Insights from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were the focus of the second session presented during the fourth annual Overhead Lifting Safety Webinar Series (www.mhi.org/overheadsafety). Broadcast on November 4, “OSHA Overhead Lifting Safety Review and Presentation of Upcoming Initiatives” featured a 40-minute presentation by Reginald Jackson, an Occupational Safety and Health Specialist with OSHA who has more than 30 years of experience in the field.
Jackson covered five key areas specific to overhead handling during the webinar, including a brief overview of OSHA’s programs and regional office locations, how OSHA enforces its regulations, the latest regulatory updates from spring 2021, new initiatives from the agency, and a selection of resources.
Among the highlights of his presentation, Jackson noted that the total number of fatal occupational injuries involving cranes has fallen between 2011 and 2017. The overall average — including construction, maritime, and manufacturing — was 42 per year over the 7-year period. Within manufacturing, crane-related fatalities accounted for 24% of the total, an average of 11 per year. The majority of those fatalities were caused by either being struck by the overhead handling equipment or by an object falling from it.
Jackson further reviewed the key points of 29 CFR 1910.179, OSHA’s standard for Overhead and Gantry Cranes, including definitions, warning devices, inspections, testing, maintenance, rope inspection, and load handling. Of these, he explained, the top five most frequently identified violations from 2016 to 2020 (across a total of 1,891 citations) were:
- 179(j) – Inspection (Periodic, Frequent): 41%
- 179(b)(5) – Rated Load Marking: 7%
- 179(g)(1)(v) – Pendant Control Box: 5%
- 179(m)(1) – Rope Inspection: 3%
- 179(l)(3) – Adjustments and Repairs: 2%
Specific to the 795 injuries associated with overhead and gantry cranes, as documented by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics between 2016 and 2019, Jackson noted that 67% were caused by contact with an object or the equipment, and 14% occurred during maintenance and repair. Fractures were the most common injury sustained, at 22%, leading to a median number of 25 days out of work. Of the 54 fatalities related to overhead and gantry cranes during the same time period, the majority were due to improperly securing and balancing the load in the sling or lifting device prior to lifting.
Prior to answering a series of submitted questions Jackson concluded his discussion with an overview of some of the latest OSHA rule-making developments. These include potential updates to lock-out/tag-out requirements, new regulations regarding the prevention of heat-related illnesses in both indoor and outdoor work settings, and updates to the hazard communication standard. He further listed the agency’s 2022 national outreach initiatives and campaigns, such as those focused on fall prevention, work zone awareness, heat illness prevention, and Safe + Sound Week.
The Overhead Lifting Safety Webinar Series is presented by MHI’s Overhead Alliance, which includes the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA), the Hoist Manufacturers Institute (HMI), and the Monorail Manufacturers Association (MMA). Designed for owners, operators, maintenance, and safety personnel responsible for overhead lifting cranes and hoists, the series features presentations and Q&A from several industry experts and a representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The other three topics covered include:
- Dangers From Above: Integrating Overhead Lifting into a Resilient Safety Strategy
- Overhead Lifting Safety Innovations and Panel Discussion
- Best Practices for Safe Operation of Below-the-Hook Lifting Equipment
It’s not too late to gain access to the webinars. All four presentations have been recorded and are available with paid registration of $300, which also includes complimentary copies of safety and specification publications from the Overhead Alliance (a $260 value).
To register to view the Overhead Alliance’s Overhead Lifting Safety Webinar Series, visit www.mhi.org/overheadsafety.