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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

April 13, 1981

MEMORANDUM FOR:    Bruce Hillenbrand
                   Federal and State Operations

THRU:              John B. Miles, Jr.
                   Office of Field Coordination

FROM:              GERALD A. MAYES,
                   Acting ARA,
                   Technical Support

Originator:        Carlyle F. Bunn,
                   Safety Engineer

SUBJECT:           Physical Qualifications of Crane Operators

Since 29 CFR 1926.550(b)(2) references the ANSI B30.5 related to physical qualifications of crane operators (B30.5 Chapter, how does the employer establish that the employee is physically qualified to operate the crane?

We believe that the employer has the right to require physical examination by a licensed physician to make the determination that the employee is physically capable of safe operation.

Employers have not been required to provide physical examinations but have been told that they are in a precarious liability position when they certify an operator without benefit of medical opinions - but that OSHA has no requirement for medical examination. The only requirement imposed by the standards is that the operator be physically capable of operating safely.

Since this could result in national interest, it is requested that an opinion be provided at an early date as to the requirements to be followed.