Glen Johnson, business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers (I.U.O.E)/Local 49, testified in front of an OSHA panel in Washington D.C. on March 17, hoping to help shape newly proposed standards that would improve crane safety across the United States. In Minnesota, Johnson has been an instrumental leader in improving training and certification methods for crane operators, and helped write the state’s current law for increased standards in crane operation.
“There are few professions more dangerous and potentially fatal than operating a crane. However, with proper safety and training standards in place, operators can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death,” Johnson told the OSHA panel. “Recently, Local 49 guided crane safety legislation in Minnesota, improving standards for our operators. I hope that by helping set a national standard, we can protect workers across the country.”
“In the last two years, there have been fatal crane accidents in at least five states, killing more than a dozen people. These numbers are unacceptable,” added Johnson, whose union represents 13,000 men and women in Minnesota, and North and South Dakota.
“While critics of these proposed OSHA regulations argue they would be too expensive to implement and drive smaller contractors out of business, that’s simply not the case. In Minnesota, the costs have been minimal, especially when compared to the potential for saving lives and preventing serious injuries,” Johnson says.