Monday, November 29, 2010

Deconstructing OSHA Crane Standards, Pt. 2 1926.1400

In the last post, I discussed some of the changes imposed by the new OSHA Construction Crane Standards. Operator Certification was the focus there, but there are new requirements for other employees, too.

Effective immediately with the new standards (as in, it’s already happened,) is a new requirement for signal persons. The rule now requires signalers for affected crane operations to be qualified for that operation. Signal person qualification must be documented either on paper or electronically, and be available on the jobsite. The documentation must specify the type of signaling for which the employee is qualified. (i.e. hand signals, radio signals, smoke signals, etc.)

To be considered “qualified” under the new standards, the employee must understand the types of signals in use on the jobsite, demonstrate competency in using those signals, understand the operation of the particular cranes in use, and understand the requirements of the OSHA Standard relevant to signal person qualification. Additionally, the signal person must pass both a written and a practical exam dealing with the subject. This training can be performed by a qualified third-party evaluator, or by a company’s in-house qualified evaluator. There is no accreditation required for the evaluator, they just need to be able to demonstrate that they are capable of assessing whether or not a signal person is qualified in accordance with the standard.

A signal person is required on any jobsite where the point of operation is not completely visible to the crane operator, or if the operators view is obstructed in the direction the equipment is traveling. A signal person is also required if the operator or the person handling the load deems one necessary due to site-specific safety concerns.

Riggers also need to be qualified under the new standard, but the requirements for documentation are a little less strenuous. A qualified rigger is defined as a "qualified person" who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to rigging.

A qualified rigger is required whenever assembly or disassembly of the crane is being performed. A qualified rigger is also needed whenever employees are engaged in hooking/unhooking the load, guiding the load, or otherwise manipulating loads, and are within the fall zone of the material.

In the next post, we’ll examine some additional requirements for crane operations, especially operations near power lines. In the mean time, if you have specific questions, consult OSHA directly, or contact a private safety consultant to address your specific needs.


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