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Some provisions in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s long-awaited Cranes and Derricks in Construction Final Rule, which updates a decades-old standard and was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 9, can be burdensome for residential and light commercial construction.
OSHA estimates that the final rule, which goes into effect on Nov. 8, will prevent 22 crane-related fatalities and 175 non-fatal injuries annually. The rule will affect approximately 267,000 construction, crane rental and crane certification firms employing about 4.8 million workers.
While NAHB is generally supportive of the need to update the cranes and derricks standard, the association noted that significant changes in the rule can be burdensome to the industry. These include: assessment and sharing of knowledge about ground conditions; crane operator certification requirements; use of qualified riggers; and procedures for working in the vicinity of power lines.
“We are disappointed that OSHA, after working with NAHB for so long, did not significantly differentiate between the safety needs of residential and light commercial construction versus heavy industrial crane use when finalizing the rule,” said Ray Rhodes, of M&R Associates in Sanford, N.C., and chairman of NAHB’s Construction, Safety and Health Committee. “We are still concerned that some of the requirements in the final rule are not practical or economically feasible options for small employers in the residential construction industry.”
During a media briefing on July 28, OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels explained that the new rule is designed to prevent the leading causes of crane-related fatalities — electrocution, crushed-by/struck-by hazards during assembly/disassembly, collapse and overturn. The rule also establishes requirements for ground conditions and crane operator assessment.
NAHB will assess the impact that the rule will have on the home building industry and provide more information in the near future.