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.
State 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.
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