In 2016 – following a spate of accidents involving non-union operated cranes – ELEC began a “Safe Crane” initiative to protect municipalities.
With an increase in crane use throughout New Jersey, many communities assume heightened risk and liability associated with private projects in which general contractors and construction managers are responsible for hiring crane operators, who may not be adequately trained or licensed. This leaves the door open for accidents and injury or wrongful death.
Why every town should have a Safe Crane ordinance
Without a Safe Crane ordinance, contractors do not have to inform a municipality that they will be bringing in a crane, unless a right-of-way is being obstructed or a police officer is needed for traffic control. This means that authorities only become aware of dangerous conditions after something goes wrong.
Working with the Local 825 Training Center and legal counsel, ELEC developed a model ordinance for towns and cities to ensure that only responsible contractors and operators receive construction permits.
Safe cranes for every community
The ordinance is similar to the state’s requiring drivers licenses and auto inspections. ELEC’s proposed ordinance would require safeguards for complex cranes that lift tons of equipment and which are capable of posing a threat to their surroundings.
The ELEC Safe Crane ordinance would compel contractors to provide municipalities with:
- A copy of the crane operator’s certification by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), identifying which particular crane the operator is licensed to operate.
- Proof of signal qualification certification, which is part of the training and testing for the NCCCO.
- A New Jersey crane license.
- A current medical examiner’s card, verifying that the crane operator has had an annual medical exam and is in proper health to maneuver heavy machinery.
- Proof that the crane operator submits to random drug testing.
- A copy of the most recent crane inspection, provided by the crane operator, owner or renter.
Partnering with municipalities
In order to help support compliance with a Safe Crane ordinance, ELEC has devised a specialized training program to ensure operator skill level and safety. Together with Local 825 and its NJ training center, ELEC sponsors crane training and refresher programs.
ELEC works with communities throughout the state to encourage passage of the ordinance, which has been legally prepared to avoid the need for annual updates due to changes resulting from innovations in equipment and technology.
Safe Crane ordinance scorecard
During 2016, twelve municipalities passed a Safe Crane ordinance. These were:
- Palisades Park
- West New York
- East Orange
- Passaic City
- Little Ferry
- Cliffside Park
- Gloucester Township
- Monroe Township (Gloucester County)
- Deptford Township
At the beginning of 2017, Safe Crane ordinances were pending in six municipalities:
- North Arlington
It is hoped that by the end of 2017, several more communities will have joined the movement to make their communities safer. Meetings have begun or are scheduled to take place throughout the year in the following additional municipalities:
- Atlantic City
- New Brunswick
- Saddle Brook
- Park Ridge
- Woodland Park
Cranes and their operators can be an asset or a liability
Cranes make it easy to transport heavy construction materials and reach great heights. Because they are only needed for limited periods of time they are most frequently rented. And that is where many municipalities run into trouble.
In the right hands, they can help developers and contractors achieve great tasks. In the wrong hands, cranes can be a hazard to public safety and a potential liability that can cost millions. That is why municipalities should protect themselves and their taxpayers with a safe crane ordinance.
Is your town protected by a Safe Crane Ordinance?
In the wake of crane accidents that have occurred over the past few years, many municipalities are recognizing the need to preserve safety and prevent damage to residential, commercial and public property by adopting a standard that governs crane operations within their borders.
At present, contractors do not have to inform a municipality that a crane is being used, unless the right-of-way is being obstructed or a police officer is needed for traffic control. This lack of oversight means that authorities only become aware of dangerous jobsite conditions after an accident, where there has been property damage, or worse: personal injury or loss of life.
Safe crane ordinances establish procedures that protect municipalities and their taxpayers against liability from accidents caused by unscrupulous or unqualified crane operators.
At a minimum, a Safe Crane Ordinance should require:
- A permit to bring a crane into the municipality
- An operator with a valid New Jersey Crane Operator’s License, NCCCO certification and an NJ DOT Medical Examiners Certificate
- An up-to-date crane inspection certificate
- Proof of an adequate level of insurance
Keep your community safe and connect with ELEC to insure that your local construction code includes adequate crane safety provisions to keep you and your neighbors from unnecessary danger.
To learn more about out Safe Crane Ordinance, contact Daniel Ortega at 551-222-9039 or by email at dortega@ELEC825.org. The licensing and training of crane operators is a matter of public safety and our organization is working with municipalities throughout New Jersey to address this common-sense regulation.
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