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Qualified Signal Person for Cranes

On November 8, 2010, OSHA’s update to the Cranes & Derricks standard (1926.400) went into effect. Although some of the provisions have delayed effective dates ranging from one year to four, there are a few important updates that were effective on November 8th. One of those updates is the responsibility of the company to supply a Qualified Signal Person in each of the following scenarios:

  • The point of operation (load travel, load placement) is not in full view of the operator
  • When traveling, the view of travel is obstructed
  • Due to site specific safety concerns, either the operator or the person handling the load determines that it is necessary

Why a new cranes and derricks standard? OSHA estimates that 89 crane-related fatalities occur per year in construction work. With the new standard updated, OSHA estimates 21 fatalities and 157 injuries per year will be prevented.

For those of you who have not yet read the new standard, it applies to power-operated equipment, when used in construction that can hoist, lower and horizontally move a suspended load. So what does this apply to? Crawler cranes, tower cranes, overhead cranes and mobile cranes to name a few. And yes, it also applies to forklifts that have a capacity of 2000lbs or greater where they are configured to hoist and lower a load by a winch or hook.

In order to meet qualification requirements to become a signal person, the employer must use a “third party qualified evaluator” or the “employer’s qualified evaluator”. Documentation must be maintained for as long as the employee works for that particular company. Keep in mind, the “Qualification” is not transferable from company to company.

What is the type of training covered in the Qualified Signal Persons training class? Well, the signal person has to have basic understanding of the particular crane that will be used (operation and limitations), crane dynamics, boom deflection, signals to be used and the means of transmitting those signals, etc. And what looks like a new trend for OSHA, the standard states the candidate will go through a written or oral test AND a practical to make sure they have retained the information. The employee must be retrained, reassessed and not allowed to signal if actions indicate the need. Oh, and all this training is at the cost of the employer, not the employee.

If you are in construction and using a crane, make sure you know and understand the new standard! OSHA will start enforcement on jobsites as early as March 31, 2011. It will be pretty obvious to see/confirm lack of training in this standard by the Compliance Officers. Don’t get caught without the proper training in your place of work – L.A.W. Construction Safety Consultants is currently equipped with the means to train all of your employees today. Call today to set up your training class (due to the practical training portion, class size is limited to 20 attendees at one time).

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