Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March 25: State should approve tougher crane standards

*Let crane safety become law in Miami-Dade and Florida

The decision by the Miami-Dade Commission last week to approve tougher standards for construction cranes did not come in time to save the two people killed in today's accident in Miami. Hopefully, the tragedy will prompt the Florida Legislature to approve its own measure.

Two people were killed and five injured when a crane fell at a 40-story tower next to Biscayne Bay:


Last week, Dade commissioners approved the ordinance, which toughens standards for crane inspection and regulation. The approval followed the tragedy in New York City two weeks ago, when seven people were killed by a crane that fell. However, it takes 10 days for such an ordinance to go into effect.

Florida Senate Bill 1316, co-sponsored by Don Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach and Mike Fasano of New Port Richey, and House Bill 609, sponsored by Greg Evers of Milton, would require certification and training for crane operators. Both bills are moving through committees in their respective houses. Once the differences are hammered out, the full legislature should approve the measure, and Gov. Charlie Crist should sign it.

Florida has toughened its building standards in the wake of hurricanes. There's no excuse for the cranes used in construction - which hang over offices, streets and homes - not to be subject to similar standards.

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