A major push is underway in Cincinnati to improve safety measures for operating construction cranes.
The effort would tighten several aspects of the industry in the city and has the support of a construction contractor who heads the largest construction crane business in the country.
â€œHeâ€™s been doing great work in this community for a long time,â€ Mayor John Cranley said, in reference to Frank Bardonaro of Maxim Crane Works.
Bardonaro spoke with WLWT about raising the standards for removal of aging cranes at worksites in the city and to implement requirements for those who operate the cranes.
â€œIn the past, there hasnâ€™t been any minimum requirement,â€ said Bardonaro. â€œAnybody could run a crane. You could actually work in Cincinnati and run a crane without any formal training. Thatâ€™s being eliminated now and theyâ€™re putting together some standards that says union or non-union, you have to have certain qualifications and training in order to work in the city of Cincinnati and operate this machinery.â€
He stated itâ€™s a common mistaken assumption that certification is required to operate a crane.
Only a handful of cities have such a requirement. Cincinnati would join that short list if the new standards are approved.
There have been several instances this year that called attention to the operation of large cranes at construction sites.
On Feb. 9, a crane lifting steel at The Banks became imbalanced and tipped over. No one was injured.
Three days earlier, a crane fell in New York City killing a pedestrian and injuring three people.
On Feb. 20, in Louisville, a crane collapsed during high winds, falling into the Ohio River.
Most crane operators around Cincinnati are starting to get formalized training. The effort is groundbreaking in a sense because it would not favor any company regardless of size.
The benefit would be to the workers, the industry itself and the public.
On a daily basis, there are about 200 cranes of varying sizes operating in Greater Cincinnati.
With one or two workers per crane, the on-job safety issue is evident.
City Council is expected to approve the tighter reforms, which would include certification of operators, registration of equipment, a phasing out of cranes that are more than 20 years old and a requirement for higher minimum insurance levels.
â€œSo our hopes are in working with the mayor and the legislation that theyâ€™ve written here, is one that could be used as a template throughout the whole country. This is something that if weâ€™re all doing it, it doesnâ€™t hurt any business. So itâ€™s an even playing field and itâ€™s all about safety,â€ Bardonaro said.
If the council approves the measures, they would go into effect at the start of July.