Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

September 17, 1974

Mr. Gilbert C. Fisher
Gil Fisher Demolition
415 Silver Spring Avenue Silver
Spring, Maryland 20910

Dear Mr. Fisher:

This is in reply to your letter of August 10, 1974 relative to the use of clamshell buckets in demolition work.

The Construction Industry Standards, Parts 1926.850 through 1926.860, give safety requirements for demolition work. The use of clamshells is not prohibited, however, there is a requirement that when pulling over walls or portions thereof, all steel members affected shall have been previously cut free. Also, mechanical equipment used shall meet the requirements specified in Subparts N and O of the standards. One of these requirements (Part 1926.550(b)(2)) states: "All crawler, truck, or locomotive cranes in use shall meet the applicable requirements for design, inspection, construction, testing, maintenance and operation as prescribed in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) B30.5-1968, Safety Code for Crawler, Locomotive and Truck Cranes." In the referenced ANSI standard this statement appears in Section 5-3.2.3.c.2.d: "Side loading of booms shall be limited to freely suspended loads. Cranes shall not be used for dragging loads sideways." Enclosed is a copy of the current OSHA standards for the Construction Industry.

It is evident from the above that the entire operation must be considered in relation to the question of whether the use of a clamshell is safe in any one particular operation.

The relationship between the D.C. Industrial Safety Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as all other safety and health administrations in D.C., are handled by our Philadelphia office. I am sending a copy of your letter to that office, address and telephone number of which appear below, for study and possible further response to you.

Mr. David H. Rhone Assistant Regional Director U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration 15220 Gateway Center 3535 Market Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

Telephone: (215) 597-1201


Barry J. White
Associate Assistant Secretary for
Regional Programs