OSHA Releases New Standards for Construction Work

Imagine driving a car that is almost 20 times bigger. Think it would be difficult? Think you would hurt someone or damage something if you didn't know what you were doing?

Cranes are massive machines that are necessary to complete large construction projects. And in light of the fact that cranes kill 22 operators and injure 175 every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a federal agency charged with workplace safety, particularly in construction, wants to make sure that the people operating them are prepared to do so.

The agency has issued a new rule requiring all crane operators to be licensed by a local and state agency and also requiring them to pass a written test for certification if any current operators are not licensed. Also, OSHA will conduct inspections of cranes before they are used to make sure that damage and injury is kept to a minimum.

Prior to this new rule, OSHA standards dated back to 1971, when many construction projects were not as complicated or as pressed for time and cost as they are today. And the machines themselves have changed over time-many requiring more skill to operate than before. As a result, OSHA seeks to ensure that pressures to complete projects quickly and for low cost do not result in the cutting of corners to where people get hurt in construction accidents.

After all, the 197 crane operators that were either killed or injured may have families that depend on them for support. Without ensuring that these operators know what they are doing, these families may be at risk of hard times caused by an injured family member, or worse, may have to endure the agony of losing a loved one.

In addition to making the new rule, OSHA will soon release guidance to help businesses understand and follow the rules and a plan to make sure that construction companies comply with the new requirements.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.