Olympia— Washington took a step closer to heavily regulating the construction crane industry March 7 when the state House of Representatives passed HB 2171 unanimously by a vote of 97-0. The Senate was expected to follow suit.
In the wake of a fatal crane accident in Bellevue last year, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Ballard, and Rep. Deb Eddy, D-Kirkland, introduced companion measures to regulate crane safety and require that operators be certified.
"With all the construction going on in Seattle, the Eastside and across the state, the potential for another accident is still present," said Kohl-Welles, the chair of the Senate Labor, Commerce, Research and Development Committee. "This is a matter of worker and public safety, first and foremost."
Senate Bill 5990 and House Bill 2171 would require the state Department of Labor and Industries to establish by rule a crane certification program, which would allow inspectors to issue certificates for the operation of certain cranes. Crane owners would be assigned several responsibilities. And under rules to be written by Labor and Industry, crane operators would need to meet certain requirements for certification.
The legislation would take effect in 2010.