Crane Group Concludes its Work; Creates Nationally-Recognized Safety Rule

After four years of meetings the working group that helped L&I create a nationally recognized Construction Crane Rule held its final meeting Feb. 3 in Tumwater.

“The main thing I want to do is thank you” Michael Silverstein assistant director for DOSH told the group members. “We are recognized nationally as a leader in this area and because of this rule Washington is a safer place to work.”

AGC Board member Thom Sicklesteel President of Sicklesteel Cranes has served on the group since its inception.

“The stakeholder group consisted of a large cross section of the industry that spent two days a month reviewing language and making recommendations” Sicklesteel said. “As a stakeholder I learned a lot from the others about the impacts of the regulations. I think each stakeholder came away with an appreciation of the Department for taking the time to listen and respond to the industries concerns. Ultimately this should provide Washington State with a crane rule that can be effectively implemented while making improvements to work-place safety. It’s my hope that the Department would utilize the crane taskforce as the template for future rule making in other areas.”

The construction crane rule had its genesis in tragedy. In 2006 a tower crane in Bellevue collapsed killing a Bellevue resident in a nearby apartment building. As a result the state Legislature directed L&I to develop rules regulating construction cranes operating across the state.

A stakeholder group created in 2007 included owners of crane companies and construction firms labor leaders and DOSH staff. The 49 members met regularly for four years.

“The word I would use for the task force was respectful” added Sicklesteel. “This I believe was the tone set by the Department including Chuck Lemon and Larry Markee. There were questions and debate throughout our meetings and occasionally a heated debate. However we were all there for one purpose – to make cranes safer. We took the time to address everyone’s concerns – which sometimes meant educating one or all sides as to the ‘why’ behind a particular concern.”

According to Chuck Lemon Crane & Maritime Safety Program Manager for DOSH “It was a monumental task to get where we are today. We did a lot of work and I think we should all be proud of what we got out of it. This group has devoted numerous hours over the last four years in developing the new rules and helped the department make sure we adopted an effective workable crane safety rule. And it is working.”

Ultimately L&I adopted a rule that:

  • Established a method of training and accrediting crane certifiers.
  • Required all construction cranes capable of lifting 2000 pounds or more to be inspected and certified by an accredited crane certifier.
  • Required crane operators to be certified on the cranes they were operating.

The first phase of the rule took effect Jan. 1 2010. Public hearings are set to begin on a second phase of the rule that will address rigging requirements and adjust L&I’s rule to meet a recently adopted OSHA rule on construction cranes a rule adopted 18 months after L&I’s rule went into effect.

This rulemaking is permitted during the current rule moratorium in Washington state because the federal government has required that L&I move ahead and also because there have been significant stakeholder requests to proceed.

For more information contact AGC’s Safety Director Mandi Kime at 206-284-0061.