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State Safety Officials Narrow Hoisting Regulations

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Nov 17, 2014 2:45:00 PM

The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety has narrowed the scope of its controversial year-old hoisting regulations after agreeing with Associated Industries of Massachusetts that federal rules pre-empt some of the state requirements.

ForkliftThe change means companies that operate industrial lift trucks and forklifts solely on their own property are no longer subject to the state regulations if the area where the equipment is used is not accessible to the public.

AIM objected to the regulations because they were costly and duplicated federal rules enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The state rules forced some employers to comply by reassigning long-term employees who had operated hoisting equipment for years to other jobs.

“The Department of Public Safety (DPS) deserves tremendous credit for an intelligent approach to regulation,” said Robert Rio Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM.

AIM and lawyers representing forklift manufacturers and technicians, prepared a legal memo to DPS outlining the case for pre-emption, citing several similar major national cases. DPS reviewed the memo and, following several discussions, agreed with AIM’s position and released the guidance making the hoisting regulations consistent with pre-emption law. 

Only industrial lift trucks and forklifts are exempt. Operators of other equipment subject to the law must still be licensed, even if the hoisting devices are used in areas where the public is not allowed. 

The exemption does not apply if the public has access to any property in which the equipment is operated. That includes warehouse type stores, where aisles are blocked off for forklift activity, but the public is otherwise allowed to walk freely.

There is also a new exemption for technicians preforming repair.      

Employers should refer to DPS administrative rulings and FAQ prior to making any changes to their forklift licensing requirements.

“Efficient regulation is a cornerstone of AIM’s new Blueprint for the next Century economic plan,” Rio said.

“Public Safety Commissioner Thomas G. Gatzunis, legal counsel Beth McLaughlin, and Tim Wilkerson, Regulatory Ombudsman Director at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, have created a model for smart partnerships between business and government.” 

Topics: Hoisting, Safety, Manufacturing

Massachusetts Revises Burdensome On-Site Hoisting Rules

Posted by Robert Rio on Nov 22, 2013 2:32:00 PM

The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety has released final regulations that will exempt some manufacturing and warehouse companies from burdensome rules for licensing people who operate forklifts, overhead cranes and other hoisting equipment on company property.

HoistingState law previously required individual licenses for every operator of even small pieces of hoisting equipment commonly used in manufacturing facilities, retail outlets, warehouses and warehouse- type stores. AIM worked with state regulators two years ago to pass a law - signed by Governor Deval Patrick on October 14, 2010 – to allow the Department of Public Safety to streamline the regulations.

The proposed new regulations would expand the current exemption from the licensing and permitting requirements for public utilities to include companies operating certain hoisting equipment solely on company property, provided certain conditions are met. One key condition is that a company must maintain an employee training program approved by the commonwealth.

Individuals or organizations seeking to offer continuing education courses for individuals to be licensed to operate hoisting machinery must submit an application to the Department of Public Safety. All courses must be monitored by a Massachusetts hoisting license holder and must offer a curriculum that, at a minimum, complies with detailed requirements for each class of hoisting machinery, as outlined in the proposed regulation.

The state regulations are in addition to any federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements that cover hoisting equipment. The rules also impact temporary permits that may be issued by a short-term rental entity for the operation of compact hoisting machinery.

If a company is not able to take advantage of the new exemption, then traditional licensing requirements will apply.

Employers need to pay attention to these new rules and carefully understand their applicability. Because state officials have rarely enforced the hoisting rules over the years, many companies will find themselves confronting the regulations for the first time. These companies may have no idea what the hoisting regulations are all about or why they may apply to their business.

You may comment below or email me at rrio@aimnet.org with questions.

Topics: Regulation, Hoisting, Safety

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