SC&RA continually keeps a finger on the pulse of regulatory and legislative bodies, monitoring activities of interest to members. A close relationship with key government contacts often gives SC&RA ready access to vital information about impending developments that could significantly afiect our industry.

In some cases, the Association becomes an active participant in shaping these developments. SC&RA has a proud tradition of collaborating with government bodies and other organizations on efforts that benefit the industry, its customers and the general public. Two new Association initiatives–Recommended Practices for Telescopic Hydraulic Gantry Systems and the Model Pilot Car Driver Training Program–exemplify this successful approach.

When the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) began the process of revising its crane standards, ofcials at the agency initially wanted to include telescopic hydraulic gantry systems in the process. Concerned about the possibility of a new set of well–intentioned but misguided and counterproductive regulations, SC&RA's Crane & Rigging Group convened a task force that met for the first time in March 2004.

Eventually, OSHA agreed with the task force's position that voluntary guidelines crafted by manufacturers, safety professionals, engineers and others directly involved with the systems made more sense than a regulatory role by the government. However, OSHA gave the task force a tight deadline for producing the material.

The task force met that deadline, completing the thorough, 24 page, Recommended Practices for Telescopic Hydraulic Gantry Systems manual by the end of 2004. Last month, SC&RA released a 13 minute video, funded by the SC&R Foundation, to complement the manual.

Similarly, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) turned to the expertise of SC&RA's Transportation Group when it saw the need for a Model Pilot Car Driver Training Program. Extensive research and analysis culminated in the identification of Best Practices for pilot car assisted movement of permitted oversize/overweight loads.

The comprehensive training program released earlier this year includes a training manual (with a separate version for law enforcement escort), study guide, and training test. A related Microsoft PowerPoint presentation ofers an excellent mechanism for classroom presentation.

In the process of completing this program, it became obvious to researchers that the lack of uniformity from state to state in pilot car escort equipment guidelines can result in operational ineffciencies, safety lapses, and confusion for pilot car escorts that support oversize/overweight load movements.

Consequently, FHWA decided to add a final project, which will develop uniform equipment guidelines for pilot car escorts. Like the other components of the Model Pilot Car Driver Training Program, SC&RA will prepare these guidelines in cooperation with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance with funds provided by a grant from FHWA.

To help stretch member dues, SC&RA is exploring other opportunities for federal research grants. Members further benefit because the resulting products are available at little cost. In the case of the Model Car Pilot Training Program, the only charge to members is a nominal postage and handling fee.

By taking a lead position in important crane & rigging and transportation projects, SC&RA enhances its credibility. Working together, the Association's members accomplish tasks that would have been impossible for individual companies to complete.

The products covered in this column, along with other useful tools, can be ordered from the SC&RA web site at www.scranet.org. Click on the “SC&RA store” button at the top of the homepage. You can also call the Association at 703–698–0291.

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