As the insurance provider to a number of the nation’s leading crane and rigging, concrete pump, specialized transportation, and equipment rental companies, we have long been aware of the absolutely essential and outstanding work of our industry association, the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA).
Never before has the leadership and advocacy of the SC&RA been so crucial to our industry’s success. 2020 was an unexpected and tumultuous year, and it brought many changes to how our industry normally operates and comes together for various conferences, trade shows, and other events.
The Association recently released its 2020 Annual Report and there’s a ton of great news and info included within. Read on for our highlights and key takeaways.
Get ‘Pumped’ for a New Membership Segment
In 2020, the Association announced a new membership segment: concrete pumpers. The nation’s leading and largest concrete pumping operation, Brundage Bone (an NBIS insured partner), joined SC&RA and was subsequently followed by two additional concrete pumping companies.
We look forward to the growth of this new membership segment, and also excitedly anticipate the separate (but aligned) initiative of the NCCCO, which has recently appointed a task force for the creation of a concrete pumper certification program.
Advocating for Essential Critical Infrastructure Designation
Arguably the biggest advocacy win of 2020 for SC&RA (which devotes a large portion of its work for members to advocacy related to a variety of issues) was the Essential Critical Infrastructure designation. In the earliest days of the global lockdown, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed the U.S. crane, rigging, and specialized transportation industry and its workers as Essential Critical Infrastructure, the result of a rapid and effective effort by SC&RA. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security made the decision after only a week’s deliberation.
The importance of this work can’t be underestimated, as it allowed construction work to continue taking place and ultimately lessened the economic impact of a global shutdown on our industry.
Rest Break Rule Exemption Extended and More Flexible HOS Rules
Last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) renewed SC&RA’s exemption to the 30-minute rest break rule for permitted oversize/overweight specialized transportation carriers. According to SC&RA’s Annual Report:
“As part of the agency’s broader Hours of Service Final Rulemaking efforts, FMCSA assumed the new rules sufficiently covered SC&RA’s existing exemption. Thanks to the advocacy of SC&RA, FMCSA instead renewed the current exemption through 2025.”
Additionally, other changes approved under the new HOS rule reflect some sentiments of SC&RA, submitted through formal comments last fall as well as in meetings with FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen in early 2020. These sentiments outline key topics, such as:
- Modifying the split sleeper berth exception to allow drivers to divide their required 10 off-duty hours into two periods, with neither period counting against the driver’s 14-hour driving window
- Modifies the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
- Changes the short haul exception available to certain drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
SC&RA has also done excellent work in keeping members informed of OS/OW permitting alerts during the pandemic.
Virtual Events Prove Unique Learning Opportunities
SC&RA and other industry leaders such as KHL were able to successfully and rapidly pivot from in-person to virtual events. The Crane & Rigging Workshop and Tower Cranes North America conference offered ways for industry professionals to gather and share news, information, trends, and insights.
Be sure to check out the full Annual Report for more news and details on the impressive year SC&RA had, despite the myriad challenges 2020 presented. The full Report can be viewed here.