Why the SC&RA is on the up for 2022
By Dan Colombini27 January 2022
SC&RA rolls up its sleeves and produces in 2021
As 2021 comes to an end, the message coming out of SC&RA is that the Association has weathered the storm, and the overall sense for 2022 is one of excitement and optimism.
CEO Joel Dandrea emphasised he’s grateful for the broad support of SC&RA members – perhaps best represented by a retention rate of 91.25 per cent from 2020 into 2021.
“It’s a great sign of loyalty and trust,” he said. “Our members see that in light of the challenges, we’ve been able to reduce expenses, retain an excellent staff, continue on all of our key advocacy and communication efforts while also focusing on our affinity programmes – and even add back in live events.”
To that end, Dandrea indicated that both attendance and involvement at the Specialized Transportation Symposium in June, the Crane & Rigging Workshop in September, and the Annual Conference in October was very encouraging.
“Sponsorship commitments have been strong, and participation in awards programmes like the Jobs of the Year was as impressive as ever. Simply put, our members understand the big picture and, while not a perfect environment, we’ve all been willing to take some risks to move forward.”
Dandrea also recognised the 2022-2023 renewal of SC&RA’s two endorsed market partners, NBIS and National Interstate Insurance Company, and four preferred producers; Allied Insurance Brokers, Emery & Karrigan, Hays/Brown & Brown and USI Insurance Services.
“These two key market partners continue to provide exceptional products and services for SC&RA members,” he said. “The platform of four preferred producers provides yet further options for members with diverse insurance and risk-management needs and diverse approaches to shopping and placing their coverage. We’re thrilled to have them committed to the Association for another two-year term.”
Jason Bell, SC&RA director of membership, echoed Dandrea by pointing to the Association’s membership retention rate. “The fact that we’re at nearly ninety-two per cent, given everything that’s going on in the world right now, is very indicative of the value SC&RA members believe that we bring to them,” he noted.
“Of the departures we’ve seen during the pandemic, those companies are most likely struggling beyond the Association’s control, although we look forward to their return when the time is right for them.”
SC&RA Covid efforts
Throughout 2021, the Association continued to endeavour for the safety and awareness of all its members via its Covid-19 Crisis Command Center, available on the SC&RA website. Relatedly, SC&RA joined the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) earlier in the year and has been signatory on letters fighting for its members on issues that include hazard communications, the CDC vaccine and OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard.
In addition to joining CISC, SC&RA also worked with the US Small Business Administration (SBA) on two standards: tree removal and emergency response. And throughout 2021, SC&RA has been emphasising the inclusion of crane-related information in permit discussions at the state and local levels.
“We’ve begun the process of asking state permit officials crane-specific questions, which will be included in future permit manual updates,” said Beth O’Quinn, SC&RA senior vice president of crane and rigging. “We’re also researching which states offer a blanket permit specifically for mobile cranes, and we’re very close to including mobile crane weights and permitting into the Association’s overall harmonisation efforts.”
SC&RA also submitted a letter to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, said O’Quinn, requesting they reconsider proof load tests be based on manufacturers’ load ratings for the conditions of use, while not exceeding 110 per cent of the maximum load ratings for the boom on the crane.
“We continued our work with the International Crane Stakeholders Assembly,” she added. “Collectively, we’ve been able to release a guidance – Mobile Crane Ground Preparation for Wind Farm Construction – available to our members through our website or mobile app.”
Another key accomplishment this year, O’Quinn said, was the Understanding Tower Crane Bare Rental Agreements document, a new tool to help tower crane companies protect themselves against unfair and biased agreements. This guide provides education on what specific terms mean, what clauses companies should be aware of, and how they affect business and insurance liability.
In a continued effort to advocate for mobile crane members, O’Quinn also spotlighted how both the Crane & Rigging and Transportation Groups worked collaboratively in 2021 to address an increase in crane issues at the US state level. These included the following: improperly taxed operations in South Carolina, super load limits and exorbitant engineering survey requirements in Massachusetts and now, newly required police escorts and night-time movements in Maryland.
Echoing O’Quinn, Chris Smith, SC&RA vice president, transportation, confirmed that SC&RA mobile crane and special mobile equipment operators scored a huge win in South Carolina when the state recognised that it was improperly taxing them through IRP/IFTA – when they were otherwise exempt.
Crane & Rigging Group
Smith discussed collaboration with the Crane & Rigging Group in solving Massachusetts’ 130,000 pound super load limit and required route surveys.
“To provide additional support, SC&RA has joined the state trucking association there in its efforts to repeal sales taxes on rolling stock equipment,” he said. “Additionally, a new UPT 2021 strategic plan to help get the final fourteen states over the line on automation continues to move forward. And representing another notable win, HB19 passed the Texas Legislature this summer and was signed into law – preventing the naming of the carrier in an accident lawsuit until the court can determine if the driver was found to be at fault.”
Pivoting to the recently passed infrastructure bill, Smith emphasised that “while no policy is perfect, we believe the benefits for our industry far outweigh the risks, and SC&RA joined numerous other associations in support of its passage.”
On the resources front, Smith explained that the SC&RA Safety and Pilot Car Committees have convened a joint task force to develop a best-practice guide for pre-trip meetings between pilot cars and carriers.
Looking ahead to 2022, he recognised that SC&RA’s Permit Policy Committee will pursue Phase III permit harmonisation with AASHTO. He was also looking forward to using the much-needed research he was able to gather in 2021 and refocus on advocacy efforts in a state-by-state approach.
SC&RF internal Workforce Survey
Much of that research was spearheaded by the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Foundation (SC&RF).
Over the summer, SC&RF conducted its own internal Workforce Survey, where 68 members responded. The data is being analysed and a report will be released in early 2022. In addition, the Foundation approved US$15,000 in funding for the update and revisions to its 2011 research study Transporting a Global Economy. The updates will help to bolster SC&RA advocacy platforms and include crane data as well as the new workforce data collected.
“This research holds particular value because we haven’t really had specific information about our industry up to this point,” said Jackie Roskos, director of SC&RF and SC&RA Ladies Group. “Now we have a significant snapshot of industry-specific workforce data for crane, rigging and OS/OW.”
Scholarships also remain an integral component of SC&RF, said Roskos. “This year, the board felt it prudent to slightly reduce funding, but to date, eleven recipients have been selected, and $15,830 has been awarded in addition to $17,900 in ‘Partner in Education’ tuition.”
In addition, at the Annual Conference, SC&RF announced several new multi-year commitments, including The Taylor Family Foundation, NBIS, the James Lomma Memorial and the Doug Ball Memorial.
On the workforce side, Roskos explained the Foundation is looking at how to better define the objectives and goals for Lift & Move USA. “Covid gave us the opportunity to reimagine Lift & Move, to reidentify what worked, what didn’t, to reclarify objectives and goals,” she concluded. “And hopefully a new programme rolls out as a result – one we can work with members on and continue to benefit the industry with.”