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Policy Statement 424 - Crane Safety on Construction Sites

 

Approved by the Construction Institute on April 4, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on April 28, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2019

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), recognizes that crane and other lifting operations on construction sites require special consideration in order to protect against deaths, injuries, and property damages. ASCE supports improvements in the site operation of cranes and other lifting operations. ASCE supports efforts in the construction industry to promote and specify safety improvements which:

  • Require compliance with applicable regulations, codes and standards including local regulations which may vary from location to location.
  • Protect the public during crane and lifting operations.
  • Encourage owners, public and private, to participate actively in project safety including the assignment of responsibility:
    • To develop site lifting standards and coordinated project Site-Specific Safety Plans (SSSP) that address crane, hoisting, and other lifting operations safety for both production and critical lifts;
    • To define critical lifts on a site-specific basis at the beginning of the project by a qualified individual based on applicable standards and regulations;
    • To identify elevated and underground electrical power line hazards;
    • For on-site ground conditions and preparations; and
    • To train management staff and job site personnel in safety procedures related to crane and other lifting operations. 
  • Require the contract document to include requirements for the contractor to prepare a SSSP that includes safety provisions for crane and other lifting operations.
  • Assign to a prime contractor/general contractor (PC/GC) the primary authority and responsibility to coordinate construction site safety, including the management of crane and other lifting operations. 
  • Require that the Owner/PC/GC must act as controlling entity, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 23CFR1926 1401. 
  • Require that the Owner and Owner's design professionals to provide pertinent information concerning the project's site ground conditions, including, but not limited to geotechnical reports, existing or proposed soil excavations, underground structures, underground utilities, and other factors that may affect crane and other lifting operations.
  • Encourage hoisting equipment manufacturers to standardize equipment documentation, such as load chart formats, equipment control configurations, and assembly/disassembly instructions.  All operations and maintenance manuals should be written in the language and vernacular of the end user, with US Customary Units (Imperial Units) in addition to SI (metric) units and containing detailed explanatory graphics and pictures.  
  • Require barge-mounted mobile crane operations to have an engineering evaluation performed, to include a list load chart and buoyancy and stability calculations to verify crane and barge arrangement is suitable for the defined task.
  • Require cranes to cease operations and go into safe mode whenever steady winds are forecast to exceed the speed established by the SSSP or equipment manufacturer, whichever is more conservative.
  • Support existing programs that promote the certification of crane operators and support the establishment of a rigger, signalperson and crane inspector certification program. The programs should:
    • Be in compliance with OSHA regulations;
    • Provide uniform, national standards;
    • Be industrial relations neutral;
    • Provide local testing on demand; and
    • Require periodic retesting and certification.
  • Support a program that promotes the continuing education of OSHA inspectors in crane and other lifting operations.
  • Encourage insurance companies to support and promote to their customers, contractors, and crane and hoisting specialty contractors, the implementation of a SSSP and plans for other lifting operations.
  • Encourage the development and implementation of technology to improve the safety of crane and other lifting operations.
  • Encourage colleges and universities to offer courses within their civil engineering, construction, and continuing education programs that address the safe operation of cranes, hoisting, and proper rigging procedures.
  • Require that a qualified engineer, who meets the requirements of an OSHA qualified person in areas of crane operation and rigging, evaluate critical lifts as defined by the SSSP, federal, state, or local requirements, whenever there is risk to the general public and/or jobsite personnel. 

Issue

Risks posed by cranes and lifting activities can and must be minimized. The significant risks to individuals and property associated with crane operations justify special efforts to improve crane safety as an integral part of construction site safety.  Improvements can be realized by designating specific entities responsible for jobsite crane safety and the training of crane operators, riggers, and all personnel involved in the planning and conducting crane/lifting operations.

Rationale

The significant risks associated with crane and lifting operations demand an increased effort by all members of the construction team to improve crane and lifting operations safety as an integral part of project specific construction site safety. Training all levels of management, crane operators, riggers, spotters, and other jobsite personnel remains an important preventative method for reducing accidents, injuries and property damage.

ASCE Policy Statement 424
First Approved in 1994

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