Frequently Asked Questions

IMPORTANT: On September 26, 2014, OSHA published a final rule that extends the deadline for crane operator certification in the cranes standard at 29 CFR 1926.1427 for 3 years, to November 10, 2017 (published in the Federal Register). The proposed changes also extend the employer's duty to ensure that operators are competent to operate the crane safely for the same three year period. During this extension, OSHA will consider addressing operator qualification through additional rulemaking. OSHA will provide updated information about the crane operator certification and qualification requirements as it becomes available on OSHA's Cranes & Derricks in Construction page.

General Information | State Plan Impact | Operator Certification/Qualification | Inspections | Material Delivery | Rigger Qualifications | Signal Person Qualifications | Equipment Issuess


General Information

Subpart CC of 29 CFR Part 1926 (1926.1400 et seq.), Cranes and Derricks in Construction, applies except for equipment including, but not limited to: equipment that is excluded under 1926.1400, and digger derricks used to perform communications and power distribution and transmission work. Digger derricks used in power distribution and transmission work may be exempted from the requirements of Subpart CC if the employer complies with 29 CFR 1926 Subpart V, and those used for telecommunication work may be exempted if the employer complies with 1910.268.

The crane standard can be accessed from at 29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart CC- Cranes and Derricks in Construction. An electronic copy of the regulatory text can be accessed from OSHA's Construction webpage at final rule (PDF*). The preamble to the final rule can also be found on OSHA's website under "Federal Register Notices" for August 9, 2010 or on the Federal Register website ( under Vol. 75, page 47906.

The final rule is available in 29 CFR Part 1926, which can be ordered from the Government Printing Office at 29 CFR Part 1926.

For compliance assistance regarding application of the final rule contact: Directorate of Construction, Room N3468, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2020 or fax (202) 693-1689.

A number of factors led OSHA to decide to undertake a rulemaking. One factor was the approximately 22 fatalities and 175 injuries that were occurring on average per year. To prevent more of these injuries and deaths, a number of hazards needed to be more adequately addressed such as: cranes and derricks contacting power lines; workers caught in or struck by the equipment; unsafe work practices; and equipment tip-overs. In addition, there have been considerable technological advances in equipment since the publication of Subpart N. Investigations of several high-profile crane incidents emphasized the need to update the crane standard to address hazards related to the use of newer equipment, technologies, and techniques used during hoisting activities. These factors led OSHA's Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, a group of construction experts, who advise the Agency on construction safety and health standards, to recommend that OSHA update its Cranes and Derricks standard.

The prior rule for Cranes and Derricks, 1926.1501(g) (previously 29 CFR 1926.550(g)), was published in 1971. It was amended twice - in 1988 to address the use of personnel platforms 1926.1501(g) (previously 29 CFR 1926.550(g)) and in 1993 to ensure that "[a]ll employees shall be kept clear of loads about to be lifted and of suspended loads" 29 CFR 1926.1501(a)(19) (previously 29 CFR 1926.550(a)(19)).

The former standard for cranes and derricks used in construction work 29 CFR 1926.550 incorporated requirements of certain pre-1970 national consensus standards. The new final rule sets forth most of its requirements in the text of the standard and incorporates national consensus standards by reference in only a few locations. In addition, this new standard includes a number of new provisions designed to improve safety. Several significant changes are:

  • Employers, including crane users and controlling contractors, must ensure that ground conditions are adequate to safely support the equipment.
  • New requirements applicable to assembly and disassembly that will protect workers from being struck or crushed by unanticipated movement of crane components, as well as require equipment to be properly assembled.
  • New requirements for maintaining sufficient clearance distances from power lines hazards.
  • New requirements for pre-erection inspection of tower cranes, use of synthetic slings during climbing of tower cranes and other assembly activities, and use of qualified riggers for those activities.
  • Fall protection requirements are clarified in the standard.
  • The new rule expanded upon the requirements for equipment (such as floating cranes) that was subject to few requirements in the prior standard.

Employers who use cranes and derricks in construction work must comply with the standard. In addition, other employers on construction sites where cranes and derricks are used are responsible for violations that expose their employees to hazards and, therefore, they need to address the requirements of the standard that may affect their employees. Crane lessors who provide operators and/or maintenance personnel with the equipment also have duties under the standard.

No. OSHA has determined that water well drilling equipment and activities, like oil and gas drilling, are covered by applicable requirements of 29 CFR Part 1910. (See 2/26/82 Interpretation/Memorandum to Gilbert J. Saulter at

State Plan Impact

Yes. Twenty-two states or territories currently operate their own OSHA-approved state plans (covering private and public sector employees), and four additional states and one territory (Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and the Virgin Islands) operate plans that cover public sector employees only. The OSHA-approved state-run safety and health plans must be "at least as effective as" the Federal OSHA program. Most state plans adopt standards identical to federal standards. However, state plans have the option of promulgating more stringent standards or standards covering hazards not addressed by Federal OSHA standards.

Operator Certification/Qualification

IMPORTANT: On September 26, 2014, OSHA published a final rule that extends the deadline for crane operator certification in the cranes standard at 29 CFR 1926.1427 for 3 years, to November 10, 2017 (published in the Federal Register). The proposed changes also extend the employer's duty to ensure that operators are competent to operate the crane safely for the same three year period. During this extension, OSHA will consider addressing operator qualification through additional rulemaking. OSHA will provide updated information about the crane operator certification and qualification requirements as it becomes available on OSHA's Cranes & Derricks in Construction page.

Employers must ensure that equipment operators are competent through training and experience to operate the equipment safely (see 29 CFR 1926.1427(k)(2)). If an employee assigned to operate a crane does not have the required knowledge or ability to operate the equipment safely, the employer must train that employee before allowing him or her to operate the equipment and must evaluate the operator to confirm that he/she understands the information provided in the training (see 29 CFR 1926.1427(f) training requirements).

The answer depends on whether the licensing criteria meets the minimum requirements ("federal floor") in 29 CFR 1926.1427(e)(2) and (j). If a state or local jurisdiction has a licensing program that meets the federal floor, OSHA requires the employer to ensure that all operators operating within that jurisdiction are licensed by that state or local jurisdiction, unless they are qualified by the U.S. Military (see 1926.1427(a)(1)). This requirement went into effect in November 2010. Note, however, that the crane standard's operator certification requirements do not supersede state or local licensing laws. If the licensing program does not meet the federal floor, OSHA does not require operators to be licensed in accordance with that program, although the operator may still be subject to action by the state or local authority for failure to comply with its requirements.

Initially, states or local governments are responsible for determining if a state or local operator certification program meets the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.1427(e)(2)(i-ii) (see 1926.1427(e)(2)(iii)). OSHA does not require compliance with a state or local licensing requirement unless the state or local authority that oversees the licensing department/office assesses that program and determines that it meets the minimum requirements in 1926.1427(e)(2)(i). and (ii), including satisfying the substantive testing criteria of 1926.1427(j) through written and practical tests and providing testing procedures for re-licensing. OSHA does not intend to require compliance with a state or local licensing requirement absent a public statement by the authority with oversight responsibility for the licensing office that the licensing program meets OSHA's minimum requirements and the reason for that determination. However, OSHA has the final authority in determining that the program meets minimum OSHA requirements.

No. This option is only available to civilian and uniformed employees of the Department of Defense. When the operator certification requirements are in effect, private contractors must use one of the other options for operator certification/qualification available under 29 CFR 1926.1427.


A variety of inspections are required to ensure that the equipment is in safe operating condition. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Shift inspections for all equipment;
  • Monthly inspections for all equipment;
  • Annual inspections for all equipment;
  • Shift, monthly, and annual inspections for all Wire rope;
  • Post-assembly inspections upon completion of assembly;
  • Pre-erection inspections of tower cranes;
  • Inspections of modified or repaired/adjusted equipment;
  • Four-year inspections of the internal vessel/flotation device for floating cranes/derricks.

No. Crane inspectors are not required to be certified. They must, however, possess a level of expertise that is based on the complexity and type of inspections they perform (competent). For more complex inspections (such as an annual inspection or an inspection after the completion of a modification or repair), the inspector must be qualified through possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing; or by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, and be able to successfully demonstrate the ability to solve/resolve problems related to the inspection of cranes and related activities (qualified).

In response to public comments and the results of several crane investigations, OSHA now requires a pre-erection inspection for tower cranes to enable the employer to identify crane components that have been damaged when transported to the worksite and prevent damaged components from being used to erect the crane.

Material Delivery

In accordance with 1926.1400(c)(17)(i), Subpart CC does not apply when construction materials are delivered from the flatbed to the ground at a construction site and the crane is not used to arrange those materials in a particular sequence for hoisting. This is considered a general industry activity covered by applicable requirements of 29 CFR Part 1910.

Coverage under Subpart CC under these circumstances depends on the type of materials being moved. In general, movement of material onto a structure under construction is a construction activity that is subject to OSHA construction standards. However, Subpart CC contains a limited exclusion from coverage of the Cranes and Derricks standard for when goods delivered directly to the structure are building supply sheet goods or building supply packaged materials such as sheets of sheet rock, sheets of plywood, bags of cement, sheets or packages of roofing shingles, and rolls of roofing felt.

Instead, this equipment would be covered by the provisions of subpart O, Motor Vehicles, Mechanized Equipment, and Marine Operations, when used to move building supply sheet goods or building supply packaged materials from the equipment onto a structure, but only when the cradle/fork is attached to the boom and the truck is equipped with a properly functioning automatic overload prevention device. The typical building supply materials and sheet good loads pose a reduced risk of falling off the forks of the truck crane because of the way the materials are typically packaged and bound for bulk delivery. In addition, the risk is reduced because the truck crane was specifically designed to safely handle this type of material and prevent hazards of material handling that are more appropriately addressed by the requirements of Subpart O.This exclusion is limited to the operations described above.

In situations where the equipment is used to hoist and hold any materials in support of their application or installation, articulating/knuckle-boom equipment must comply with Subpart CC. The use of articulating/knuckle-boom cranes to deliver materials onto a structure is also covered by Subpart CC when the types of materials delivered are similar to materials such as: steel joists, beams, columns, steel decking, or components of systems engineered metal buildings; precast concrete members or panels; roof trusses, (wooden, cold formed metal, steel or other material); and prefabricated building sections such as but not limited to, floor panels, wall panels, roof panels, roof structures, or similar items.

When the articulating/knuckle-boom truck equipment described above is excluded from Subpart CC, the equipment is subject to applicable construction standards in Subpart O, such as 29 CFR 1926.600(a)(6), which governs work in proximity to power lines.

Rigger Qualifications

A qualified rigger is a rigger who meets the criteria for a qualified person. A qualified rigger must therefore:

  • possess a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or have extensive knowledge, training, and experience, and
  • successfully demonstrate the ability to solve problems related to rigging loads.

A qualified rigger must be able to properly rig the load for a particular job. He or she need not be qualified to do every type of rigging job. Each load that requires rigging has unique properties that can range from the simple to the complex. However, previous experiences does not automatically qualify the rigger to rig unstable, unusually heavy, or eccentric loads that may require a tandem lift, multiple lifts, or use of custom rigging equipment. In essence, employers must make sure that the person can do the rigging work needed for the exact types of loads and lifts for a particular job with the equipment and rigging that will be used for that job.

A certified operator does not necessarily meet the requirements of a qualified rigger. The person designated as the qualified rigger must have the ability to properly rig the load for a particular job. A certified or qualified operator may meet the requirements of a qualified rigger, depending on the operator's knowledge and experience with rigging. In general, the qualifications of a rigger and an equipment operator are not considered one in the same.

No. Riggers do not have to be certified by an accredited organization or assessed by a third party. Employers may choose to use a third party entity to assess the qualifications of the rigger candidate, but they are not required to do so.

No. The employer must determine the qualifications of the rigger as applicable to the hoisting job to be performed. While documentation, such as a card from an assessing organization indicating that the individual has demonstrated specified skills, could serve as evidence of a rigger's qualifications, Subpart CC of 29 CFR Part 1926 does not require that a rigger carry such documentation.

Signal Person Qualifications

A signal person must:

  • Know and understand the type of signals used;
  • Be competent in the application of the type of signals used;
  • Have a basic understanding of equipment operation and limitations, including the crane dynamics involved in swinging and stopping loads and boom deflection from hoisting loads; and
  • Know and understand the relevant requirements of the provisions of the standard relating to signals.

Under 1926.1428, employers must determine that a signal person is qualified through the assessment of a qualified evaluator, who must meet one of the following definitions in 1926.1401:

  1. Third party qualified evaluator ("an entity that, due to its independence and expertise, has demonstrated that it is competent to accurately assess whether individuals meet the qualification requirements in this subpart for a signal person."). The signal person must have documentation from a third party qualified evaluator showing that he or she meets the qualification requirements.
  2. Employer's qualified evaluator (not a third party) (''a person employed by the signal person's employer who has demonstrated that she or he is competent to accurately assess whether individuals meet the qualification requirements in this subpart for a signal person.''). The employer's qualified evaluator assesses the individual, determines that the individual meets the qualification requirements, and provides documentation of that determination. This assessment may not be relied on by other employers

No, but employers must have documentation of the signal person's qualifications available at the worksite, either in paper form or electronically. For example, the documentation may be accessed from a laptop, via e-mail, or be transmitted from an offsite location by facsimile. While a physical card may serve as proof of a signal person's qualifications, it is not the only means allowed by Subpart CC. The documentation must specify each type of signaling (e.g., hand signals, radio signals, etc.) for which the signal person is qualified under the requirements of the standard. The purpose of this documentation is to ensure the onsite availability of a means for crane operators and others to determine quickly whether a signal person is qualified to perform a particular signal for the hoisting job safely.

OSHA requires each employer of a signal person to use a qualified evaluator (a third party or an employee) to verify that the signal person possesses a minimum set of knowledge and skills. [29 CFR 1926.1428(a)] In general, OSHA does not evaluate or endorse specific products or programs, and therefore makes no determination as to whether a certification program meets the definition of a "qualified evaluator (third party)." It should be noted, however, that in the preamble to the final rule for Subpart CC, OSHA stated that "labor-management joint apprenticeship training programs that train and assess signal persons would typically meet the definition for a third-party qualified evaluator....." 75 Federal Register 48029, (August 9, 2010). With regard to training, the employer is ultimately responsible for assuring that its employees are adequately trained regardless of whether the employees' qualification is assessed by the employer or a third party.

No. To qualify as a signal person, the operator would need to be evaluated by a qualified evaluator, satisfy the specified testing requirements for signal persons under 1926.1428, and documentation must identify the types of signaling (e.g., hand, radio, etc.) for which the operator has been evaluated. In some cases, the operator's certification process may also satisfy the signal person qualification requirements, depending on the qualifications of the certifying organization, the content of the certification exam, and the documentation provided by the certifying organization. In general, the qualifications of a signal person and an equipment operator are not considered one in the same.

Not necessarily. While being an accredited trainer may be an indicator that the trainer possesses the skills for effectively communicating subject matter to trainees, a qualified evaluator must also have demonstrated that she or he is competent in accurately assessing whether individuals have the qualifications required by Subpart CC. For further information regarding signal person and rigger qualifications, refer to related fact sheets that are accessible from the construction page on OSHA's website,

Equipment Issues

Sections 1926.1425(c)(2) and 1926.1433(d)(4) do not apply to slings. However, if the use of slings without self-closing latches for a particular rigging job would be inconsistent with industry-recognized precautions designed to protect against the load becoming displaced, such as manufacturer's recommendations or a consensus standard for rigging, OSHA could cite such a hazard under the OSH Act's general duty clause.

No. Subpart CC does not require all equipment to be equipped with outriggers. However, if the equipment is manufactured with outriggers, they must be either fully extended or, if the manufacturer's procedures permit, deployed as specified in the load chart.

No. The outrigger sensor/device required by Subpart CC must enable the operator to accurately confirm the position of the outriggers in order to comply with the manufacturer's procedures and load charts. However, this requirement does not prohibit advances in safety through design and engineering, such as when a manufacturer chooses to exceed OSHA's minimum safety requirements by equipping cranes with interlocks that prohibit operation if the outriggers are not extended properly.

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

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