U.S. House Member urges OSHA to prioritize employee safety by overhauling standards and practices.
epresentative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) recently sent a letter to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) urging the consideration of crane and derrick safety standard modernization. Representative Espaillat is a leading voice and tireless advocate on behalf of American workers. Workplace protections are critical to ensuring a healthy and safe workforce. In calling for safety standard modernization, Representative Espaillat is yet another high-profile voice calling on OSHA to adapt to modern technologies which can save lives if employed on job sites:
“The recently proposed amendments by the Department of Labor to increase safety standards of the use of cranes and derricks in construction sites fall short and fail to consider the use of new, innovative, and safe technology that has the potential to help save lives,” said Representative Espaillat. “In 2020, there were more than 1,000 crane violations in the nation, and it is critical OSHA implement crane and derrick technological advancements when amending current safety standards. Doing so compliments the recent implementation of the revised certification requirements within the OSHA Cranes & Derricks in Construction Standard put forth by the Coalition for Crane Operator Safety (CCOS). It is my hope that my call to the Department of Labor will encourage further conversations about the overall modernization of safety standards that prioritize employee safety and aim to prevent accidents at these sites.”
On May 25, 2022, during an Education and Labor subcommittee meeting, Congresswoman Alma Adams pointed out that “When OSHA was first founded, 38 workers were killed on the job per day from acute injuries.” Today, 14 workers are killed per day in a workforce that has doubled in size. “Nevertheless,” Representative Adams explained, “workers continue to get injured, made ill, or killed on the job.” Representative Adams went on to site the overly slow process OSHA takes to update a single safety standard (currently on average eight years) as a major impediment to making further progress.
Over the past 10 years, there has been a 32% increase in fatalities in the natural resource extraction, construction, and logistic industries alone. There’s no debating that this number is completely unacceptable, especially since most of those deaths were preventable. While OSHA staff works tirelessly investigating workplace injuries and deaths, there is more we can and must do to protect workers.
The men and women who work every day on jobsites see problems, know the issues, and have ideas to fix them. Protective exoskeletons, tracking sensors, virtual reality training devices, and crane load stabilization devices (like the ones Vita Inclinata produces) are not only driving innovation but also have the promise to keep American workers safe while providing new skills and opportunities. It is important to note that the growing chorus of voices on this issue are not advocating OSHA write policies to benefit one party over another but are instead simply asking the agency to bring its review process into 21st century. Issuing guidance and regulations on technologies that have the potential to save thousands of lives is the moral thing to do.