By Debbie Dickinson
Crane Institute of America Certification
Just because OSHA has proposed a delay to operator certification, doesn’t mean it will happen. Take notice of recent activity in Washington, D.C.
We recently learned about a different regulation in a similar situation to 1926.1400 Cranes and Derricks in Construction; on Aug. 7, OSHA withdrew a proposed rule to amend the On-Site Consultation Program.
Although not related to cranes and derricks, there are parallels worth noting. Stakeholder concerns that a delay discourages employers from participating was the key reason for moving forward. Many in the crane industry fear the same would happen if crane operator certification is delayed.
OSHA first issued an intent to delay and outlined plans for changing the Consultation Program at the end of July, just a few months after its proposal about crane operator certification. Yet, no such plan has been forthcoming from OSHA for cranes and derricks. The final rule for both are just 8 days apart.
While we remain unsure of what OSHA will do regarding crane operator certification, we do know that:
1. A delay is unnecessary; CIC has offered specific solutions to OSHA that fully solve the concerns raised.
2. According to industry studies, 80% fewer crane-related deaths and 50% fewer accidents occur with certified crane operators.
In addition, Peg Seminario, Director of Safety and Health for the AFL-CIO testified on Aug. 1, 2013 before the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights, and Agency Action Senate Judiciary Committee on “The Human Cost of Regulatory Paralysis.”
According to Seminario: “It is inexcusable and shameful that even where there was broad agreement that the cranes and derricks standard was needed and about what the rule should require, that the regulatory system failed to protect workers…During the eight year rulemaking, 176 workers died in crane accidents that would have been prevented.” Seminario’s testimony is clear: OSHA knows that certification saves lives and that delays will mean more people will die, unnecessarily.
Please contact OSHA and express your expectation that the agency remember its mission “to ensure a safe and healthy workplace,” which does not align with OSHA’s recent attitude that the purpose of regulations is to provide the agency with greater authority for imposing citations and fines on employers.
I hope that out of respect for the lives at stake, for the negotiated rule-making process that was fully supported by industry experts, and for the millions of dollars already invested by the industry, that OSHA does not delay. CIC will continue to remain compliant with OSHA and to drive our business based on the safety and needs of the industry. Employers can rely on CIC to:
1. Conduct meaningful certifications; CIC certified by type and capacity years before the OSHA regulation because this helps employers make sound decisions and gives operators credentials with merit.
2. Assess the knowledge, skill and abilities of operators for the purpose of reducing accidents.
3. Provide affordable, accessible and accredited certifications for crane operators and riggers.
Debbie Dickinson is executive director at Crane Institute of America Certification, which offers NCCA accredited certifications for mobile crane operators (five classifications) and qualified and advanced riggers and signal persons.