Division of Labor and Industry


Meeting May 27, 2008 - Crane Safety Task Force


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The Commissioner of Labor and Industry, Ron DeJuliis, recently brought together representatives from construction, labor, and safety to assist the Division of Labor and Industry in formulating recommendations to address safety issues related to the operation of cranes, derricks, and hoisting equipment. The representatives are discussing the safety and operations of riggers, crane operators, erectors, and persons maintaining and repairing equipment. The group will make recommendations to the MOSH Advisory Board who may consider regulations. The Crane Safety Task Force held its first meeting on May 27, 2008. Minutes from this meeting are below. Future meetings can be downloaded in MS Word format or PDF using the same link that brought you here.

TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2008 - 11:00 a.m.


Meeting Attendees Division of Labor and Industry Staff
Graham Brent
J.P. Buddy Cefalu
Ed Cieslak
Robert Hileman
Bob Holsey
Doug Howell
Barry Klingenberg
Mike Lenkin
Dave Madaras
Sissy Martin
Frank Migliaccio
Joel Oliva
Vince Pingitore
Joe Poliafico
Joe Shanahan
Bill Smith
Robert Thomas
Josh VanDyke
Doug Walters
Ron DeJuliis, Commissioner
Craig Lowry, Deputy Commissioner
Roger Campbell, Assistant Commissioner, MOSH
Linda Jaehnigan, MOSH Compliance
Mischelle Vanreusel, MOSH Training and Education
Debbie Stone, Administrative Officer

The meeting of the Crane Safety Task Force commenced at 11:05 a.m. Following introductions, Ron DeJuliis, Commissioner of Labor and Industry, provided a recap of the last meeting of task force members which was held in conjunction with the MOSH Board meeting held on May 7, 2008.

Commissioner DeJuliis explained that the mission of the task force is to assist in developing regulations and/or licensing procedures for crane operators, particularly tower cranes, in addition to the development of regulations for the certification of rigging crews who are responsible for the erection and dismantling of tower cranes. Any regulations that the task force does develop will then be recommended to the MOSH Board for adoption.

Before opening the meeting to comments from task force members, Commissioner DeJuliis addressed three other items of importance:

  • The next meeting of the Crane Safety Task Force is tentatively set for Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the Laurel office. The date will be revisited at the end of the meeting and changed accordingly, if needed.
  • The next meeting of the Construction Roundtable will be held on Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. at the Division of Labor and Industry offices located at 1100 North Eutaw Street in Baltimore. Commissioner DeJuliis invited members of the Crane Safety Task Force and reiterated the importance of the Construction Roundtable in addressing issues relating to all aspects of the construction industry, including any regulations/legislation that may be needed.
  • A subcommittee of Crane Safety Task Force members will be assembled to head up the research and development of procedures/regulations relating to cranes. Commissioner DeJuliis stated that the group should consist of at least 5 to 6 members and that the recommendations of that subcommittee would then be brought before the task force for consensus.

Mr. Robert Hileman, United Crane and Rigging, addressed the ongoing work of the Tower Crane Task Force that he and Mr. Bill Smith, NationsBuilders Insurance Services, Inc., are members of. Mr. Hileman stated that the task force is made up of members from a broad base, including 13 countries, and is representative of most of the major tower crane rental companies. Following the crane accidents in New York and Florida, the task force has developed a draft document consisting of ten points that the task force believes the industry needs to draw attention to and used as information that can be managed in the field to better provide for the safety of workers and the general public. In addition, it is hoped that the document will be taken into consideration in any future regulatory or legislative action that may take place. Before addressing the ten points, Mr. Smith added that as an insurer of crane companies, most of the commonplace incidents involve human error or misjudgment that result from inadequacies in training, qualifications, etc. The ten points addressed by Mr. Hileman are:

  • All operators of tower cranes should be certified by the National Commission of Certified Crane Operators or any other organization determined by the Department to offer an equivalent testing or certification program that meets the requirements of ANSI, ASME, current applicable standards, or the accreditation requirements of the National Commission of Certified Crane Operators.
  • All OSHA and manufacturer specifications must be met.
  • All rigging should be inspected prior to any procedures.
  • Riggers shall be trained in erecting, jumping, and dismantling by a factory-trained technician or a qualified, competent person knowledgeable in the specific crane.

Mr. Smith added that just as the Crane Safety Task Force needs to come to consensus regarding any recommendations that are presented to the MOSH Board, the Tower Crane Task Force must also reach consensus on its recommendations. However, there are those in the industry who are not in favor of using certified riggers to erect or dismantle cranes and as a result the task force is continuing discussions on whether these particular individuals should be certified. Mr. Smith pointed out that there are a dozen true manufacturers of tower cranes and as the industry receives more and more cranes from overseas manufacturers, the training issue becomes more of a hurdle.

  • A competent person shall follow manufacturer procedures in erecting, jumping, and dismantling cranes or if these are unavailable a registered, professional engineer familiar with the type of equipment involved must approve in writing the selection and configuration of the components.
  • The definition of a tower crane is a non-mobile power-operated hoisting machine used in construction, maintenance, demolition, or excavation work that has a power-operated winch, load line and boom moving lateral (luffing cranes).

Before moving to point seven, Mr. Hileman stated that this definition will be changed.

  • A tower crane is a temporary structure and is not subject to building codes or other provisions of the law, rules or ordinances applicable to permanent structures.
  • City Hall should not restrict street closures to nights and weekends.
  • All erection, jumping, and dismantling procedures must be submitted to the general contractor, and
  • A crisis response plan should be submitted prior to initial erection by the general contractor.

Responding to point ten, Craig Lowry, Deputy Commissioner of Labor and Industry, stated that Maryland's fall protection standard does provide for a mechanism to be certain that an individual can be rescued from any height. Continuing, Mr. Lowry noted that most of the metropolitan area has, through 911, high angle rescue of patients; there is some concern, however, about outlying areas and their response to such a rescue. Once the "10 Point" document is in final form, Mr. Hileman will share the document with everyone for any additional comments and/or suggestions.

Following a brief discussion on the recent accident that occurred in New York City, Commissioner DeJuliis questioned whether or not task force members would be opposed to certifying riggers in Maryland. Mr. Smith began the discussion by calling attention to the fact that there are differing levels of certification and it is important to be mindful of the varied levels of expertise when developing a certification standard. Mr. Smith added that he will contact the Chairman of the A10 Committee to find out the status of the latest edition of A10.42 Safety Requirements for Rigging Qualifications and Responsibilities - American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations; the document could be useful to the task group in formulating a Maryland standard.

Mr. Hileman stated that in providing the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association information to this task force Maryland could be the nationwide leader in moving legislation forward. Mr. Smith added that reaching general consensus on the particulars of such legislation with representatives of ABC, AGC, labor, management, and the insurance industry will only help to move legislation forward more expeditiously. In addition, Maryland, as a state plan state, could adopt its own set of regulations that are at least as effective as or more stringent than requirements that may be issued by OSHA down the road, and in doing so Maryland can tailor its requirements accordingly rather than adopting an OSHA standard that may not be what Maryland intends.

Mr. Brent Graham, Executive Director of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) stated that the NCCCO does have a rigging certification program currently in development, but added that developing a Maryland standard should first focus on defining the scope of a rigger. Continuing, Mr. Graham stated that there is so much specificity with tower crane erection that it seems to demand a class of its own. However, because there are a number of crane manufacturers with varying executions of rigging activity, Mr. Graham suggested that it may make more sense to go back to the manufacturer for formal manufacturer-specific training rather than providing for general rigger certification. Commissioner DeJuliis responded that he was not aware that there are so many manufacturers of tower cranes, and that he agrees that at least one individual on a crew needs to be qualified/certified after receiving some type of formal training by the manufacturer of the crane at hand. Discussion followed on the variables that come into play when assigned crews are used in the field versus a crew made up of workers from a pool of individuals. Deputy Commissioner Lowry stated that a key factor to consider in reviewing crew activity is that before any individual is brought on as part of a crew the one person on the crew having the "super" credentials must first discuss, educate, and share information with every crew member prior to any action taking place. This sequence of events is the same for trenching operations and any other high risk areas of work.

Continuing, Mr. Lowry suggested that subcommittee groups be formed to discuss the major areas of concern, i.e., requirements for riggers, requirements for crane operators, and discussions on the erection, jacking, and dismantling of cranes. Once the subcommittee members reach a consensus in their assigned area the group would then come back to the full body with their recommendations. Mr. Smith added that it may be beneficial to look at legislation that has been enacted in other states as a guide in developing similar standards in Maryland, in addition to the referenced OSHA document, and the most current ASME B30.5 standard for mobile cranes and B30.3 standard for construction tower cranes. Mr. Graham stated that the Directory of State and Federal Requirements for Crane Operations that was compiled by the NCCCO and provided to Commissioner DeJuliis provides both local and national requirements for crane operators and as such may serve as a valuable reference. There are currently 15 states that have licensing requirements, the most recent being Washington State. Unique to Washington State's legislation is the inclusion of the certification of crane inspectors. Commissioner DeJuliis stated that Division staff has discussed certification of crane inspectors, as well.

Discussion returned to the issue of manufacturer-specific training and the process to be followed when training by the manufacturer is not available. In a case such as this, Mr. Smith stated that another process needs to be put in place whereby an institution trained under the manufacturer's specifications would issue the certification. Although there are manufacturers who do provide instruction in the many facets of crane operation, Deputy Commissioner Lowry noted that in other areas that the Division regulates the process has been to require the expertise of a professional engineer in situations where manufacturer instructions are lacking. Mr. Frank Migliaccio, Ironworkers International, stated that Instruction 1403 of the C-DAC Consensus Document reads: Assembly/Disassembly - Selection of Manufacturer or Employer Procedures - On assembly and disassembly equipment (or attachments), the employer shall comply with either:

(a) Manufacturer procedures applicable to assembly and disassembly, or

(b) Employer procedures for assembly and disassembly. Employer procedures may be used only where the employer can demonstrate that the procedures used meet the requirements in Section 1406.

Task force members added that legislation may just force tower crane manufacturers to put together training programs specific to their manufactured cranes. There are currently no requirements that require training programs, videos, etc. be provided to employers. Mr. Lowry added that as MOSH can only regulate employers, not cranes, an employer would need to address the training issue as part of the contract that the employer would enter into with the manufacturer or owner when acquiring or purchasing a crane.

Commissioner DeJuliis moved next to form a subcommittee of volunteers to work on the issues at hand. In addition to MOSH staff, members of the Crane Safety Task Force Subcommittee are Buddy Cefalu, Ed Cieslak, Robert Hileman, Doug Howell, Barry Klingenberg, Mike Lenkin, Sissy Martin, Joe Shanahan, and Bill Smith. Mr. Brent Graham also volunteered his assistance to the subcommittee.

Prior to the next meeting, committee members are encouraged to visit NCCCO website to view crane legislation enacted in other states, including the states of California, New Jersey and Washington. The first meeting of the Crane Safety Task Force Subcommittee is set for Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the Laurel location, followed by the next meeting of the Crane Safety Task Force on Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the Laurel location.

The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.