March 13, 2015
Q: Oregon OSHA's crane rule covering qualifications for maintenance and repair employees (1926.1429) says that maintenance and repair personnel must meet the definition of a qualified person with respect to the tasks performed. What is the definition of a qualified person?
A: A qualified person is defined in Oregon OSHA's Subdivision CC crane rules (see 1926.1401) as "a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project."
It is ultimately the employer's responsibility to ensure that its designated qualified person (or persons) meets a level of competence to effectively perform crane maintenance and repair work according to the crane manufacturer's specifications. Employers can also outsource crane inspections and maintenance to a contractor who specializes in such things.
Q: Is it permissible to remove a ladder from a trench when limited space in the trench makes it difficult to work around the ladder?
A: It is permissible to remove the ladder if a competent person, who is capable of identifying existing and predictable trench hazards, approves it. The ladder must be long enough to extend three feet above the trench or protective system. The ladder must be staged immediately adjacent to the trench for quick access by a competent safety-watch person who is stationed topside. That person's sole duty is to continuously monitor the trench for safety hazards and to lower the ladder into the trench when workers request it or whenever there is a need for workers to evacuate.
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