N.C. reviews crane policy

March 27, 2008 5:13:30 PM PDT
A couple of recent deadly crane accidents could prompt some changes in North Carolina.

In North Carolina, there have been 10 crane-related deaths recorded in the past 10 years.

Last year, Chopper 11 filmed a collapsed crane at a construction site. Fortunately no one was in the car the crane crushed.

In N.C., it's up to workers to check the cranes daily. State inspectors play only a minor role, investigating if there is an accident, complaint or fatality -- sometimes doing spot checks.

"If there is a crane there, we make sure that the records are appropriate, that the crane has been inspected," Allen McNeely, N.C. Dept. of Labor, said. "We talk to the crane operator the people around there, whether there is an accident or not. We make sure it's been put up safely and it's operating safely."

Only 15 states require its operators to be certified and N.C. is not one of those states.

"I think we see a bigger problem with people not being qualified riggers when they hook things up," Skanska Safety Manager Ben Dunn said. "If it's not rigged properly, then it's gonna come loose, it's gonna fall."

Workers with Skanska, the construction group building Raleigh new convention center, want that changed.

"It makes sure the operators have gone through strict training, physicals, the whole shooting match to where they're not operating by the seat of their pants anymore like they have in the past," Dunn said. "So they have the training to do it right."

The state labor department says changes are in the works at the federal level, but certification isn't among those changes. The changes would call for stricter training programs and beefed up qualifications.


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