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OSHA delays crane operator certification requirement & monorail hoist

image Joann Natarajan, Compliance Assistance Specialist, OSHA, Austin, TX

AUSTIN - Under OSHA’s standard for cranes and derricks used in construction work, crane operators are to be certified by November 10, 2017. Until that date, employers also have duties under the standard to ensure that crane operators are trained and competent to operate the crane safely. The Agency is proposing to delay the deadline and extend the existing employer duty to ensure that operators of equipment covered by this standard are competent to operate the equipment safely for one year to November 17, 2018.

    OSHA has also changed policy on monorail hoists coverage under the crane rule.  The policy change was made in response to comments from stakeholders and in recognition that a monorail hoist – which is attached to a fixed monorail mounted on equipment such as trucks, trailers, or scaffolding systems – is significantly different from other cranes and derricks in construction.
    Some monorail hoists can be extended and contracted in only a fixed horizontal direction. They do not rotate, swing on a hinge, or boom out much farther than the equipment on which they are mounted. They are often used in construction to hoist precast concrete components, storage tanks, and mechanical equipment.
    Under the new policy, the agency will not cite employers for failing to meet the requirements of Subpart CC if they meet the requirements of the overhead hoists and general training standards.  
    However, it is clear that monorail and overhead hoist systems present recognized workplace hazards, including those addressed by 29 CFR 1926.554 (Overhead hoists), ASME B30. l 7, and various manufacturers’ recommendations.  For the reasons discussed above, and until the application of the cranes standard to monorail hoists is revisited through rulemaking, OSHA intends to exercise its enforcement discretion by not citing employers for failing to achieve full compliance with the cranes standard when monorail hoists are used, if the following conditions are met to protect employees:
    (1) Compliance with 29 CFR 1926.554 (Overhead hoists). OSHA notes that its Overhead Hoist standard requires the use of outriggers and other supports whenever prescribed by the manufacturer.
    (2) Operators of this equipment are trained in accordance with 29 CFR 1926.21.
    (3) The employer has determined that each operator is qualified to safely operate that hoisting system per 29 CFR 1926.20(b)(4).
When monorail hoists are mounted on equipment such as work vehicles, utility trailers, scaffolding systems (including mast climbing), and various other mobile or stationary support systems, the employer must also comply with all other OSHA construction requirements that are applicable to each supporting vehicle, equipment, and structure.
Should an employer operating such equipment fail to comply fully with all of the requirements described, the requirements of the cranes standard would apply.

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Kim Estes austineditor@constructionnews.net