The Office of Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been using the same safety standards for cranes since the 1970s, when a combination of deregulation and new technology forced them to adopt more modern standards.
Once again, the industry faces the need for another changing of the guard. Enter European Unified Standard EN 14439. Adopted by the European Union in 2010, and by manufacturers worldwide (including in New York) since then, it accounts for technological advances made since the 1970s and also improves the safety standard requirements for tower cranes, although these standards could also apply to other cranes as well.
Here's why OSHA needs to step out of the Swingin' Seventies and adopt the European standards:
1. Out with the Old, in with the New
There are only so many times you can retrofit a crane. Eventually, it just becomes easier to get a whole new crane. And while many people do not deal well with change, new standards will lead to new features on tower cranes, including:
- Cabs with air conditioning as a standard
- An embedded camera to aid crane operators
- New positive limit switches to prevent overloading
Such new standards and features not only improve the safety of crane operation, they also improve the comfort level and productivity of the crane operators themselves. After all, a crane operator who is less focused on how much he's sweating in the cab will be better able to focus on the job at hand.
2. Whew! That Was Close!
In 2010, 38% of all tower crane accidents worldwide occurred during operation, and those accidents included collisions. That number could be reduced by equipping all tower cranes with anti-collision devices. Clause 126.96.36.199 and Annex B of EN 14439 explain the requirements for such a device.
The use of an anemometer and outside indicators, in conjunction with the anti-collision device, should greatly reduce the number of accidents involving collisions.
3. Walk the Line
No one will argue that safety measures don't improve the quality of work of a company's crane operators and manufacturers. Even one death is too many, and a worker who is too worried about getting hurt or killed on the job will not be able to perform to his maximum ability. EN 14439 provides better safety standards for those who have to maneuver on foot on the crane. Specifically, it recommends such improvements as:
- Side rails, for the prevention of falls
- Positioning of Type 1 ladders to prevent workers from falling more than 10 m (30 ft)
- General area lighting with a minimum of 200 lux, which can include both fixed and portable lighting
Overall, OSHA does a tremendous job improving the working conditions for millions of Americans. By adopting the standards of EN 14439, the future safety of hundreds more, if not thousands more, crane operators will be ensured for generations to come. To learn more, contact a company like http://wazeeco.com/ with any questions you have.