• Part Number:
  • Part Number Title:
    Marine Terminals
  • Subpart:
    1917 Subpart C
  • Subpart Title:
    Cargo Handling Gear and Equipment
  • Standard Number:
  • Title:
    Cranes and derricks (See also §1917.50).
  • GPO Source:


This section applies to every kind of crane and derrick and to any other type of equipment performing the functions of a crane or derrick except as noted in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
This section does not apply to small industrial truck-type cranes, container handling top-loaders and sideloaders, chain hoists, and mobile straddle-type cranes incapable of straddling two or more intermodal containers (16 feet (4.88 m) in width).


Except for bridge cranes covered by paragraph (g) of this section, cranes and derricks having ratings that vary with boom length, radius (outreach) or other variables shall have a durable rating chart visible to the operator, covering the complete range of the manufacturer's (or design) capacity ratings. The rating chart shall include all operating radii (outreach) for all permissible boom lengths and jib lengths as applicable, with and without outriggers, and alternate ratings for optional equipment affecting such ratings. Precautions or warnings specified by the owner or manufacturer shall be included along with the chart.
The manufacturer's (or design) rated loads for the conditions of use shall not be exceeded.

Designated working loads shall not be increased beyond the manufacturer's ratings or original design limitations unless such increase receives the manufacturer's approval. When the manufacturer's services are not available or where the equipment is of foreign manufacture, engineering design analysis shall be performed or approved by a person accredited for certificating the equipment under part 1919 of this chapter. Engineering design analysis shall be performed by a registered professional engineer competent in the field of cranes and derricks. Any structural changes necessitated by the change in rating shall be carried out.


Radius indicator. When the rated load varies with the boom radius, the crane or derrick shall be fitted with a boom angle or radius indicator visible to the operator.


Prohibited usage.

Equipment shall not be used in a manner that exerts sideloading stresses upon the crane or derrick boom.
No crane or derrick having a visible or known defect that affects safe operation shall be used.

Protective devices.

When exposed moving parts such as gears, chains and chain sprockets present a hazard to employees during crane and derrick operations, those parts shall be securely guarded.
Crane hooks shall be latched or otherwise secured to prevent accidental load disengagement.

General -


Operating controls.

Crane and derrick operating controls shall be clearly marked, or a chart indicating their function shall be posted at the operator's position.

After October 3, 1984, overhead bridge and container gantry crane operating control levers shall be self-centering so that they will automatically move to the "off" position when the operator releases the control.


Booms. Cranes with elevatable booms and without operable automatic limiting devices shall be provided with boom stops if boom elevation can exceed maximum design angles from the horizontal.


Foot pedals. Foot pedals shall have a non-skid surface.


Access. Ladders, stairways, stanchions, grab irons, foot steps or equivalent means shall be provided as necessary to ensure safe access to footwalks, cab platforms, the cab and any portion of the superstructure which employees must reach.


Footwalks shall be of rigid construction, and shall be capable of supporting a load of 100 pounds (4.79 kPa) per square foot.


If more than 20 feet (6.1 m) in height, vertical ladders shall comply with § 1917.118 (d), (e)(1), (e)(2)(iii), and (e)(2)(iv).


Stairways on cranes shall be equipped with rigid handrails meeting the requirements of § 1917.112(e).

If the top of a ladder or stairway or any position thereof is located where a moving part of a crane, such as a revolving house, could strike an employee ascending or descending the ladder or stairway, a prominent warning sign shall be posted at the foot of the ladder or stairway. A system of communication (such as a buzzer or bell) shall be established and maintained between the foot of the ladder or stairway and the operator's cab.

Operator's station.

The cab, controls and mechanism of the equipment shall be so arranged that the operator has a clear view of the load or signalman, when one is used. Cab glass, when used, shall be safety plate glass or equivalent. Cranes with missing, broken, cracked, scratched, or dirty glass (or equivalent) that impairs operator visibility shall not be used. Clothing, tools and equipment shall be stored so as not to interfere with access, operation, and the operator's view.
A seat (lap) belt, meeting the requirements of 49 CFR 571.208-210 for a Type 1 seat belt assembly, shall be installed on the operator's seat of high speed container gantry cranes where the seat trolleys.

Counterweights or ballast. Cranes shall be operated only with the specified type and amount of ballast or counterweights. Ballast or counterweight shall be located and secured only as provided in the manufacturer's or design specifications, which shall be available.


Outriggers. Outriggers shall be used according to the manufacturers' specifications or design data, which shall be available. Floats, when used, shall be securely attached to the outriggers. Wood blocks or other support shall be of sufficient size to support the outrigger, free of defects that may affect safety and of sufficient width and length to prevent the crane from shifting or toppling under load.


Exhaust gases. Engine exhaust gases shall be discharged away from the normal position of crane operating personnel.

Electrical equipment shall be so located or enclosed that live parts will not be exposed to accidental contact. Designated persons may work on energized equipment only if necessary during inspection, maintenance, or repair.

Fire extinguisher.


At least one portable fire extinguisher of at least 5-BC rating or equivalent shall be accessible in the cab of the crane or derrick.

No portable fire extinguisher using carbon tetrachloride or chlorobromomethane extinguishing agents shall be used.

Rope on drums. At least three full turns of rope shall remain on ungrooved drums, and two turns on grooved drums, under all operating conditions. Wire rope shall be secured to drums by clamps, U-bolts, shackles or equivalent means. Fiber rope fastenings are prohibited.


Assembly or disassembly of boom sections. Mobile crane booms being assembled or disassembled on the ground with or without the support of the boom harness shall be blocked to prevent dropping of the boom or boom sections.



Each independent hoisting unit of a crane shall be equipped with at least one holding brake, applied directly to the motor shaft or gear train.
Each independent hoisting unit of a crane, except worm geared hoists, the angle of whose worm is such as to prevent the load from accelerating in the lowering direction, shall, in addition to a holding brake, be equipped with a controlled braking means to control lowering speeds.
Holding brakes for hoist units shall have not less than the following percentage of the rated load hoisting torque at the point where the brake is applied:
125 percent when used with an other than mechanically controlled braking means; or
100 percent when used with a mechanically-controlled braking means.
100 percent when two holding brakes are provided.
All power control braking means shall be capable of maintaining safe lowering speeds of rated loads.

Rail-mounted cranes (excluding locomotive types).


For the purposes of this section, rail-mounted cranes include bridge cranes and portal cranes.


Rated load marking. The rated loads of bridge cranes shall be plainly marked on each side of the crane and in the cab. If there is more than one hoisting unit, each hoist shall have its rated load marked on it or on its load block. Marking shall be legible from the ground level.


Wind-indicating devices.

After October 3, 1983, each rail-mounted bridge and portal crane located outside of an enclosed structure shall be fitted with an operable wind-indicating device.
The wind indicating device shall provide a visible or audible warning to alert the operator of high wind conditions. That warning shall be transmitted whenever the following circumstances are present:
When wind velocity reaches the warning speed, not exceeding the crane manufacturer's recommendations; and
When wind velocity reaches the shutdown speed, not exceeding the crane manufacturer's recommendations, at which work is to be stopped and the crane secured.

Instructions. The employer shall post operating instructions for high wind conditions in the operator's cab of each crane. Operators shall be directed to comply with these instructions. The instructions shall include procedures for responding to high wind alerts and for any coordination necessary with other cranes.


Securing of cranes in high winds.


When the wind reaches the crane's warning speed:

Gantry travel shall be stopped; and
The crane shall be readied for shutdown.
When the wind reaches the crane's shutdown speed:
Any portion of the crane spanning or partially spanning a vessel shall be moved clear of the vessel if safe to do so; and
The crane shall be secured against travel, using all available means of securing.
The employer shall monitor local weather conditions by subscribing to a weather service or using equally effective means.

Stops and bumpers.

The ends of all tracks shall be equipped with stops or bumpers. If a stop engages the tread of the wheel, it shall be of a height not less than the radius of the wheel.
When more than one crane operates on the same runway or more than one trolley on the same bridge, each crane or trolley shall be equipped with bumpers or equivalent devices at adjacent ends subject to impact.

Employee exposure to crane movement. When employees may be in the vicinity of the tracks, crane trucks shall be equipped with personnel-deflecting guards.


Pedestrian clearance. If the track area is used for employee passage or for work, a minimum clearance of three feet (.91 m) shall be provided between trucks or the structures of rail-mounted cranes and any other structure or obstruction. When the required clearance is not available on at least one side of the crane's trucks, the area shall not be used and shall be marked and identified.


Warning devices. Rail-mounted cranes shall be equipped with an effective travel warning device which shall be used to warn employees who may be in the path of the moving crane.


Communications. Means of communication shall be provided between the operator's cab and the base of the gantry of all rail-mounted cranes. This requirement may be met by telephone, radio, sound-signalling system or other effective methods, but not solely by hand-signalling.

Limit switch bypass systems shall be secured during all cargo operations. Such bypass systems shall not be used except in an emergency or during non-cargo handling operations such as stowing cranes or derricks or performing repairs. When a situation requiring the use of a bypass system or the readjustment of a limit switch arises, it shall be done only under the direction of a crane mechanic.

Stabilizing of locomotive cranes. Loads may be hoisted by locomotive cranes only if outriggers are in place, unless means are taken to prevent the load being carried by the truck springs of the crane.



Use of cranes together. When two or more cranes hoist a load in unison, a designated person shall direct the operation and instruct personnel in positioning, rigging of the load and movements to be made.

Guarding of swing radius. Accessible areas within the swing radius of the body of a revolving crane shall be physically guarded during operations to prevent an employee from being caught between the body of the crane and any fixed structure or between parts of the crane.


Securing mobile crane components in transit. The crane's superstructure and boom shall be secured against rotation and carried in line with the direction of travel except when negotiating turns with an operator in the cab or when the boom is supported on a dolly. The empty hook or other attachment shall be secured.


Unattended cranes. The following steps shall be taken before leaving a crane unattended between work periods:

Suspended loads, such as those hoisted by lifting magnets or clamshell buckets, shall be landed unless the storage position or maximum hoisting of the suspended device will provide equivalent safety;
Clutches shall be disengaged;
The power supply shall be shut off;
The crane shall be secured against accidental travel; and
The boom shall be lowered or secured against movement.

Operating near electric power lines.


Clearance. Unless electrical distribution and transmission lines are de-energized and visibly grounded at the point of work, or unless insulating barriers not a part of or attached to the crane have been erected to prevent physical contact with lines, cranes may be operated near power lines only in accordance with the following:

For lines rated 50 kV or below, minimum clearance between the lines and any part of the crane or load shall be 10 feet (3.05 m);
For lines rated over 50 kV, minimum clearance between the lines and any part of the crane or load shall be either 10 feet (3.05 m) plus 0.4 inch (10.16 mm) for each 1 kV over 50 kV, or twice the length of the line insulator, but never less than 10 feet; and
In transit with no load and boom lowered, the clearance shall be a minimum of 4 feet (1.22 m).

Boom guards. Cage-type boom guards, insulating links or proximity warning devices may be used on cranes, but they shall not be used in place of the clearances required by paragraph (i)(5)(i) of this section.


Determination of energized lines. Any overhead line shall be presumed to be energized until the owner of the line indicates that it is not energized.


Protection for employees being hoisted.

No employee shall be hoisted by the load hoisting apparatus of a crane or derrick except:
On intermodal container spreaders, equipped in accordance with paragraph (j)(8) of this section; or
In a boatswain's chair or other device rigged to prevent it from accidental disengagement from the hook or supporting member; or
On a platform meeting the following requirements:

Enclosed by a railing or other means providing protection equivalent to that described in § 1917.112(c). If equipped with open railings, the platform shall be fitted with toe boards;

Having a safety factor of four based on ultimate strength;
Bearing a plate or permanent marking indicating maximum load rating, which shall not be exceeded, and the weight of the platform itself;
Equipped with a device to prevent access doors, when used, from opening accidentally;
Equipped with overhead protection for employees on the platform if they are exposed to falling objects or overhead hazards;
Secured to the load line by means other than wedge and socket attachments, unless the free (bitter) end of the line is secured back to itself by a clamp placed as close above the wedge as possible.
Except in an emergency, the hoisting mechanism of all cranes or derricks used to hoist personnel shall operate only in power up and power down, with automatic brake application when not hoisting or lowering.
Variable radius booms of a crane or derrick used to hoist personnel shall be so constructed or secured as to prevent accidental boom movement.
Platforms or devices used to hoist employees shall be inspected for defects before each day's use and shall be removed from service if defective.
Employees being hoisted shall remain in continuous sight of and communication with the operator or signalman.
Operators shall remain at the controls when employees are hoisted.
Cranes shall not travel while employees are hoisted, except in emergency or in normal tier to tier transfer of employees during container operations.
When intermodal container spreaders are used to transfer employees to or from the tops of containers, the spreaders shall be equipped with a personnel platform equipped with fixed railings, provided that the railings have one or more openings for access. The openings shall be fitted with a means of closure, such as chains with hooks. Existing railings shall be at least 36 inches (0.91 m) in height. New railings installed after October 3, 1983 shall be 42 inches (1.07 m), plus or minus 3 inches (7.62 cm), in height. The provisions of paragraphs (j)(1)(iii)(C), (j)(1)(iii)(D), and (j)(1)(iii)(F) of this section also apply to personnel platforms when such container spreaders are used.
Employees shall not be hoisted on intermodal container spreaders while a load is engaged.
All cranes and derricks used to hoist personnel shall be equipped with an anti-two-blocking device.

Routine inspection.


Designated persons shall visually inspect each crane and derrick on each day of use for defects in functional operating components and shall report any defect found to the employer. The employer shall inform the operator of the findings.

A designated person shall thoroughly inspect all functional components and accessible structural features of each crane or device at monthly intervals.
Any defects found during such inspections which may create a safety hazard shall be corrected before further equipment use. Repairs shall be performed only by designated persons.
A record of monthly inspections shall be maintained for six months in or on the crane or derrick or at the terminal.

[48 FR 30909, July 5, 1983; 62 FR 40141, July 25, 1997; 65 FR 40940, June 30, 2000]