life of a worker. This is an appaling look, by OSHA, as to the value of a life.

Findings, companies' carelessness troubling

Last March, within a couple of weeks of each other, four workers in Hattiesburg died in two separate accidents that involved the collapse of a ditch.

Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that the two companies involved were responsible, between them, for eight safety violations.

The findings are troubling and point to what appear to be deadly carelessness on the part of the companies, companies that should have known better. OSHA spells out the requirements for this kind of excavation work; there is nothing ambiguous about them.

On Friday, OSHA found American Air Specialists responsible for four serious and one willful violation of its safety standards. American Air is facing proposed fines of $65,450, and has 15 days to contest the citations.

On March 21, Leonardo Navarro Diaz, 30, of Sumrall; Brandon Edward Rathbone, 19, of Hattiesburg; and Wayne Dale Kelly, 55, of Columbia; employees of American Air Specialists, died when the trench collapsed as they were connecting a sewer line in the Hattiesburg Industrial Park.

A similar accident happened on March 13 in Lamar County when a ditch collapsed on Tim Bright, 38, of Purvis. He later died. Bright was employed by L&A Contracting of Hattiesburg, a prominent local heavy construction firm that has an extensive portfolio of projects in the Southeast.

L&A already has paid fines of $12,700 for three serious violations, and says it has made the fixes OSHA mandated. For Mr. Bright, these remedies come too late.

In the case of American Air, it is facing a fine of $49,000 for "allowing employees to work in an excavation without using a protective shoring system" - the willful, and most serious, of OSHA's violations.

Both companies were taken to task for not providing employees sufficient training in hazardous conditions and for not assigning a "competent" person to inspect the trench.

Said Clyde Payne, director of OSHA's Jackson office, of the American Air citations: "Trenching and excavation work creates hazards to employees, but this tragedy could have been prevented by competent supervisors who would have recognized the hazard and installed a protective system, rather than ignoring the potential danger."

Here's the thing: All employers have an obligation to provide for the safety of their workers. It is one of their sacred trusts (even L&A acknowledges that, saying that part of its mission is to provide a "safe working environment for all of L & A's employees.")

When ignored in such a basic way - no inspection of the site, as required by OSHA; insufficient training, as required by OSHA; no trench protection, all required by OSHA - the companies deserve to be hammered by OSHA. It is truly unfathomable- and unconscionable - that these companies did not provide these very basic protections for its workers.

Tim Bright deserved better. So did Leonardo Navarro Diaz, Brandon Edward Rathbone and Wayne Dale Kelly.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fined Only $12,000 For A Fatility?!?!?

OSHA Fines Contractor For Trench Fatility

The article below from Earlesha Butler of The Hattiesburg American states that L&A Construction received only a light tap on the wrist in the death of a worker in a trench collapse. I have written two blog entries on this incident that occured in Lamar County, MS and another one in Hattiesburg where three workers died that happened near the same time. The latest of these posts concerned it taking OSHA six months to "investigate" these incidents.

I still have to question not only the time for the investigation, but now a BIG QUESTION on the only minor "chump change" OSHA issued for a fine. The $12,000 fine is truly an insult to the other workers employed by this contractor and, especially to the worker's family. How can OSHA not take into consideration the many fines in the past for this contractor where it seems as they have become lax and using Donkey Sense in their safety practices. If OSHA continues to let contractors get by with minimal fines for fatalities is beyond my comprehension.

I urge readers to go to the article's comment section to get other comments along the same direction that I have taken on this incident.

L&A fined in death of worker

By EARLESHA BUTLER • August 21, 2008

L&A Contracting Co., a prominent local firm with an extensive portfolio of construction projects in the Southeast, was fined $12,700 for workplace violations that led to the death of an employee in March.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday that L&A had been charged with three "serious" violations in the March 13 construction accident.

Tim Bright, 38, of Purvis, an employee of L&A, died March 22 of injuries he sustained during the collapse of a ditch on Lois Lane in Lamar County.

Bright and several construction workers had been working in the ditch, building a form to pour concrete on, when the ditch wall collapsed.

Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson office director, said L&A was charged with three violations, including not having "a protected system" for trench or ditch workers, not conducting daily safety inspections by a trained official and not providing employee training sessions on ways to prevent hazardous accidents at the site.

OSHA's investigation took almost six months.

Payne said L&A officials had paid the fines. The company also has agreed to implement safety regulations to prevent other hazards, Payne said.

Larry Gunn, L&A's attorney, said safety procedures were in place at the site and added that "the specific worker involved didn't follow the procedures they were instructed on."

However, OSHA's Payne said that it is ultimately employers' responsibility to make sure safety procedures are being followed.

"It's very common for an employer to say that an employee didn't follow my safety rules when an accident happens," Payne said.

Lee Sims, president of L&A, said the company had implemented OSHA's requirements.

"It was a regrettable accident," he said. "We've put (it) behind us."

Bright's wife, Tina, declined to comment about OSHA's findings or whether she was planning or had taken legal action.

Penalties imposed by OSHA consist of fines for infractions that vary from "other" to the most dangerous - willful - meaning the employer knew or should have known that the violation occurred.

The maximum fines that OSHA levies vary from $7,000 for a serious offense to $70,000 for a willful citation.

L&A is a Hattiesburg-based firm that is owned and managed by the Sims family of Hattiesburg. Ray Sims is chairman and his son, Lee, is president. The firm has extensive construction projects throughout the Southeast.

This is not the first time L&A has been found to violate OSHA's safety requirements. From 1999 to 2005, the company had a total of 18 violations and was fined $245,828, according to OSHA records. After negotiating with OSHA, the company paid $107,300 in settlements.

Payne said L&A sent his office a letter, explaining safety changes the company has agreed to make in the wake of the OSHA findings.

Among them are employee training on various safety measurements when working in a ditch or trench.

Ditch or trench safety measures include installing a hydraulic support mold, using a trench box or cutting back the trench wall, according to OSHA's standards.

"A trench (or) a ditch, those are all terms that describe a removal of dirt, places where you dig in the ground," Payne said.

He said L&A agreed to have an employee trained to conduct daily inspections of a construction project.

"These were the requirements that they weren't in compliance with," Payne said.

Pat Crispi, a New York-based attorney who specializes in personal injury litigation including construction site accidents, said of OSHA's findings: "I don't think it's the amount of money that's going to make a big deal. OSHA fines could hurt a company's reputation if the information is made available."

"This may not be the end of it," he added.

Payne said OSHA is continuing its investigation of American Air Specialists of Hattiesburg whose three employees died March 21 when a trench they were working in collapsed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

OSHA Issues Fines

Colorado Companies Fined by OSHA

The article below by Katie Redding of The Aspen Times reports that OSHA is fully aware of problems on construction sites if the contractors are not adhering to Standards on Demolition work, Asbestos Removal and Crane Inspections and Maintenance.

The inspections were made in reference to one fatality and one serious injury. OSHA Inspectors do not have the time to make enough on site inspections due to the heavy load of "putting out fires" in cases of incidents such as the ones described in this article. If contractors would use more Horse Sense in their daily operations, and would try harder to FOLLOW the Regulations instead of FINDING WAYS AROUND working in accordance with the Regulations this would be a much safer country to work in.

Demolition work is perilous just in the nature of the work, especially when they are removing asbestos and creating asbestos dust clouds that endanger all the workers in that area.

Proper crane maintenance, daily, monthly and yearly inspections to ALL parts of the cranes used on work sites will reduce the incidents causing failures by a high percentage. There is plainly no excuse for not making these inspections.

OSHA fines companies after accidents

Print Comment
ASPEN — The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations and penalties to two construction companies following a fatal accident at Aspen Middle School and a crane collapse at Base Village in Snowmass Village.

Landowners where the accidents occurred, the school district and Related WestPac, respectively, were not found to be at fault.

OSHA’s main goal is to ensure the companies have comprehensive health and safety programs, said the agency’s area director, Herb Gibson.

Aspen Middle School accident
On April 20, Juan Ruiz, 29, was killed by a free-standing cinder-block wall that toppled at the middle school. Ruiz, an employee of Denver-based ESA, Inc., was performing asbestos removal on the third floor of the school when the wall fell on him.

After a safety inspection, OSHA issued a $9,800 penalty, a two-part citation of ESA, Inc. classified as serious, and a demand to abate the violation by Sept. 4. OSHA defines serious hazards as those in which there is substantial probability of death or serious harm, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

OSHA found that ESA did not help its employees recognize and avoid unsafe working conditions. In particular, it did not teach them to safely disassemble cinder block walls during asbestos remediation, the citation says. OSHA also found that ESA did not monitor asbestos removal practices adequately.

“Employees repeatedly knocked down cinder block walls by striking sledge hammers on the lower rows of cinder block walls. Conditions resulted in a 9-foot-high, 15-foot-long cinder block wall falling on an employee and fatally injuring him,” the report states.

ESA corporate safety director Dave Johnson said that the company had been aware its workers were striking the walls from the bottom and had corrected the behavior. Workers preferred to hit the walls from the bottom because it is easier, he said.

One of the first thing the company did after the accident was to hire more licensed asbestos-removal supervisors, so that one supervisor wasn’t trying to monitor workers on three floors, he said.

However, he noted that part of the problem with following OSHA’s monitoring regulations is a requirement for the vaguely worded “frequent and regular” inspections.

“Basically, if you weren’t there when the accident happened, then you weren’t there often enough,” he said.

After a separate health inspection, OSHA also cited ESA for not adequately determining asbestos-exposure hazards before the project’s start and for not performing air-quality monitoring on a daily basis.

Both of these violations left employees at risk to hazards, including the lung disease asbestosis, the report says. ESA was fined $1,750 and instructed to abate that violation also by Sept. 4.

But Gibson acknowledged that because some abatement had already been done at the project, it was “tricky” to figure out the appropriate amount of monitoring.

Johnson agreed, noting that they were technically in the “discovery” phase of the project when the accident happened — and they had to figure out which of the four classes of asbestos removal “discovery” fit into.

“My contention is that you don’t really have a class of work for what we’re doing,” he said.

Johnson stressed that the accident devastated the company, and he and the company owner flew out to Aspen that day. Since then, ESA has been taking a close look at what they could have done better, he said.

“In 25 years, we’ve never had anything like that before,” he said.

Crane collapse
On June 17, an unnamed ironworker was injured after a large crane at the Viceroy Resort Residences construction site in Snowmass Village toppled over.

The crane struck an iron cross beam, causing the worker, who was on the beam, to fall 6 to 8 feet and hit his head, authorities at the scene said. The worker was wearing a safety harness and was tied off to the beam with a lanyard. He was extricated from the fifth floor and taken to the Aspen Valley Hospital by rescue workers.

On Aug. 6, OSHA issued a three-part serious citation to RMS Cranes, LLC. OSHA found that the employer did not ensure that annual inspections were conducted on all of its cranes. The Manitowoc crane that collapsed had received its last annual inspection on Dec. 7, 2006 — a year and a half prior to the accident, according to OSHA.

RMS also did not ensure the wire rope boom hoist cable on the crane was taken out of service, even though it had more than three broken wires on one strand in one lay, the citation says.

In addition, the company did not inspect critical items in use on the crane, such as the brakes, crane hooks and ropes, at least once a month, says the citation. OSHA also alleged that RMS did not ensure the boom hoist wire rope on the crane was regularly lubricated.

OSHA fined the company a total of $12,600. It also required that the violations be abated by Aug. 16.

A representative from RMS did not return a phone call Tuesday.

Both companies now have 15 working days to either accept the citations or file a notice of contest, Gibson said. During that time they can also come in to the OSHA office for an informal conference to discuss the citation.

Protests are filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, an independent government body that adjudicates OSHA law, according to Gibson.

Johnson said he expected ESA to go through the informal discussion with OSHA, but at this point he didn’t anticipate a formal appeal.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Familiarization and or Training?

You Need Both

The article below from Associated Construction Publications makes an excellent point that Familiarization AND Training go hand in hand particularly in the use of Aerial Work Platforms. However, this holds true for any type equipment that construction workers use on the job.

Associated Construction Publications is to be commended for a very important and timely post.

Familiarization or Training is Not An Option – You Need Both!

Technical guidance document on familiarization now available

By Tony Groat -- Associated Construction Publications, 8/18/2008

In 1999, the ANSI A92.6 standard introduced a definition for familiarization that clearly differentiated this activity from training. "Training" consists of the instructions necessary to enable a trainee to become a qualified person regarding the task to be performed, including the recognition of potential hazards. "Familiarization" is the information regarding the control functions and safety devices on a specific aerial platform to be operated by a qualified person (trained operator).

In 2006 many of the aerial lift standards were updated to consistently incorporate this language. The definition for familiarization was revised to add that the information regarding the control functions and safety devices is to be given directly to a qualified person or the operator who will control the movement of the aerial platform. Yet even with these clarifications, the distinction between training and familiarization does not appear to be fully understood. Too often familiarization upon delivery is being accepted as operator training.

Operator training addresses the safe use, general operating practices and recognition of hazards when covering a category of aerial platforms like self-propelled elevating work platforms or boom-supported elevating work platforms. It only addresses the control functions and safety devices of the specific machine being utilized in the training class. This is why instruction on the control functions and safety devices of a specific machine must be given during familiarization and is required in addition to operator training prior to operating an aerial device. There are many different controls and safety devices on the wide variety of model aerial platforms that a trained operator must be made aware of to ensure safe use.

The major difference between training and familiarization is the scope and extent of material covered. For instance, when you offer operator training on scissor lifts, do you review every machine in the market? The answer is no, you can’t train on every model. One manufacturer alone has at least 14 different models of self-propelled elevating work platforms (drivable scissor lifts or vertical lifts). These machines are available in heights from 10 feet to in excess of 50 feet. They have a variety of power sources including electric, gas, LP or diesel. They feature gradability from zero to 45% and are available with every conceivable option. It would be impossible to cover all the different controls and safety devices during training. Thus the need for unit specific familiarization.

Familiarization is to be given to individuals who are qualified. In other words, you must be trained before you can be familiarized. Familiarization provides limited information:

1. Identifies the weather resistant compartment (for manual storage)

2. confirms the required manuals are in place

3. reviews control functions

4. reviews safety devices on the lift being provided

Familiarization generally takes place at the point of delivery of the machine and takes about 15 minutes. The dealer/rental company has the responsibility to provide familiarization to the person designated by the receiving party. The receiving party is generally the entity who will be directing their employees to operate the aerial lift. They must ensure that operators are properly trained, familiarized and made aware of the requirements of an operator as defined by ANSI prior to authorizing them to operate an aerial lift. It is important that the receiving party designate the machine operator or another qualified (trained) person to receive the familiarization prior to operating the machine and be responsible for familiarizing any other person authorized to operate the lift.

The following example will illustrate the necessity to both properly train and familiarize the operator of an aerial platform. An employer had an individual that was properly trained to operate scissor lifts. When he was trained however, he utilized a 19-foot electric scissor during the instructions. On a particular project, the work required a 50-foot internal combustion engine scissor lift. For whatever reason, the operator was not familiarized with the machine when it was delivered and he didn’t know that the machine was equipped with a safety device that prevented the lift from being driven when the platform was elevated above 25 feet. The lift would be unstable above that height if driven.

The operator started working at lower elevations and was able to drive the lift without any problem since the platform was raised less than 25 feet. As the job progressed however, his working height exceeded 25 feet and the lift would no longer drive. The operator believed that the machine had mechanical problems and requested that an electrician on site look at the machine. The electrician was not properly trained to inspect and service the equipment. He examined the machine and put a ‘jumper wire’ over the limit switch (the safety device) that prevented the lift from driving if elevated over the 25-foot height.

The operator believed the lift was fixed and continued with his work. His work progressed at 32 feet and since the safety device was compromised, he was able to drive in the elevated position without a perceived problem. When one part of his job required him to work at 50 feet, the operator tried to drive the lift and it tipped over. You can imagine the potential outcome.

One could technically argue that if this person were a properly trained operator, he/she would have familiarized themselves on the machine with the aid of the manufacturer’s manual. A qualified operator would also not have allowed an untrained person to service the equipment. There are other points that could be drawn, but the intent of the example is to highlight the necessity and value of providing familiarization on a specific machine in addition to operator training.

While aerial work platforms are inherently safe to use, advances in machine design and built-in safety features can only be fully realized by competent users and qualified operators. One needs to assess the job to be performed, choose the proper lift for the job, and have it operated by a trained, qualified operator who is familiarized with the machine prior to operation. Operator training and familiarization provide a powerful one-two punch to knock-out accidents on your job site.

Aerial Work Platform Training Inc. (AWPT), the North American subsidiary of the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), has published a technical guidance on familiarization to assist in the understanding of the requirement for aerial lift operators to receive both proper training and familiarization before being authorized to operate an aerial lift. Titled "Technical Guidance - Familiarization" the document is available on-line and may be downloaded free of charge at

AWPT-approved training centers also provide operator training that meets ANSI and OSHA requirements. Training can be completed in one or two days, depending on the machine categories. Courses combine theory and practice, with a written and a practical test. Successful trainees receive the PAL Card (Powered Access Licensed-Registration) as proof of training. Find your nearest training center at

Tony Groat is executive vice president of Aerial Work Platform Training.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

OSHA Construction Safety Emphasis

Two New OSHA Safety Emphasis Posts

The two posts from OH&S (Occupational Health and Safety) gives notice that they are working to assure more health and fatality problems by emphasizing on some "No-Notice" construction site inspections on commercial, industrial and residential projects in some areas.

This is great news to have this emphasis, especially with all the serious injuries and fatalities on sites with crane work, concrete placement, scaffolding, struck by, and many other incidents that have been happening all over the country. I encourage OSHA to continually step up these inspections all over. I realize that many of the local OSHA Offices are kept busy "putting out fires" and do not have adequate time to make the above mentioned inspections.

I also encourage the Labor Department to increase the number of Inspectors so that they may police sites more closely. The only way I can see where some of the "Do what we have to do to get by OSHA" contractors need a major attitude adjustment and look into all the many ways that OSHA can and will help them in Safety & Healath Programs and Training.

It just makes horse sense to do it right to start with to prevent costly and deadly incidents.

Florida Readies for No-Notice OSHA 'Swept Up' Week

OSHA will conduct a no-notice "Swept Up in Safety Week" campaign in August to curb construction-related fatalities in northern Florida. The agency says that in the past, such unannounced safety weeks have been successful in reducing construction-related fatalities in targeted areas of the Southeast. OSHA compliance officers will focus their enforcement efforts on construction sites in the area that reaches from Daytona Beach to Pensacola, Fla.

The agency says that such field activities are designed to identify and eliminate safety and health hazards at construction sites, thereby reducing the numbers of injuries and fatalities resulting from the four leading causes of accidents: falls, struck-by/crushing events, electrocutions, and caught-in-between events. During previous "Swept Up in Safety Week" campaign periods, agency compliance officers conducted immediate inspections when unsafe working conditions were observed at construction sites, OSHA says. Compliance officers also entered worksites to provide outreach and training and to encourage employers to continue their good work when it was observed.

"One of OSHA's goals this year is to continue increasing employers' awareness about eliminating hazards that lead to employee fatalities," says James Borders, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "The increased presence of our field compliance officers and the immediate inspections they conduct after observing unsafe scaffolds, fall risks, trenches and other construction hazards will lead to a reduction in worksite fatalities."

The agency says that its fiscal year 2007 "Swept Up in Safety Week" campaigns helped to reduce fatalities at construction sites overseen by federal OSHA offices in the southeastern United States by 10.4 percent compared to fiscal year 2006. During the four designated safety weeks in fiscal year 2007, OSHA conducted 2,086 compliance inspections throughout the Southeast, while conducting 1,294 onsite interventions where no inspection was performed.

OSHA Launches Local Construction Emphasis Programs

OSHA's Region VI office in Dallas, Texas, has established a Regional Emphasis Program covering employees in the construction industry who perform crane operations. The program conducts safety inspections of workplaces in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and sites in New Mexico that are under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

"This Regional Emphasis Program was established as an enforcement initiative for the inspection of cranes used in construction, with the goal of preventing serious and fatal injuries to employees working on and around cranes," said Regional Administrator Dean McDaniel. "The REP will address various hazards associated with cranes, including but not limited to, being struck by objects, electrocution, crane tip-over, being caught in or between machinery, and falls. Past inspection evidence indicates these hazards are the leading causes of accidents where cranes are used in the construction industry."

OSHA said the emphasis program is intended to supplement its existing targeting programs, focusing additional resources as necessary to monitor jobsites, promote compliance, and promote awareness of safety and health hazards during construction activities involving cranes. OSHA will utilize a number of tools to address this issue, including enforcement, outreach, training, onsite consultation, partnerships, alliances, and the agency's Voluntary Protection Programs.

Under OSHA's construction crane standard, 29 C.F.R. 1926.550, there is a general requirement for employers to inspect construction cranes prior to each use, during use, and annually. OSHA also has specific standards that apply to different types of cranes. The OSHA standard requires that employers conduct tower crane inspections prescribed by the manufacturer.

In addition, OSHA has also announced the start of a local emphasis program in Kansas aimed at reducing workplace hazards on residential and commercial construction sites.

OSHA said its goal with this program is to reduce employee exposures to hazards on construction sites through increased awareness and enforcement activities. Under the program, OSHA will randomly select geographical areas by zip code within the state of Kansas. Cities with a population of 8,000 and greater will be eligible for inspection and all active residential and commercial sites within a selected zip code will be inspected. OSHA will conduct comprehensive safety and health inspections to identify hazardous work exposures. Additionally, safety and health programs, training records, air monitoring surveys, and noise surveys will be reviewed as applicable.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Crane Safety

In Spite of what some folks think:
The Moon can't be hung by a crane!

Some companies' management think that calling someone who has a crane... tower, mobile or rough terrain, to perform lifting of materials on their job site that the Operator (many times just a "Lever Puller") and the crane's owner have done everything that is needed to safely perform all the work tasks needed.

Little do some of these management folks realize that so many crane owners or even ones operated by their "Lever Pullers" do not even meet the antiquated 1971 OSHA standards. Then when a crane falls or drops a load or other serious incidents on their job sites they wonder why!

Then the owners wonder why they can't get insurance on their cranes and liability coverage just because their operators are not certified.

Folks, at the current time, it appears that it will be at least two years before a new OSHA Crane Safety Standard will be finalized and placed into effect. In the meantime, cranes MUST continue to handle materials on your job sites.

My recommendation for keeping incidents with fatalities and serious injuries to construction personnel and the general public from happening is to "Take the Bull By the Horns" and train your crane operators, maintenance and rigging personnel. This can be accomplished by going to a specialty training company that can train and certify the personnel in the safe operation, maintenance and rigging of cranes and the materials they are lifting.

It is easy to locate these trainers. Simply do a Google Search for Crane and Rigging Training experts in the closest point to your location. A relatively few dollars spent preventing crane incidents is a VERY LONG way from all the costs involved with a fatality, serious injury and loss of equipment and high insurance costs.

Then, Maybe....., you may be able figure how to throw a sling around the moon to place it on the hook of your lifting equipment!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Crane Safety Standards Outdated

Crane Safety of Paramount Importance to Glazers
The article below points out the Importance of Safe cranes to the Contractor Glazers.

This is very true and is paramount for ALL work using cranes to lift materials safely on construction sites all over the country.

With the Labor Department's typical Washington paperwork fiascoes any new planned updates to the 1971 Crane Safety Standards, it looks like it will be another two or more years before these standards go into effect.

However, There are well qualified Crane Safety Schools all over the country that train and certify crane operators, inspectors, supervisors and construction management can be trained in safety crane usage and maintenance. There are several in Olando and other Florida locations. All anyone has to do is to do a Google Search for Crane Safety Training to find a facility near them. I am sure that the standards that OSHA will finally enact will be almost the same or of less value in providing safe cranes, safe and certified operators and maintenance requirements to assurer that all cranes are safe enough that when a crane enters a construction site or is erected on a site, it is ready to start up, pull the levers and safely handle the loads required.

I feel that any craft worker that use cranes to lift materials in critical areas (meaning almost any lift) would welcome the knowledge they can be earned at one of these Crane Schools.

I commend the Glazers for this article.

Crane Safety of Paramount Importance for Contract Glaziers

In early 2003 the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) announced it would move forward with the negotiated rulemaking process to update its cranes and derricks standard. Now, more than five years later, the standard-which has not been revised since 1971--is still not done, and crane-related accidents and fatalities are becoming an increasing concern for construction-related associations, unions and contract glaziers.

Don Earnheart, national design vice president for Trainor Glass Co. in Dallas, says crane safety is a major concern for contract glazing companies

"We use cranes to lift our pre-glazed panels off our trucks and load them on floors. Safety issues with cranes are of paramount importance to our installation efforts," says Earnheart. "We certainly want safer cranes to ensure life safety issues for our employees as well as to eliminate potential damage to products."

As a result of recent accidents and fatalities, a number of legislators are taking action on the matter of crane safety. Just last week several senators, including New York's Hillary Rodham Clinton, called on the Bush administration jointly to issue new crane safety regulations.

"The tragic number of recent crane accidents in New York and elsewhere that have led to injury or death is sobering, and it is critical that we act immediately to protect the safety of workers and residents and prevent future tragedies," said Senator Clinton in a statement. "The regulations governing crane and derrick safety are antiquated and poorly enforced. I urge the [Bush] Administration to immediately issue the safety regulations it has withheld for four years and take steps to ensure that these regulations are enforced."

OSHA did not return's calls for comment.