In October 1988, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new standard to regulate the use of crane-suspended personnel work platforms. Historically, these platforms have not been well controlled and about 63 serious accidents and 15 deaths have resulted annually. OSHA says that complying with the new standard should prevent future accidents. This article reviews some of these new rules.

Load lines must be able to support 7 times the maximum intended load, twice the existing safety factor of 3.5. Nonrotational rope is often used with cranes. OSHA now requires that nonrotational ropes have a safety factor of 10 as compared with 7 for other ropes.

Reliable anti-two blocking equipment is available now, and such a device must be installed on all booms.

Equip access gates with a restraining device to prevent accidental opening. The platform must have a standard guardrail system (typically 42 inches high) with a toe board. There must be room to stand upright in the platform. The platform must be capable of supporting its own weight and five times the intended load.

All rigging hardware must be able to support five times the maximum intended load. If nonrotational rope is used, increase the safety factor to 10.

Test load all platforms before each use with the full anticipated lift weight. The lift-position load test must be done each time the crane is moved, or when it's returned to the same location, or when the route is different.

Since lightning, heavy rain, and high winds adversely affect worker safety and crane stability, hoisting must be stopped during such weather.