Safety Corner: Cracking Down On Crane Safety
Crane accidents have been in the news often over the last few years, and some cities are responding with increased regulations and oversight on operators. In New York City, where stringent site safety regulations and management have been the norm for decades, the Department of Buildings recently unveiled a batch of updated policies and regulations to put an even finer point on the best practices for crane safety.
Appointed by Mayor de Blasio after last February’s crane collapse in Tribeca, members of a new Crane Safety Technical Working Group proposed 23 regulations, several of which went into effect on June 30, 2016.
The new regulations:
- Ban any crawler crane configuration that must cease operation in winds of 20 miles per hour or less from being on city streets.
- Require anemometers be affixed to cranes to monitor wind speeds and other weather conditions in real time.
- Mandate that contractors using crawler cranes must have an on-site lift director to monitor conditions and organize pre-shift meetings and inspections.
- Restrict crawler crane operations when winds exceed 30mph, as measured on site.
It’s safe to say that other cities will soon follow New York’s lead when it comes to regulating crane safety. Philadelphia, for example, has been looking closely at New York’s requirements and considering the same level of oversight and site safety management that New York has established.
Regulations like these are certainly helpful for enforcing proper implementation and more clearly guiding when, where and in what conditions cranes can operate. But they really should not significantly alter the practices and behavior of those of us who live and breathe construction safety, day in and day out, on every site. It’s the job of construction managers to ensure—no, to demand—that everyone involved in a project, from the subcontractor crews to the engineers, understand the construction environment and what’s happening around them.
Safety goes beyond what’s required by law. A culture of safety shared throughout a project team is the critical difference-maker.