Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Crane Regulations

Federal OSHA or State/Local Crane Regs?

The article below from the Daily News, written by Brian Kates, Daily News Staff Writer, brings out a thing that I have been commenting about for a long time in reference to the pros and cons, and just plain Horse Sense or lack thereof, relating to State and Local governing of Construction Safety across the country.

Since the original OSH Act came into being allowing State and Local writing new Construction Safety regulations in their areas, I have had problems with the fact that these individual regulations may contradict basic OSHA standards.

Different jurisdictions cause confusion in having several different contradicting regulations written by Other Than OSHA regs, not only is confusing to contractors, but can omit many critical practices that can cause unsafe acts by Operators, Riggers and Lift Supervisors trying to operate within the particular areas of work from one jurisdiction to another.

While readers may think the above thoughts are confusing, think about how construction workers feel when trying to figure out what jurisdiction they are working within, especially crane companies that may work in multiple areas and jurisdictions.

Yes, OSHA is a set of BASIC regulations, but when workers have to comply with many differing sets of regulations, Federal and Local, there is the possibly and a high probability of confusing, conflicting jurisdictions of CAUSING unsafe incidents.

As far as Senator Chuck Schumer's blaming the Bush Administration for writing the BADLY NEEDED updating of the crane safety regulations that had not been updated since 1971, this is totally foreign to the facts presented in his statements. How long will it take to get political bickering from the Safety Regulations away from politicins' hands and into the hands of people who are in the field day by day and know what is safe and unsafe on the job? His comments are contrary to safe work practices that he wants to put delays to a good, workable set of standards to keep Construction workers safe on the job. However, I do agree that Federal OSHA should have jurisdiction of the BASIC Safety regs and get every Tom, Dick and Harry group writing their own regs.

Remember that Federal OSHA is a set of BASIC guidelines, I see nothing wrong with State and Local jurisdictions increasing some of the regs pertaining to their work areas. This could cover items such as weather related conditions in the northern areas of the country and with the southern, warmer climates in the southern areas.

Sen. Chuck Schumer rips fed plan for crane safety

Thursday, March 19th 2009, 9:54 PM

A proposed federal regulation to bar the city from shutting down dangerous cranes would "effectively gut" construction safety in the city, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Thursday.

Schumer demanded Occupational Safety and Health Administration chief Hilda Solis put an "immediate hold" on the plan.

The regulation would shift oversight of crane installation and approval to OSHA and take away the city Buildings Department's power to issue stop-work orders for unsafe cranes.

Since OSHA has no full-time inspectors in the city, the new rules would essentially deregulate the crane industry, critics argue.

Two crane accidents that claimed nine lives in the city last year "should have been a wake-up call for OSHA," Schumer wrote Solis.

He blamed provisions that "tie the hands" of city enforcers on the Bush administration, which crafted the proposal.

"We look forward to working with the new administration to revise the rules to ensure we don't turn back the clock," wrote Schumer (D-N.Y.).

"I commend Sen. Schumer for his support on this critical issue," city Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said. "This proposed rule would roll back new safety measures that are protecting New Yorkers."

Hearings on the proposal ended in Washington Thursday. OSHA will decide whether to enact the regulation after a 60-day comment period.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Where Was The Fall Protection?

Fall To Worker's Death
The article below was posted in the Mobile Register on March 18, 2009 by Jillian Kramer, Staff Reporter.

My question concerning this fatality is "Where Was The Fall Protection" to prevent this useless death?

The McDuffie Coal Treminal is a State Run facility as part of the Alabama State Docks. Therefore, readers may note that there is no reference to an OSHA investigation in this incident. Sometimes the governmental safety programs just plain do not make Horse Sense and the safety programs do not measure up to OSHA's.

McDuffie Worker Killed in Accident
Larry D. George dies after fall into hopper leaves him partially buried in pile of coal.

A McDuffie Coal Terminal worker died Tuesday morning after falling into a pile of coal and being partially buried, officials said.

Larry D. George, 53, slipped inside a hopper--an underground coal storage area 100 feet deep--as he was working to repair a piece of equipment at the Alama State Docks facility, according to authorities. Residual coal inside the hopper collapsed, covering George, Alabama Port Authority spokeswoman Judy Adams said.

A rail dump, which pours coal into the storage area, was not in operation at the time, Adams said.

Mobile Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Steve Huffman said that as George lay there and his fellow workers tried to remove the coal from atop his body, he went into cardiac arrest.

By the eime paramedics arrived, the workers had uncovered George, Huffman said. Emergency crews performed CPR then lifted the man from the hopper and into an ambulance.

He was taken to Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Huffman said.

George had been a millwright for the McDuffie maintenance department since January 2006, Adams said.

James Lyons, the Port Authority's director and chief executive officer, said in a written statement, "We are all shaken by today's tragic accident that claimed the life of a valued employee. Our prayers and condolences are with the George family and our workers."

Lyons ordered work stopped at McDuffie until 7 a.m. today, Adams said as a safety precaution.

The incident, she said, remains under investigation by Port Authority police.

Police Chief Jimmie Flanagan declined to comment Tuesday afternoon.

McDuffie is the largest coal import operation in the U.S. More than 18.5 million tons of coal passed through the terminal in the most recent fiscal year.