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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 16, 1991

Mr. William J. Hess
Gottlieb, Barnett & Bridges Consulting Engineers
One Office Park
Suite 515
Mobile, Alabama 36609

Dear Mr. Hess:

The following information is in response to your letter of March 18, 1991. In your letter, you reference 29 CFR 1918.45 (f)(1)(ii). We realize you were actually referring to the Marine Terminal Standard 29 CFR 1917.45(f)(1)(ii). 29 CFR 1917.45(f)(1)(ii) states: "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."

This topic is further clarified in the preamble to the standard. The summary and explanation of the standard states: "Paragraph (f)(1)(ii), as proposed, required self-centering controls on all cranes and derricks (46 FR 4235). Interested parties (Exs. 93-7, 93-58, 93-61, 93-70, and 93-74) clearly expressed support for a modification of this provision. The record establishes the infeasibility of self-centering controls on many types of cranes and derricks. Some cranes such as whirley cranes would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to operate with the additional installation of control levers for self-centering devices. Also, this requirement would not allow multidimensional moves by mobile cranes. As a consequence, self-centering controls will be required on overhead bridge and container handling gantry cranes only. This requirement is effective one year after the effective date of this rule to allow owners and operators a reasonable amount of time to modify existing equipment, if necessary." The final rule was effective October 3, 1983.

It is clear that under current OSHA Regulations 29 CFR 1917.45(f)(1)(ii) only applies to overhead bridge and container handling gantry cranes.


Gerald P. Reidy, Director
Office of Construction and
Maritime Compliance Assistance