Could this new OSHA Rule Affect You?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently proposed a rule that may affect your construction business. The rule would affect how to determine the competency of a crane operator and move the burden back towards the employer. Prior to this rule, crane operators were required to be certified based on lifting capacity of equipment. This certification was strongly opposed by the construction industry and was largely unenforced.

The new rule proposes a list of factors for the employer to use to determine the competency of their crane operators. The hope is that this new factor-based test will clarify the role and responsibilities of employers when it comes to ensuring their crane operators are properly qualified.

This may be particularly of interest to local Florida construction firms. This new proposed rule came out of recent incidents in both New York City and the Miami, Florida area. A couple of years ago, in New York City, there was a tragic crane accident that killed a pedestrian near a construction site. Flash forward to Hurricane Irma last summer and, while fortunately there was no significant damage in the area, there was some damage and a massive threat of damage. With the approaching storm, many cranes were not lowered and ultimately made contact with other buildings in the high winds. In response, OSHA has revisited crane operator requirements and believes this new rule will help clarify roles and rules for crane operators.

If you have an interest in this proposed rule, OSHA is accepting comments until June 20. When submitting comment, make sure you follow all instructions, including the agency name and title of the proposed rule – in this case Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Operator Qualification – and the docket number – OSHA 2007-0066S. Submit your comments electronically through www.regulations.gov, fax to (202) 693-1648 or regular mail to OSHA Docket Office, RIN No. 1218-AC86, Technical Data Center, Room N-3653, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210.

If you have a broader question about construction rules and regulations, or find yourself needing legal support please contact us.