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OSHA to extend deadline for crane operation certification

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has announced that it will propose to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. While OSHA had issued a final standard for cranes and derricks in construction work in 2010, which would have required compliance with the certification standard by November of 2014, many in the industry have raised questions regarding the qualification/certification requirements.

Cranes and derricks are used in innumerable construction sites, from small units that may be used in residential construction to tower cranes on skyscrapers. The basic functions of cranes make them dangerous to their operators, other construction workers on a job site and in congested urban environments, residents and bystanders in the area.

The risks include electrocution by contact with power lines, the cranes tipping or overturning, falls and various types of mechanical failures. Most of those injured are not the operators, but the other workers in the area, including carpenters, ironworkers, and riggers. The injuries resulting from these crane accidents can result in complex injury cases, including workers' compensation claims.

The goal of the OSHA regulations is to ensure that operators are qualified to operate the equipment. In April 2013, OSHA held meetings with various stakeholders on the certification/qualification issue.

Many questions were raised by the details of how to implement the standards, such as how specific the certification will have to be and if it will be seen as a floor or a ceiling. OSHA may issue a separate rulemaking later to address these concerns.

If you have been injured because of a crane accident, contact a workers' compensation attorney to clarify your rights to compensation.

Source: OSHA Trade News Release, "OSHA announces intent to extend compliance date for crane operator certification requirements," May 22, 2013