Carolyn Maloney is the Democrat representative for the area in New York where nine people have been killed in two accidents this year. She said, “The administration has been sitting on new safety regulations while all over the country construction cranes have been falling out of the sky and killing people. Government can’t solve every problem, but we can make sure cranes are safe. OSHA needs to do its job and issue these updated rules before anyone else gets hurt.”

Rep George Miller (Democrat, California), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, added, “OSHA has been sitting on its hands while workers are being killed on the job. It is becoming clear that OSHA does not have the political will to follow through on common sense actions in order to reduce serious risks workers face while on the job. Workers deserve to know why the agency tasked by Congress to protect their health and safety continues to fail to do its job.”

The representatives wrote, with 15 others, to Edwin G Foulke, the assistant secretary of labour for occupational safety and health, saying, “We write to urge you to improve crane safety by issuing the long overdue safety standards for cranes and derricks.

“Last month’s crane collapse in New York City, which caused the deaths of two people and injured several others, is only the latest in a disturbing pattern of tragic crane accidents across the country. Also last month, crane accidents in Missouri and Iowa together killed two workers and injured 3 others. In March of this year, six workers and a tourist were killed and 24 people were injured when a 300-foot-tall crane collapsed again in Manhattan, demolishing a town house and an apartment building. This alarming trend demands speedy action from the federal government.

“Unfortunately, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) actions on crane safety have been far from speedy. The current standard, written in 1971, is obsolete as crane technology has changed significantly over the last 37 years. To make matters worse, in 2004 an OSHA-sponsored labor-industry negotiated rulemaking developed a draft revised standard, including specific rules on crane assembly. But sadly, four years later, OSHA has still not issued a proposed rule. This delay is unacceptable and has proved deadly.

“Please advise us by June 23, 2008 when OSHA expects to promulgate the crane and derrick standards and why it has taken nearly four years to do so.”