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Push to require crane operator licensing continues

Pennsylvania residents may have heard about a mobile construction crane that collapsed in New York City in February, killing a pedestrian. Manhattan was also the site of two fixed-place, or "tower," crane collapses that claimed the lives of nine people in 2008. According to federal and private inspectors, most crane operators are well trained by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. However, some safety advocates are pushing for a federal certification system to ensure all crane operators meet uniform training standards.

Pennsylvania is one of only 17 states that have passed a crane operator licensing law. The NCCCO, which was founded several years ago to address crane safety issues, has been leading a movement to get all crane operators certified. Operators certified by the organization must undergo classroom and practical testing, which includes training on how to properly calculate the weight of crane loads. They also must pass physicals and agree to adhere to an ethics code and a substance abuse policy.

The U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been pushing for federal licensing regulations, but there have been disagreements over how to differentiate between experienced and classroom-trained operators. Industry experts say that, while most states don't require testing, most major construction companies require their crane operators to be certified by the NCCCO. The CEO of the organization says that its certification program has been proven to save lives.

Many Pennsylvania workers who are injured in a construction site accident are eligible to file for workers' compensation benefits to pay their medical expenses and a percentage of their salary as they recover. In order to ensure their claim is properly filed within the required time frame, some workers find it helpful to consult with an attorney.

Source: NCCCO, "Pennsylvania to Require Crane Operators to be Licensed," November 2008

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