Comment of The Real Estate Board Of New York to the Department of Buildings on the Proposed Rule Governing the Licensing of Hoisting Machine Operators and the Rules Governing Cranes and Derricks

Zachary Steinberg

Vice President, Policy & Planning

April 1, 2020

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REBNY thanks the Department of Buildings (DOB) for the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to the rules governing the licensing of hoisting machine operators, cranes and derricks, and rigging operations.

With countless moving pieces and dangerous equipment, safety on construction sites is paramount. Even routine tasks like rigging can result in accidents from environmental changes or a lapse in protocol. To protect the lives and wellbeing of construction workers, it is essential there be uniform practices and proper oversight. REBNY supports the department’s effort to mitigate risks related to cranes and derricks.

The DOB proposes several amendments to the rules governing safeguards during construction and demolition. The rule offers updated protocol regarding securing loads, multiple lifts, and the information required by crane manufacturers. Additionally, it provides clarity for experience needed for different licensing classes as well as crane peer review qualifications.

REBNY agrees with intention of increasing safety through implementing new regulations and appreciates the role that peer review can play in doing so. To that end, the proposed rule would be improved with greater clarity as to when the commissioner may exercise discretion in requiring peer review. Specifically, DOB should articulate the kinds of complex loading projects for which peer review would be required. Similarly, greater clarity around what would qualify as enhanced coordination among City agencies would be helpful to provide more certainty for a project. REBNY encourages the DOB to provide a timeframe for processing of the peer review report and informing the crane engineer of ability to proceed or necessary changes.

In addition, REBNY offers the following comments:

• The amendment to clause C of subparagraph (iv) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (d) of §3319-01 requires manufacturer to provide further information on products, including the wind sheer, wind load overturning moment at the base, overturning moment at the base center due to vertical loads, and maximum tower and boom displacement due to wind. This addition provides operators with knowledge as to the environmental impact on cranes essential to ensuring their safe use and the appropriate manner of securing when warranted by weather.

• With regard to paragraph (7) of subdivision (d) of §3316-01 that prohibits multiple lift rigging, however, REBNY asks for additional context. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) allows for the multiple lift rigging and outlines safety protocols in sections 29 CFR 1926.753(e) and 29 CFR 1926.251 of its regulation. If the practice is prohibited outright, can the DOB make that more explicit in the rule?

• The addition of paragraph (6) of subdivision (d) of §3316-01 states loads must be properly balanced before set in motion. They must also be properly trimmed to prevent any dislodging or swinging. While the intention is clear, neither balanced nor trimmed are defined terms. If the addition of this section it meant to provide further steps for increased safety, it would be beneficial to have a literal meaning of the section rather than relying on one’s interpretation of what is “properly” balanced or trimmer.

Thank you for the consideration of these points.