EPA Criticizes State Department Keystone XL Draft EIS

June 2013, Vol. 68, No. 6

Starting May 23, underground construction companies will have to adhere to the rules set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on use of cranes and derricks. This means companies who do underground construction or demolition will now have to comply with subpart CC of the general cranes construction standard, which was greatly expanded in 2010, 40 years after it was first established. There had been a separate, limited section in the cranes standard called subpart DD which applied to certain activities done in underground construction and demolition. Subpart DD had limited requirements. Industry groups generally supported that modernization of the standard.

Subpart CC includes operator-certification requirements, for example. OSHA says that applying subpart CC to underground construction work and demolition work benefits contractors who also perform other work because they will be subject to a single standard instead of having some of their activities covered under subpart CC and other work covered by the requirements in subpart DD. Subpart CC applies to power-operated equipment, when used in construction, which can hoist, lower and horizontally move a suspended load.

The 2010 final cranes rule contains many important requirements regarding personnel qualifications and responsibilities, in addition to the operator certification requirements, such as requirements for signal persons, and requirements for operating the equipment. The operator certification requirements take effect on Nov. 10, 2014.

Besides applying subpart CC to underground construction, OSHA at the same time expanded the underground construction standard (which is separate from the cranes standard) to restore the provision allowing employers to use cranes to hoist personnel for routine access to the underground worksites via a shaft without requiring them to demonstrate that conventional means of access are more hazardous or impossible for this purpose.

FERC gives New England electric market gas scheduling latitude
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took a first, tentative step to give New England utilities more flexibility in arranging for natural gas supplies. But the order issued on April 24 left at least one pipeline executive wondering whether the Commission actually accomplished anything of value.