Cranes are not only an extremely useful piece of equipment, but they’re also extremely dangerous if something goes wrong. Each year, there are several crane collapses and other crane related accidents that claim lives. Having said that, the last thing contractors need is for adrenaline seekers to start climbing and playing around on their cranes. The problem is, it’s already happening.
Just last month, a couple took to Tianjin, China to climb the current world’s tallest crane at 2,000 feet in the air. They didn’t just climb up to the cab, either, they scaled the full length of the boom and stood hung out at the very top. Armed with GoPro cameras and a drone, they got some truly incredible footage, but the fact remains that it poses an interesting threat to construction sites.
This isn’t only happening in China, either, it’sa world wide epidemic. It has happened in Miami, FL, Southampton, England, and Dubai, among countless others. So, the question is, in the event of a thrill seeker entering your job and climbing your crane or building, what can contractors do to limit their liability?
According to the fine folks at The Barthet Firm, a construction law firm based in Miami, Florida, the first thing any contractor anywhere should be doing is to post legally compliant “No Trespassing” signs. In just about every US State and most foreign countries, it is illegal and a crime to trespass onto another’s property. And the way that law gets enforced is through the posting of No Trespassing signs in designated areas of the property. This is serious business; in fact, trespassing onto a construction site in most places is a felony.
But you can’t just nail up some signs and think you’re covered. The law generally states you have to provide adequate warning to anyone entering private property that the property is in fact restricted. You do so by clearly stating that the property is Posted. And to make that stick in court, your signs must be in the right place and have the right wording.
The Trump administration recently released its Spring 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and, contained within it, is a series of regulations that federal agencies plan to either amend or eliminate.
Last November, OSHA issued a final rule that would finally allow them to enforce language, which has been in their standards since 2010, requiring construction crane operators to be formally qualified to operate the equipment. The first day of enforcement for that rule had been set for November 10, 2018, but the agency has recently proposed a new rule that would pull back some of the initial requirements.
In March, OSHA announced that they would be enforcing their previously delayed beryllium exposure limit for the construction industry on May 11, 2018. The agency has recently confirmed that enforcement date in a memorandum on May 9, 2018.
OSHA newer and more stringent regulations regarding employee’s exposure to respirable crystalline silica officially went into effect on September 23, 2017. The new reduced the permissible exposure limit of the substance, which is found mostly in products containing sand (like concrete, mortar, and brick), from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air down to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged over an 8 hour shift.
If your company did not electronically submitted its 2016 OSHA 300A injury and illness log to OSHA before December 31, 2017, they could be facing an other-than-serious violation with a maximum penalty of $12,934. We tried to warn you, and warn you, and warn you again.
First announced in January 2017, OSHA’s new beryllium exposure limit for construction workers was originally supposed to be in full effect on March 12, 2018. The administration just announced last Friday that the new enforcement date for the rule will be May 11, 2018.
OSHA gives employees many rights in the workplace and employers many responsibilities. One of those is the employee’s right to see the company’s OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Summary Log and the employer’s responsibility to post it.
When OSHA raised its citation penalty amounts for the first time since 1990 in 2016, it raised them 78% to catch up with inflation over that many years. It wasn’t just a one time increase, however, as the amended Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 no longer exempts OSHA from its requirements.
If you have not submitted your company’s OSHA Form 300A electronically through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) yet, you only have a few days left to do so.
OSHA has long used the language in the OSH act to find and hold multiple employers accountable for the actions of another on construction job sites. For decades, OSHA would not only cite the employer whose employees were exposed to hazards, but would also cite the employer who was designated the “controlling employer” on-site, which is most often the general contractor.