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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

January 26, 1979

Mr. Arnold Kramer
Safety and Health
Ormet Corporation
P.O. Box 176
Hannibal, Ohio 43931

Dear Mr. Kramer:

This is in reply to your letter dated December 18, 1978, requesting a clarification of the terms "should" and "shall" as used in OSHA section 1910.179(k)(2).

Section 1910.179(k) relates to testing of overhead cranes prior to initial use or whenever altered, and when testing to determine and confirm the maximum rated load the crane shall be permitted to handle.

Section 1910.179(b)(3) relates to modification, after which the crane shall be tested in accordance with requirement of paragraph (k)(2). Section 1910.179(b)(5) requires that each crane shall be plainly marked on each side with its rated load.

Section 1910.179(k)(2) has to be looked at in its entirety. True, the first two sentences include the term "should," but the last two sentences contain the word "shall." The fourth or last sentence reads, "the test reports shall be placed on file where readily available to appointed personnel." In order to have a record of a test for rated load, and to mark the rated load certified on the crane, both would be dependent on the testing of the crane. Therefore, it is apparent, the term "should" as used in paragraph 1910.179(k)(2) does not purport to be advisory.

If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me.


John K. Barto, Chief
Division of Occupational
Safety Programming