National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

May 6 – 10, 2019

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The first full week of May is dedicated to Fall Prevention. This focus is for the Construction Industry, but Falls occur in every industry, so regardless of what industry you work in, why not take a moment to talk with your employees about the potential fall hazards in their workplace and at their homes and educate them on how to prevent injuries and fatalities related to falls.

Construction Industry

Approximately 1/3 of the construction fatalities in 2017 were the result of falls. And all of those fatalities were preventable.

Fatalities from falls don’t have to occur from a great height, they can occur from a fall on the same level…all it takes is for the victim to fall in such a way that they strike their head on something, so don’t ignore the hazards associated with:

  • Ladders – Step ladders, Straight ladders, and even Step stools
  • Stairs
  • Scaffolding
  • Excavations
  • Holes in the walking surface
  • Changes in elevations – Curbs, mechanical troughs
  • Housekeeping – Trash, Spilled liquids, Mud or Ice accumulation

Resources

OSHA has put together a collection of resource materials that you can use for your Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction this week. Click here. These resources aren’t exclusive to this week…so use them through out the year to reinforce your message.

Other Industries

The construction industry doesn’t hold the exclusive rights to fall hazards or the fatalities associated with them. So, if you work in other industries make sure you take the time to look at the work areas and assess them for fall hazards. Some of the common potential hazards that come to mind when I think about other industries are:

  • Stairs – do your workers properly use the stairs?
  • Ladders – do your workers properly use ladders?
  • Loading docks – are your loading docks properly protected?
  • Housekeeping
    • are all of your materials properly stored so they don’t become tripping hazards?
    • are all spills cleaned up properly so they don’t become slip hazards?

At Home

Now, for the one that hits home. Literally, at home. Think about all the things that you may do around your home that could create a fall hazard.

  • Do you use a ladder when you need to change that burned out light bulb, or do you stand on a chair? If you do use a ladder is it tall enough or are you standing on the top of it?
  • Do you use a step stool to reach the items stored on the top shelf of your kitchen cabinets, or are you standing on a chair, or, even worse, the counter?
  • Do you use the ladder properly when you are hanging your Holiday lights?

Conclusion

Falls are a major cause of serious injury and fatalities in the U.S. And they are ALL preventable.

OSHA Issues Final Rule Regarding Crane Operator Certification Requirements

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule setting November 10, 2018, as the date for employers in the construction industries to comply with a requirement for crane operator certification.

According to the Trade Release published on November 7, 2018, the final FINAL RULE changed some key items, specifically some important dates.

(If you want to skip the preamble and get right to the regulatory info head to page 184.)

A quick summary of the changes in the requirements is below:

  • Certification is still required; but “Rated Operating Capacity” (ROC) is out. Certification by capacity is no longer be part of the certification process.  Crane operators still have to be certified by type of crane (i.e. Lattice Boom Crawler, Swing Cab Telescopic), but, according to the new rule, they won’t be limited to what cranes they can operate by their lifting capacity. From now on, that will all be in the hands of their employers.
    • Certification of Crane Operators – effective date December 9, 2018
    • Jordan Foster Construction has already implemented the requirement for all of our Crane Operators to be certified, so this ruling has no affect on our current policies in this regard.
  • Employers have a duty to ensure that each operator is qualified and competent to operate whatever crane that operator operates. Rather than relying on a machine’s rated operating capacity as a measure of skill delivered through standardized testing, OSHA has placed the onus of determining an operator’s competency squarely on his or her employer. Thus, in addition to having certified operators, OSHA’s final rule requires employers to “continue to evaluate the operating competency of potential operators and provide training beyond that which is merely sufficient for those individuals to obtain certifications.” OSHA’s guidelines as to “how to qualify” an individual as competent remains to be seen.
    • Evaluation and Documentation – effective date February 7, 2019
    • Jordan Foster Construction is in the process of finalizing our Evaluation and Documentation Procedures for Crane Operators.

Additionally, it should be noted that there were no substantive changes to the existing exemptions (regarding operator training, certification and evaluation) for derricks, side-boom cranes, or equipment with a maximum manufacturer-rated hoisting/lifting capacity of 2,000 pounds or less from the training supervision requirements

According to OSHA, there are currently a limited number of OSHA recognized testing and certification programs.

Below are the OSHA Recognized Crane testing organizations:

  • “Crane Institute Certification”.
  • “NCCER”.
  • “National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators”.
  • “International Union of Operating Engineers”.
  • “Operating Engineers Certification Program”.

Some of these organizations list companies that will train crane operators in preparation to take the exam. In many cases, contacting each of the organizations above may provide more information as to local training providers in your area.