Originally appeared here.
During a special meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) on March 31 in Washington, D.C., SC&RA Vice President Beth O’Quinn was among industry experts, including many SC&RA members, requesting the committee consider the fiscal impact and additional burden placed upon businesses by the proposed regulatory text for a revision to the crane operator qualification requirement in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction safety standard. If adopted, the proposed regulatory text would include the most stringent evaluation and documentation requirements ever imposed. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) held the meeting specifically to consider the draft proposal.
O’Quinn pointed out that although SC&RA was pleased to learn capacity was removed from the certification requirement when OSHA unveiled its draft proposal on Feb. 25, the Association was “dismayed to review the new criteria for operator qualification.” She then presented specific concerns of three SC&RA members regarding the new criteria and how it would negatively impact their businesses.
She urged ACCSH to make appropriate adjustments to the existing language to rectify errors in the current standard without proposing new language. “Why subject the industry to another three years of regulatory wrangling, which will lead to more hearings and delays in ensuring safer crane operations?” she asked. “The industry is not looking for a pass but rather clear, concise language that adds to overall safety, not an additional, unnecessary burden.”
Among the votes taken by the committee, ACCSH unanimously voted to recommend the Agency:
- Move forward with operator certification “by type” and reconsider language regarding employer qualification/evaluation;
- Remove the employer qualification/evaluation proposed regulatory text and replace with language provided by the Coalition for Crane Operator Safety (click here - to read the recommended language); and
- Reconsider language that appears to require the employer observe and evaluate an operator on every crane make, model and configuration that he/she may operate.
Although ACCSH voted on a recommendation that certification be “by type”, additional discussion later in the meeting suggested a possible change might be certification “by type or by type and capacity.”
SC&RA will continue to monitor this issue as it moves through the rulemaking process.