OSHA Issues New Cranes and Derricks Rule

According to OSHA, the four main causes of worker death and injury related to the use of cranes and derricks are:

  • Electrocution
  • Crushed by parts of the equipment
  • Struck-by the equipment/load
  • Falls

To address these specific hazards, OSHA is announcing a new Cranes and Derricks rule today that  will go into affect, 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register - August 9, 2010.  The new standard replaces a 1971 rule and is the result of efforts that began in 1998, when OSHA established a workgroup to  recommended changes to the current standard for cranes and derricks.

According to an OSHA fact sheet on the new rule, "The significant number of fatalities associated with the use of cranes and derricks in construction and the considerable technological advances in equipment since the publication of the old rule" led to the new rule.

Significant changes the new rule include:

  • Required pre-erection inspection of tower crane parts
  • Use of synthetic slings in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions during assembly/disassembly work
  • Assessment of ground conditions
  • Qualification or certification of crane operators
  • Procedures for working in the vicinity of power lines

In its press release, OSHA states that the new standard will affect approximately 267,000 construction, crane rental and crane certification establishments employing about 4.8 million workers and will help prevent prevent 22 fatalities and 175 non-fatal injuries each year. According to information in the new rule, OSHA estimates that 89 crane-related fatalities occur per year in construction work.

The causes of Fatalities were:

  • Struck by load (other than failure of boom/cable) 32%
  • Electrocution 27%
  • Crushed during assembly/disassembly 21%
  • Failure of boom/cable 12%
  • Crane tip-over 11%
  • Struck by cab/counterweight 3%
  • Falls 2%

OSHA estimates the net benefit to businesses (cost vs. benefits) to be approximately $55 million.

Read the rule in its entirety.