Safety regs needed for crane operators
Oklahoma’s labor commissioner is doing the proper thing by exploring the regulation of heavy-equipment operators. Work on such regulations is ongoing, and began after two recent fatal crane collapses in Oklahoma City. The first occurred in July, when a crane holding a church steeple toppled and crushed a car, killing a man who was watching the work. On Oct. 20, a worker painting a parking garage downtown was killed when the aerial basket he was standing in fell over. Commissioner Lloyd Fields says there are as many as 200 cranes, bucket trucks, aerial baskets or other such heavy equipment operating in the state. In Oklahoma City, a work zone permit is needed when heavy machinery is used. Those permits require that safety guidelines be followed, such as roping off the work area. But the state doesn’t have any rules for those who operate heavy equipment. Fields has been looking at laws in other states. It’s possible the Legislature could have a bill to work with next session. We hope that’s the case. As one construction company president said, “You can’t work on a toilet unless you are a licensed plumber, but you can take a piece of heavy equipment and work without a license.” That needs to change.
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