Permanent Injunction Put on Crane Safety Ordinance

Fri February 20, 2009 - Southeast Edition

United States District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro ordered a permanent injunction against Miami-Dade County, enforcing its crane ordinance enacted in March 2008.

It follows Ungaro’s May 22 preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of significant portions of Miami-Dade County Ordinance No. 08-34, “Ordinance Relating to the Safety of Cranes and Other Hoisting Equipment; Providing Definitions; Providing Standards for Manufacture and Installation; Providing for Education and Certification of Operators; Establishing Standards for Hurricane Preparedness; Providing for Enforcement; Creating Chapter 8E of the Code; Providing Severability, Inclusion in the Code, and an Effective Date” (the “Crane Ordinance”).

The Court concluded that portions of the Crane Ordinance are preempted by federal law, specifically, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 29 U.S.C. § 651 et seq. (“OSH Act”) and standards promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). Among the portions of the Crane Ordinance that the court deemed was preempted was the Crane Ordinance’s incorporation of hurricane wind load standards pertaining to tower cranes.

The court, however, did conclude that several portions of the Crane Ordinance are not preempted under federal law, including provisions relating to crane siting and hurricane preparedness for cranes. The portions of the Crane Ordinance that the court concluded are not preempted were not enjoined and remain enforceable.