At OSHA’s November 2012 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety & Health, Jim Maddux, Directorate of Construction, identified the regulatory paragraphs giving rise to the most common citations under the new Crane & Derricks standard.
There is some overlap between the most common OSHA citations and the most common causes of crane accidents. Because NBIS represents a niche market of Crane & Rigging Contractors who specialize in this industry, the accident data from SC&RA members does have some significant differences from most common OSHA citations and accidents. This risk management article will identify the Top Eight OSHA citations.
According to Maddux, following is the most frequently cited paragraph in OSHA § 1926:
Signalperson not qualified
On November 18, 2010, the new OSHA ruling for “Qualified” signal persons went into effect. Since that time, the most common citation is that the signal person(s) are not qualified. OSHA now requires that a signal person be qualified for each of these scenarios: (a) the operator does not have full view of the point of operation; (b) the operator’s view is obstructed in the direction that the equipment is moving; (c) when the operator and/or the person handling the load feel that a signal person is needed; and (d) anytime there is a site specific safety concern. (OSHA 29CFR1926.1428(c)). We would like to emphasize that while the final version of the new regulation does not require a signal person to be certified, they must be qualified. There are two ways that an employer can ensure their signal person is qualified:  Employer’s Qualified Evaluator and  Third-party Qualified Evaluator.
Let’s look at the top 8 citations OSHA has cited under the new crane standard:
Materials not rigged by a qualified rigger
As with signal persons, riggers have to be qualified, not certified when rigging a load that will be handled by employees in the fall zone and when rigging in connection with assembly/disassembly work. The rigger would be considered qualified by possessing a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing and by successfully demonstrating knowledge, training and experience along with the ability to solve and/or resolve problems related to rigging work. Rigging of a load is the most important job of any crane operation; poor rigging may result in personnel injury, property damage or other serious hazards.
Failure to have documentation from the signal person
The OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926.1428(a) (3) states the following: The employer must make available the documentation at the job site regarding whom the signal person is employed by and the documentation has to specify the type of signaling they were qualified for e.g. (hand signals, radio signals. etc.).
Failure to perform annual inspections by a qualified person
29 CFR 1926.1412(f) simply states that at least every 12 months an annual inspection must be performed by a qualified person and disassembly is required, as necessary, to complete the inspection.
Failure to determine that the working radius is not within 20 feet of a power line
According to the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, an average of 15 crane operators or nearby construction workers are electrocuted yearly from crane contact with active power sources. Before beginning equipment operations including assembly/disassembly, the employer must identify the work zone. Options include : (1) defining the work zone as the area 360 degrees around the equipment, up to its maximum working radius; and (2) demarcating boundaries with cones, flags etc. to prohibit the operator from operating outside those boundaries. (1926.1408 (a)(1)).
Operator manuals, load charts, and other documentation not in cab
Manufacturer’s operating notes contain important information concerning proper set-up, operation and additional points that are needed when calculating load handling capacities of cranes. The OSHA standard 29CFR 1926.1417(c)(1) indicates: “the procedures applicable to the operation of the equipment, including rated capacities (load charts), recommended operating speeds, special hazard warnings, instructions and operator’s manual must be readily available in the cab at all times for use by the operator.”
Safety Determination not made by a competent person after deficiency was noted during an inspection
29 CFR 1926.1412(d)(2) states that if any deficiency is identified during an inspection, an immediate determination must be made by the competent person as to whether the deficiency constitutes a safety hazard. If the deficiency is determined to constitute a safety hazard, the equipment must be taken out of service until it has been corrected.
Failure to perform monthly inspections
Inspections are essential for jobsite safety. Neglecting to properly inspect a crane on a regular basis can result in failure to the equipment and injury or death to workers. Inspections performed by a trained and qualified inspector can reduce your exposure to accidents and equipment failures and possibly save someone’s life, maybe yours. Can you afford the OSHA fines, legal fees and insurance premiums if someone gets hurt?
Missing original labels supplied by the manufacturer
As part of the annual inspection, warning labels and decals originally supplied with the equipment by the manufacturer or otherwise required under this standard 29 CFR1926.1412 (f)(2)(xvii) have to be replaced if missing or unreadable.
Competent person vs Qualified person
The term “competent person” is used in many Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and documents. The requirement for competent person goes beyond simply designating an individual with that title.
One area of potential confusion is equipment inspections; only a qualified person will be allowed to conduct the annual inspections of crane equipment, instead of the competent person under the new crane rules.
Qualified person is one who, “by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work or project”.
Competent person is defined by OSHA as someone who is “capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them”.
The new rules (see 29 CFR 1926.1412, Inspections) require that only a qualified person can conduct annual inspections of equipment, inspections of modified, repaired, and adjusted equipment, and inspections after equipment has been assembled. The competent person may conduct the work shift and monthly equipment inspections and as long as the person has been trained in the required elements of a shift inspection.
Fatalities and serious injuries occur every year from crane accidents, which is why government agencies like OSHA are placing more stringent regulations on companies who utilize cranes and on equipment owners. Following proper safety procedures is important and can save lives; be sure to visit the OSHA website (www.osha.gov) to help protect the safety of your equipment, employees, employee’s families and your business.
Author: John Schoppert, NBIS Loss Control Manager
Source: ACT Magazine