Page 44 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - February 2020
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Denny’s
         Denny’s                                               OSHA Crane
         crane and
         crane and                              Operator Requirements:
         rigging notes
         rigging notes
                                                         Has it Changed?






                                                                                   schooled as to how to describe the
             arious observers have been                        by Dennis J. O’Rourke, CSP
         Vwriting that the operator test-                                          fundamentals of their trade to “out-
         ing required by OSHA for Con-                                             siders” and were getting tripped up
         struction  has  changed. What has                                         when testifying. Improving  com-
         changed  is  documentation and                                            munication skills is one major rea-
         some  clarifications,  how  to  deter-                                    son to test; the operator must “talk
         mine a qualified operator — has not!                                      the talk” as well as “walk the walk”
         OSHA’s position is the same as it                                         of crane operations 101.
         was in 1971. OSHA position, then                                           Therefore, before testing comes
         and now, is that the employer is re-                                      the training required to pass. Train-
         sponsible for recognizing  hazards                                        ing  is  where  companies  come  into
         and  training  their  personnel  on                                       play and how they compete for the
         how to avoid these hazards. OSHA                                          opportunity to provide this training.
         recognizes that unskilled crane op-                                        When the federal government
         erators are a workplace hazard.                                           passed the commercial driver’s li-
           Crane owners  are to train and                                          cense (CDL) legislation, the crane
         evaluate their personnel on the                                           industry thought here is the answer.
         operations of their particular work                                       Let’s get the feds to issue crane op-
         conditions. It is as simple as that!                                      erator licenses. However, (you knew
         However,  the new  administrative                                         this was coming), the feds said no.
         complexity written into the OSHA                                          Crane activity is too diverse and
         regulations — is confusing.                                               should be industry regulated.
           The testing that OSHA requires                                           The  information available at
         is intended as an entry-level creden-                                     the  time  was  gathered together
         tial. Like a driver’s license assures                                     (2002-9), establishing the baseline
         that you have the basic skills and                                        of knowledge  thought to be the
         knowledge of the rules, but you cer-                                      necessary Crane 101 topics. There
         tainly are not ready for the Daytona                                      are ongoing efforts in determining
         500. Only experience can do that.                                         which  private testing organiza-
           OSHA  has  some control  over                                           tions are deemed worthy of provid-
         crane   operator   qualifications,                                        ing  this  testing,  five  at  this  time
         which  they did not have before                                           with local contacts in most areas.
         testing.  Tests  focus  on  the  funda-             Photos courtesy of Dennis O’Rourke  The big fight now is the paperwork
         mentals of crane operations; I call it   are necessary by their  employees to   administration of the testing, is it audit-
         “Crane 101.” A good thing.         eliminate workplace hazards. Then set   able. Has the IRS taken over OSHA? Are
           All-inclusive  crane  skills  are  not   up their crane safety program.  the tests fair, uniformly given, and did
         demonstrated by taking one test under   Decades  ago,  a  national  safety  com-  they follow acceptable methods of pre-
         ideal conditions. Cranes and operating   mittee was formed, and it concluded   sentation, etc.? A simple form could show
         conditions differ so enormously that it   that  operator  testing  for  cranes  was   that. There’s an old Navy saying, if it’s
         is almost laughable to expect one test   needed. This testing was to demonstrate   not written down — it hasn’t been done!
         to be adequate  to ensure  cranes are   that an employer used due diligence in   Now, like a bunch of lawyers, there argu-
         being  operated safely.  Two  hydraulic   crane operator selection. The members   ing how it should be written down.
         crane’s  working,  one  to build an  oil   of this committee felt they were getting   In  summary,  OSHA  requires  a  mini-
         rig, the other a house, it’s obvious the   hammered  with  high  insurance  rates   mum level of operator testing; they feel
         job  activities,  and  operator duties  are   because of careless accidents caused   this fills their obligation to the American
         quite different. These are the accident   by  unqualified  operates.  The  moment   public. That leaves the crane owners
         causes: the operations — not being con-  an accident occurs, the crane owner is   with the obligation of providing qualified
         fused about which lever to pull!   backpedaling defending why their “ap-  crane operators for their jobs. WRNWRN
           Regulations  are  not  intended  to  re-  pointed” operator was pulling the levers
         place owner’s obligations. Crane owners   when the accident happened.   DENNIS J. O’ROURKE, CSP, is the Director of National
         need to train, evaluate, and determine if   By reading depositions,  it was re-  Crane Services, Inc. He has over fifty years’ experience in the
         their company’s employees are qualified   vealed that operators were “raw meat”   industrial, maritime, and construction fields working with
                                                                               heavy equipment and material handling devices. As a safety
         to do the work. The employer must fully   for  the lawyers.  Statements showed   engineer, Mr. O’Rourke has developed and/or presented over
                                                                               300 safety-training programs for all representative elements
         understand what skills and knowledge   that the crane operators were  not   of government and industry. (dennis@natlcrane.com)
         44     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   February 2020
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