OSHA Steps Up Crane Safety in the Northwest

By By Roy Maurer Jun 25, 2013

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new emphasis program focusing on crane safety in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Specifically, the program is intended to reduce injuries associated with crane operation in construction, general industry and maritime operations at companies that are under federal OSHA jurisdiction in those states.

Federal OSHA shares jurisdiction with state-run safety and health programs in Washington, Oregon and Alaska; it has full jurisdiction for safety and health in Idaho.

In the past five years the agency has investigated 13 fatal accidents involving cranes in areas where OSHA has jurisdiction in the four Northwestern states. The most common causes of serious injuries and fatalities are crane tip-overs, being struck by a crane, electrocutions, being caught between a crane and other equipment or objects, and falls from cranes.

“We know that most of these injuries and fatalities are preventable with adequate training and proper attention to safety controls,” said Dean Ikeda, regional administrator for OSHA’s Region X, which is based in Seattle. “Our goal is to highlight the safety concerns and help employers and employees take steps to reduce the incidents related to crane operations. We want to improve safety for those working with or in the zone of danger where a crane is in use.”

In addition to increasing inspections at sites where cranes are operated, OSHA said it will use outreach, training, onsite consultation and partnerships to improve compliance and prevent injuries and deaths.

Fundamental crane-safety practices include:

  • Allowing only qualified and trained workers to operate cranes.
  • Monitoring cranes’ distance from electric power lines.
  • Inspecting rigging before use.
  • Using the correct load chart for configuration and setup, load weight and lift path.
  • Never moving loads over workers.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him on Twitter @SHRMRoy.

Related Articles:

Crane Operator Certification Requirements Questioned, SHRM Online Safety & Security Discipline, April 2013

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