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Crane operators not cohesively trained or regulated

Heavy equipment such as cranes are commonly found on construction sites in New Jersey, and the safety of the workers and people passing near the site must be protected by regular maintenance and upkeep. However, there appears to be a major loophole in the laws surrounding construction site safety. Although construction cranes are thoroughly regulated, the people who operate them are not.

OSHA requires that cranes be inspected at least annually. However, at the present moment, there is no national accreditation or licensing program required for crane operators. Virtually anyone who wishes to operate a crane is allowed to.

Because of the tremendous stresses, heavy loads, and extreme elevations encountered by a crane, it would seem like training and licensing would be of great benefit. Crane failures are well known and have caused many fatal accidents. Many of these accidents have been traced back to operator error. However, legislative efforts to require national certification for crane operators have been stalled.

If there is a negligent or improperly-trained crane operator on a construction site, then everyone near the crane is at risk. Construction workers who are injured in a workplace accident involving a crane may often require extensive medical care and treatment, and many are forced to miss work for prolonged periods while they recover. Most injured workers are covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance and are thus entitled to seek certain benefits that are available. An attorney can often be of assistance to an injured worker in outlining the range of benefits and in preparing and filing the required claim.

Source: Reporter Newspapers, "Construction cranes: Who keeps them safe?", John Ruch, March 4, 2016

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