Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) urged OSHA to modernize crane and derrick safety standards earlier this month. In a letter signed by five other members of Congress including Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY-7), the representative argued the Department of Labor’s recent, updated standards on the issue didn’t reflect the age of advanced technology available.

“In 2020, there were more than 1,000 crane violations in the nation, and it is critical OSHA implement crane and derrick technological advancements when amending current safety standards,” said Rep. Espaillat in a statement. “Doing so compliments the recent implementation of the revised certification requirements within the OSHA Cranes & Derricks in Construction Standard put forth by the Coalition for Crane Operator Safety (CCOS).”

“It is my hope that my call to the Department of Labor will encourage further conversations about the overall modernization of safety standards that prioritize employee safety and aim to prevent accidents at these sites.”

The letter, penned to Assistant Secretary of Labor Douglas Parker, said recent innovations should be considered in updated standards that went into effect earlier this summer. The existing safeguards, tag lines, could work in tandem with the new technologies. 

According to research by consulting firm MAC Safety, one in every 9,000 cranes will result in a workplace death. And 225,000 cranes are used around the country each day. Riggers who load the crane are at highest risk. In Hollywood fashion, the recommended solutions are through automation, robotics and computerization—the modernized anti-spin devices were found to reduce crane accidents by 63.1 percent, while increasing productivity by 30 percent. 

This letter comes a week before Mayor Eric Adams’ Aug. 15 announcement of New York City Pathways to Industrial and Construction Careers, a job development program aimed at placing 2,300 low-income New Yorkers in professions where cranes are often necessary. And the construction industry needs extra hands. An estimated 650,000 additional workers are needed to meet employment demand.

Tandy Lau is a Report for America corps member and writes about public safety for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep him writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift today by visiting: 

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