When is a Hazard Not a Hazard?

With the OSHA Crane and Derrick Standard came concepts long overdue. One in particular, the use of "Temporary-Alternative-Measures" or TAM.

Historically, OSHA sets crane requirements. When requirements are not met, the crane must be taken out of service until it is in compliance. The problem with this approach is, although the condition may be a hazard, there may be alternative means of managing the hazard. As an example, an outrigger warning label is unreadable. Could workers be warned by another method until the label is replaced? Traditionally with OSHA, the answer would be “NO.” However, the Cranes and Derrick Standard gives management personnel new tools to keep the crane working safely.

ASME standards have always recognized that all deficiencies are not alike and a qualified person must determine if a deficiency constitutes a safety hazard. Even then, work may be permitted to continue to the end of the shift. The decision to continue working is based on a hazard analysis, where qualified workers analyze the situation and determine the risk involved. If the risk is low, work proceeds. If the risk is high, work is stopped until the risk is reduced or eliminated, if possible. This allows management to make choices when it comes to jobsite safety, rather than following OSHA to the letter.

The OSHA Cranes and Derrick Standard separates devices on cranes into two groups; safety devices and operational aids. If a safety device is not working, the crane cannot operate until the hazard is corrected. Good news is, the list of safety devices is short.

Safety Devices (29 CFR 1926.1415)

1. Crane level indicator

2. Boom stops

3. Jib Stops

4. Foot pedal brake locks

5. Outrigger hydraulic check valves

6. Horn

The list of operational aids is longer and contains devices that most workers would consider safety devices. If an operational aid is not working properly, the crane can still be used if a Temporary Alternative Measure (TAM) can be found that will assure the crane is safe to use. For instance, take the anti-two-blocking device. The use of strategically placed, high-visibility paint, on hoist rope, giving the operator sufficient time to stop, would allow the crane to remain in service.

Operational Aids (29 CFR 1926.1416)

1. Boom hoist limit device

2. Luffing jib limiting device

3. Anti-two-blocking device

4. Boom angle or radius indicator

5. Jib angle indicator

6. Boom length indicator

7. Load weighing and similar devices

8. Outrigger/stabilizer position sensor/monitor

9. Hoist drum rotation indicator

About Crane Institute

For almost 30 years Crane Institute of America, Sanford, Fla., has offered training for operators, inspectors, safety managers, lift directors, and riggers and signalpersons working with mobile cranes, overhead cranes, tower cranes, aerial lift and forklifts. It is an authorized CIC written and practical exam testing site. For information, visit www.craneinstitute.com.

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