Every industry in the United States is regulated by a set of standards meant to keep workers safe. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintain these documents, and employers who do not follow proper guidelines could be fined upon inspection or, worse, could face huge lawsuit due to employee injury or death. If your industry involved the use of cranes, there are a number of OSHA documents that should be of particular interest to you. These documents regulate the use of all kinds of cranes and related equipment in order to keep everyone safe while working.
Most of the standards that regulate the use of cranes are contained in three main OSHA documents:
- 1910.179 - Overhead and gantry cranes
- 1910.180 - Crawler locomotive and truck cranes
- 1917.45 - Cranes and derricks
In addition, there are a number of supporting documents that clarify OSHA crane regulations, as well as publications to supplement employer understanding, training materials to help employees, and proposals for changes that are being considered for these regulations. In short, OSHA is a one-stop shop for all of the information you need if you work with cranes or own a business where you employees work with cranes.
What do these documents cover? In essence, OSHA documents are meant to be complete standards for safety that work in conjunction with the safety and operation manual that comes with the crane you’re operating. Crane manufacturers, along with employers, have to follow these guidelines to ensure that the cranes they are producing meet safety standards. Some of the topics these documents cover include the following:
- Crane modifications
- Braking systems
- Clearance from power lines and other obstructions
- Access to the crane by employees
- Ladders and stairways
- Electrical equipment and systems
- Testing and inspections
- Speed control
This is not by far an extensive list. In addition, OSHA requires training so that the employees running the crane can do so safely. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been trained on cranes in the past. Each crane is different and, thus, requires special training. As an employee, if you do not feel adequately trained, you should talk to your employer or a crane accident lawyer and refrain from using the crane until you feel comfortable with it. Yes, this can take extra time, but that extra time is worth your life and the lives of those around you.
According to OSHA’s website, their mission statement is as follows: “OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.” (Read more here.) Since the 1970s, this administration has been continuously working to keep all employees safe, including those who use cranes on a daily or occasional basis. Cranes are not safe pieces of equipment in uneducated hands, but they can be operated as safely as possible if OSHA’s guidelines are followed.