OSHA Issues Inspection Directive for Cranes on Construction Worksites

By Roy Maurer Oct 31, 2014

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a directive Oct. 23, 2014, for enforcing the 2010 Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. The directive provides OSHA inspectors with a checklist for performing inspections where cranes are present on construction worksites.

OSHA published the cranes in construction rule on Aug. 9, 2010, and most of its provisions became effective Nov. 8, 2010.

The directive guides inspectors on how to conduct site visits, interpret the rule and decide whether citations should be issued.

It also provides a baseline checklist for compliance officers to follow for inspections other than those related to fatality investigations or those arising from complaints or referrals, or when hazardous conditions on the worksite warrant the expansion of the inspection’s scope to include all applicable requirements of the crane standard.

Basic Inspection Rundown

The basic inspection checklist instructs officers to:

  • Determine the adequacy of ground conditions beneath the equipment setup area.
  • Check for visible indications of repairs to the equipment.
  • Ask if the utility owner of overhead power lines has been contacted and if the lines are energized, obtain the voltage of the power lines, and verify whether a work zone around the crane was demarcated and what encroachment prevention steps are being used.
  • Verify the signal person’s qualification documentation.
  • Verify that the communication system being used by the crane operator and the signal person is the one specified on the signal person’s qualification documentation.
  • Verify that lift plans are being followed, if used.
  • Identify who determined when to use equipment to hoist personnel, if done.
  • Verify whether employers are holding required planning meetings necessary for working near overhead power lines, conducting assembly, disassembly or hoisting.
  • Inspect all rigging equipment that is available for workers to use for damage, wear, safe working load tags, capacity and safety factor.
  • Verify that load chart and operations’ manuals are available, written in a language that the operator understands and that the information is applicable to the particular crane. Officers are instructed to check if the serial number on the load chart matches that of the crane.
  • Verify operator qualifications and training, including observing crane operations and interviewing both the employer and the operator to determine whether the operator is competent to operate the equipment safely.
  • Verify that the equipment and wire rope inspection requirements have been met and that the documentation is available for all inspections of the equipment.
  • Determine, through interview and observation, if safety devices and operational aids are functioning.
  • Visually inspect the hoisting equipment, components and load line for visible deficiencies.
  • Ask what loads have been lifted and how the operator and/or rigger are determining the weight of the load.
  • Verify that qualified riggers are being used.
  • Ask who the assembly/disassembly director is and verify whether this person is at the worksite.
  • Verify the qualifications of mechanics and oilers working on or near the equipment.
  • *Inspect personal fall arrest systems for compliance if fall protection is being used.

Useful Tool, Long Overdue

Since the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard was published in 2010, the construction industry has been anticipating this inspection checklist, said Kevin Cannon, director of safety and health services at the Associated General Contractors of America, the leading association for the construction industry with 30,000 member firms. Cannon said that the directive will assist OSHA compliance officers with conducting consistent enforcement inspections and provide a guide to contractors to achieve compliance with the rule. “The guide can be used to determine when building projects are complying with the rule and what to expect during an inspection,” he noted.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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