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Mike Anderson

The newly revised A10.31 standard “Safety Requirements, Definitions and Specifications for Digger Derricks” has already received a positive response from the construction and demolition industry, and many safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals have already begun to incorporate the standard into their safety practices.

In this joint interview, Mike Anderson, Chair of the ANSI A10.31 Subgroup, and Matt Burkart, an A10 Liaison Member, describe the revisions made to the A10.31 standard and explain their expectations for its use.


Matt Burkart

What are your positions within the A10.31 Subgroup, and how have you each contributed to the revision of the A10.31 standard?

Anderson: I have been the Chair of the ANSI A10.31 Subgroup since 1995. In 2001, the subgroup began to redesign and update the existing standard. This task was recently completed with the approval of ANSI A10.31-2006.

Burkart: I served as Chair of the A10 Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) until 2000, and from 2000 through the present, I served as a Liaison between the A10 Committee and the A10.31 Subgroup to help get the standard through the A10 accreditation process.

How does the revised A10.31 standard differ from the 1995 version? What new requirements, recommendations or features does it include?

Anderson: I believe the four most important content changes to the revised A10.31 standard are as follows:

1. The most noticeable upgrade to the standard is the requirement that A10.31-2006-compliant digger derricks must have upper controls when a personnel platform is attached and in use. In effect, a digger derrick with a personnel platform must meet all of the same requirements for unit stability, upper controls and control handle interlocks, as required for aerial devices by ANSI A92.2-2001. Previously, digger derricks under this standard (please note that the standard is still voluntary, not mandatory) did not require upper controls when a person was placed in a pin-on platform.

2. The standard features a significant expansion of responsibilities for all parties involved in digger derrick design, manufacture, installation, ownership, leasing/renting, using and operating a digger derrick. Further definition of acceptable practices is also included.

3. Since the users of aerial devices and digger derricks tend to be the same, they are impacted and affected by the same standards—A92.2 and A10.31. In order to make this as standardized and simple as possible, the A10.31 standard has been formatted and worded to closely match the A92.2 standard. This should make it easier for owners, users and manufacturers to understand and to apply the standard.

4. The standard calls for all placards and control identification and information to meet the format and graphical symbolism developed in the ANSI Z535.1 standard through Z535.5. Also, recommended graphical markings are provided for control operation.

Burkart: The revised standard represents ten years of hard work on the part of the Subgroup Chair and his committee. Development of this standard reflects the A10 ASC’s commitment to providing the construction industry with guidance related to the contractor/developer and technology in equipment and its usage, including, as the Chair points out, the increased use of pin attachment work platforms and increased industry practice of leasing and rental, which were not fully addressed in the 1987 or 1995 versions of the A10.31 standard.

What kind of response has the revised A10.31 standard received from the construction and demolition industry thus far?

Anderson: The response has been positive, as we continue to receive calls about the availability and effectiveness of the standard.

Burkart: At this time, the response can only be judged by two aspects:

  • Complaints, appeals or questions. To date, the responses in this area are favorable.
  • The number of persons, firms and agencies who purchase/adopt the standard, which is also favorable.

How do you predict the revised A10.31 standard will impact construction and demolition operations?

Anderson: The new standard most affects these operations by expanding the requirements for design and responsibilities of all parties to the same level of performance that has been added to ANSI A92.2 since 1990. Two substantial upgrades to the requirements are the addition of unlocking or enabling devices to prevent inadvertent operation of upper controls when used with a platform and an emergency override by the lower controls to allow override of any upper-control operation.

Also, the clarification and expansion of responsibilities will improve consistency and uniformity in the training, operation and maintenance of the equipment.

Burkart: A10.31 incorporates the latest thinking of the construction industry, manufacturers, safety professionals and users to provide a safe work environment. It also more clearly defines these aspects of safety.

In what ways will the A10.31 standard help streamline the responsibilities of digger derrick manufacturers, distributors, installers, owners, users and operators?

Anderson: Responsibilities are expanded and defined much more clearly, and they are very much aligned with A92.2, such that these parties will be less likely to become confused about which issues apply to which types of equipment.

Burkart: I very much agree with Mike. Bringing the level for design and performance to the level of ANSI A92.2 provides uniformity for the manufacturer and consistency for the user, particularly in clarifying responsibilities, training and equipment maintenance.

What criteria does the A10.31 standard give for the specifications and dimensions of digger derricks?

Anderson: This is best understood by reading the document, but it provides consistent terminology and means of specification such that a buyer, user or owner can compare the performance of various models and various manufacturers.

Burkart: As Mike indicates, the expansion of responsibilities and clearer definitions are a definite plus, and they should help eliminate confusion regarding equipment and their issues. The clearer the standards are, the more likely they are to be understood and adhered to. This all contributes to a safer jobsite.

How can the A10.31 standard help organizations decide which digger derrick is right for their specific construction or demolition operations?

Anderson: The standard clearly defines specifications and terminology. This uniformity and clarity allow for simple review of the features and capacities of various models in order to match them to the job at hand.

Burkart: Using the digger derrick is not just a matter of looking at product specifications and capacities. Users must be aware of their responsibility with respect to required training, inspections and operations. This standard brings uniformity to the table for all involved in the selection process, including the manufacturer. Following the responsibilities and duties of various participants (designer, manufacturer, owner, renter, user, etc.) should make it easier to choose the right product for the right process.

How do you ensure that state and federal government agencies recognize the revised A10.31 standard? Have you encountered any difficulties?

Anderson: A10.31 is a voluntary standard. As such, it is not required by law, as opposed to some other equipment standards. However, it has, in previous revisions, been used to provide a clear and concise definition of a safe, reliable piece of equipment by local governments and municipal or government-owned utilities. The major difficulties encountered in adopting the standard as an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-accepted requirement have been two-fold. First, the available resource constraint that OSHA has been under has limited its timetable to update its standards. Second is the fact that a digger derrick is a fairly specialized piece of equipment for the utility industry and has received less attention.

Burkart: As a voluntary consensus standard, A10.31 reflects the current thinking and best practices for the use of this equipment in the construction industry, and as such, it is available to equipment users to adopt as their practice and to those who hire the users to require on their projects.

How do you predict the standard will interact with federal and state regulations?

Anderson: The standard is most compatible with OSHA 1910 and OSHA 1926. It supports all aspects of these standards that apply to utility construction and maintenance.

Burkart: OSHA is the promulgator of new regulatory requirements, but it must consider industry standards and absent specific requirements to rely on these documents.

What is the A10.31 Subgroup’s agenda for 2006-2007?

Anderson: After 11 years as Chair of the A10.31 Subgroup, I am “retiring.” Frank Petrasek, Principal Engineer for Southern Company (Georgia Power), has been elected by the ANSI A10 Committee to chair the subgroup. During the next year, the subgroup plans to generate publicity for the A10.31 standard and answer questions regarding its interpretation. It also looks forward to reapproving the standard in 2011.

Burkart: The subgroup will continue to review and update the standard, as usage and technology develop, on a mandated schedule that is not to exceed five years.

Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson has over 25 years of experience with Altec Industries Inc. Since 1998, he has served as the Director of Product Engineering for the company’s Creedmoor Manufacturing Division. In this role, he is responsible for new product development, continuing development and mobile equipment for the utility industry.

Anderson holds seven patents and is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American Society of Safety Engineers and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. He recently completed an 11-year term as Chair of the ANSI A10.31 Subgroup.

He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1973 with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural engineering, power and machinery design.

Matt Burkart

Matt Burkart is Founder and President of Aegis Corporation in Southampton, Pennsylvania. Aegis Corporation is an engineering consulting firm that specializes in providing engineering safety and loss control services to the construction and insurance industries.

Burkart is a member of several professional associations and ANSI A10 Committees. He holds a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering and a master degree in safety science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania