Minnesota union leader testifies in Washington on need for national crane safety standards

Twin Cities union leader Glen Johnson testified before an OSHA panel in Washington, D.C., today on the need for improvement in crane safety.

Johnson, business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers (I.U.O.E)/Local 49, said there’s a need for a national standard in crane safety.

“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,” he told the OSHA panel.

Local 49 represents 13,000 men and women in Minnesota, North and South Dakota who work for highway and building contractors, well drillers, equipment repair shops, welding shops, sand and gravel suppliers, counties, municipalities, hospitals, school districts and cemeteries.

Johnson said opponents say the changes will be too costly and could drive small contractors out of business. But he said in Minnesota, which has implemented similar safety changes, “the costs have been minimal, especially when compared to the potential for saving lives and preventing serious injuries. If contractors don‘t want to spend the money to construct roads, bridges and buildings safety, we, as citizens, can’t afford to have them operating anyway.”

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