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One of the major safety concerns for construction managers is compliance with OSHA standards for tower cranes. These types of cranes are used mainly in the construction of tall buildings. However, they can also be used short term for construction of pollution control equipment in industrial processing, such as industrial baghouses and scrubber towers.

For construction managers, OSHA standards for tower cranes are a priority to avoid liability to construction workers, as well as to the project site.

What are OSHA Standards for Tower Cranes?
In order to comply with OSHA regulations for tower cranes, it is important for construction management to know the specific standards applicable to their particular project.

OSHA standards for tower cranes are found in CFR 1926.1435. However, specific to tower cranes, it's important to know that under OSHA regulation 1926.1435, there are several subsections that provide a clearer understanding of how 1926.1435 should be applied to the use of tower cranes.

OSHA 1926.1435 subpart (b), for example, refers to "erecting and climbing tower cranes."

Further subparts (b1) through (b1)(8)(xii)offers the following guidelines:

  • Assembly and Disassembly
  • Dangerous areas for self-erecting tower cranes
  • Tower cranes foundations and structural supports
  • Addressing specific hazards
  • Wind speed
  • Loss of backward stability
  • Climbing procedures
  • Need for a registered P.E. (licensed, registered professional engineer) to verify strength of tower crane equipment and compliance with manufacturer's specifications and hazard warnings.

Detailed OSHA 1926.1435 Compliance Standards
OSHA compliance standards provide a detailed guide for tower cranes safety, from the basis of the manufacture of the tower cranes parts to use, location of use, potential hazards, as well as guidelines for tower crane operators.

How to Apply OSHA Standards for Tower Cranes
When a construction project requires the use of tower cranes, applying OSHA standards should be done comprehensively. The duty of implementing and monitoring OSHA standards can be applied by a construction staffer with knowledge of compliance regulations or it may be done by an outsourced regulatory group.

In either case, the planned project, acquisition of the specific tower crane, peripheral equipment for the particular project use and tower crane operators should all be fully informed of OSHA standards and be able to apply them as required in the performance of their duties.

Coordinating Tower Crane Manufacturer's Specifications with Use
Each construction job site location may have variables that tower crane operators should be appraised of before using a tower crane.

For example, some of the most hazardous construction sites requiring tower crane use occur in large urban cities. The variables at these sites to consider are location and proximity of the tower crane, construction site to nearby pedestrian areas, utility poles and signage. All of these are addressed in OSHA 1926.1435 and should be studied and reviewed.

For construction projects of massive proportions, multiple tower cranes may be required. Construction managers need to know the precise point and location at which each of these cranes will be used in order to avoid accidents.

When multiple tower cranes are in use, the impact on surrounding locations should be considered, particularly since tower cranes are mainly used for tall buildings.

Extraneous Duties of Construction Managers Re: Tower Cranes
Construction managers have a duty to ensure employees on the construction site are safely out of potential danger when a tower crane is in use. In addition, prior to bringing a tower crane on site, construction managers should know the basic structure of the foundation and provide adequate structural supports to ensure safety.

Additional Safety Devices
If a tower crane is part of a construction project, OSHA also regulates a wide range of safety devices like jib stops, boom stops, hoist brakes, hydraulic system pressure limiting device, travel rail end stops, hoist, trolley and swing brakes as well as check valves on all "load supporting hydraulic cylinders."
When it comes to OSHA standards for tower cranes, to avoid safety hazards, accidents that are avoidable and risk to towe..., construction site employees and exposing offsite locations to danger, coordinate  with each phase of the construction project.

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