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 https://www.osha.gov.

March 7, 1983

Mr. Eugene B. Schwartz
Attorney Schwartz, Einbart and Simerka
800 National City Bank Building
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-3082

Dear Mr. Schwartz:

This is in response to your letter of January 6, 1983, concerning an employer's use of a crane operator who is blind in one eye.

29 CFR 1910.179 does not include any physical qualifications for overhead and gantry crane operators. However, an employer has the responsibility to determine whether crane operators can safely perform their work. An employer's decision could be influenced by working conditions such as, operators operating a derrick strictly by headset communications, crane operators having no visual problems in following the signals provided by a signalman. The physical qualifications required in the ANSI B 30.17-1980 standard are advisory requirements, which have not been adopted by OSHA and cannot be enforced on operators of equipment covered by 29 CFR 1910.179.

The use of the general duty clause 5(a)(1) of the OSHA act, is warranted only when there is a substantial probability that a recognized hazard may cause death or serious physical harm to employees. Whether use of a crane operator, who is blind in one eye, presents such a recognized hazard would depend on the particular work situation in which he operates. However, I can not say in your client's particular situation whether use of an operator who is blind in one eye would constitute a recognized hazard.


Bruce Hillenbrand
Acting Director, Federal Compliance and
State Programs