Crane Industry Leaders Call for Improved Training, Standards

Only days after New York City’s second fatal crane accident this year, representatives of crane industry trade organizations announced their support for enhanced training and rigorous new standards for safer crane construction, operation and maintenance.

Joel Dandrea, executive vice president of the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA), called the fatalities resulting from crane accidents “troubling” and “completely unacceptable.” He said those within the industry believe they must take an active, progressive role in establishing safe practices and standards. They also must provide necessary information for members and non-member companies to reduce future accidents and injuries.

Along with Dandrea, industry leaders representing the National Commission For The Certification Of Crane Operators (NCCCO), the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and NationsBuilders Insurance Services (NBIS) called for increased training and certification for crane operators as well as enhanced standards for crane operation.

NCCCO Executive Director Graham Brent said his group will focus developing performance standards for safe crane operation. AEM Vice President of Global Public Policy Nick Yaksich explained his organization is working to ensure contractors using tower cranes are following manufacturer’s erection procedures and operating and maintenance instructions, as well as performing all recommended and required inspections.

Bill Smith, president of NBIS, emphasized that training and education are vital to safety within the industry.

“These two critically important subjects – training and standards – are at the heart of any discussions about the recent incident and any steps the industry can take to reduce the potential for future accidents,” Smith said. He added that the “largest percentage of crane accidents occur as a result of human factors and not as a result of any inherent flaw associated with equipment or technology.”

New Task Force Addresses Crane Safety

In April, the SC&RA Tower Crane Task Force was formed to review recent tower crane accidents and related issues in order to put forth a set of industry best practices to help prevent future accidents and injuries. The task force also will address issues pertaining to local governments working to enact legislation to pass laws that could improve jobsite safety.

“This task force is addressing a range of issues related to crane and rigging safety,” said Frank Bardonaro, task force chairman and president and COO of AmQuip Crane Rental, one of the largest crane rental companies in the nation. “We are working with a broad range of professionals from our industry and related fields to ensure we fully consider all dimensions of the subject.”

In addition to work with the task force, industry representatives indicated that an international World Crane & Transport Summit will convene in October 2009 on crane and transportation safety to promote harmonization of standards and acceptance of industry best practices.

“Our association takes safety responsibilities very seriously,” Dandrea said. “Any injury or fatality within our industry is one too many.”

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