SC&RA Submits Brief to Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission

- The Association, along with the Crane Owners Association and The Mobile Crane Operators Group, has released an amicus curiae brief filed recently in regards to an ongoing case involving Sims Crane.

The case involves a citation issued by a Mine Safety and Health Administration inspector who cited the company for allowing its employees who were in the process of connecting rigging (a spreader bar and slings) to perform work while beneath a suspended “load”.  In Sims’ appeal of the citation, the Administrative Law Judge made a factual determination that the spreader bar and rigging were part of the “load” and, as such, upheld the citation.  Sims has now appealed this decision to the MSHA Review Commission

The brief contests the citation and decision on the following three main points:
  • The citation and preceding decision by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) relied upon an incorrect definition of the term “load.” A “spreader bar” does not fall under the industry standard concept of “load” used in the actual hoisting process (as opposed to calculation of the total weight being hoisted by the crane).
  • The interpretation of cited standard is inconsistent with more recent, though nonbinding, OSHA guidelines for rigging processes when using a “spreader bar.”
  • Sims Crane was reasonably within compliance protocol of the OSHA Suspended Load Standard, and had properly trained and certified staff attending the crane.
The brief concludes by reasserting that the citation against Sims Crane should be dismissed or remanded because there was not enough properly construed evidence against the company for the ruling to stand.

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