On September 15th the OSHA revised its standard for the construction industry for cranes and drilling rigs (85 FR 57109). The new clarifications and exceptions reflect situations where Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations override OSHA standards.
The safety regulations of other federal agencies may provide OSHA standards for occupational safety and health in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 (b) (1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The FRA regulation, anticipating OSHA standards, includes safety training and certification or operators, and the use of railway cranes and railway road maintenance machines (RMMs) equipped with hoists.
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) and a number of individual railroads brought an action against OSHA’s crane and derrick standard in federal court when it was promulgated on October 7, 2010. OSHA has reached a settlement agreement with AAR, but the petitions remain in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The settlement agreement is tailored to those aspects of the railway industry that differ significantly from typical crane standard construction.
The FRA issued final safety regulations on November 7, 2014. On March 19, 2019, she notified OSHA that she intended to prevent OSHA’s crane and derrick standard in railroad workplaces.
The agency decided to change the crane and derrick standard, although the FRA exercised the preliminary ruling through its own rules to clarify what rules apply to railroad workplaces.
The new exemptions apply to work on the construction of railroad tracks and load-bearing structures and include the railroad tracks that support the tracks, the ballast and roadbed that support the rail and links, and the masts and other structures on which rail signaling devices and signage are mounted are . The exceptions do not apply to the construction of other structures that can be controlled by railways, e.g. B. Buildings, fences, platforms or retaining walls.
The FRA regulations also exclude any OSHA training, assessment and certification requirements for operators of RMMs. New exceptions include RMMs such as butt welding vehicles and similar railroad equipment, as well as RMMs used in off-level work, as well as rail clamps, rail stops, and work area controls. Off-level operation has been a longstanding and necessary practice in the railroad industry as the ballast and roadbed are sloped. Accepted industry practices already address issues while working off the plane.
OSHA also recognized the lack of significant injuries or deaths caused by the use of cranes or derricks to build and maintain railroad tracks. The agency also recognized a consensus between working and management groups on generally accepted safety practices in the railroad industry to ensure safety in the workplace despite the exception to the OSHA standard.
OSHA’s 2010 Crane Standard resulted from negotiated rules that incorporated industry standards and best practices for workers into legal requirements to prevent a crane from tipping over, being electrocuted from crane contact with power lines, being hit by equipment or loads To prevent the crane from collapsing due to improper assembly. and other hazards associated with operating cranes during construction.
OSHA’s revisions to the crane and derrick standard come into effect on November 16.