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.

February 27, 1992

Mr. William Dupont
North American Crane Bureau
Suite 218 1001
Executive Center Drive
Orlando, Florida 32803-3520

Dear Mr. Dupont:

This is in response to your letter of March 7, 1991, to Mr. Davis Layne, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Regional Administrator for Region IV, regarding the need for an employer to comply with standards other than those which are enforced by OSHA. Please excuse the delay in responding to your inquiry.

The first question that you asked concerned the need for an employer to comply with a provision of the OSHA standard for overhead and gantry cranes which has been deleted, specifically, 29 CFR 1910.179(b)(2) [the second sentence of that paragraph]. This particular provision was deleted from the OSHA standards in 1984. Even before its deletion the provision could not be enforced as a mandatory requirement.

Although there is no specific OSHA standard which requires that a crane constructed and installed before August 31, 1971, conform to the specifications of ANSI B30.2-1967, it is possible that OSHA could issue a citation under section 5(a)(1) of the occupational safety and health act (the general duty clause) if such a crane presents a hazard that is serious and recognized within the industry or by safety experts familiar with the industry. The age of a crane might have some bearing on the issue of feasible abatement, especially since the current 1991 version of ANSI B30.2 continues to "grandfather" pre-1971 cranes.

Your second question also involves the use of the general duty clause. If the hazard presented by a particular hoist is not addressed by any specific OSHA standard, a citation under the general duty clause may be appropriate. An ANSI standard such as B30.11 might be used by OSHA to establish both recognition of the hazard and the existence of a feasible means of abatement. Although OSHA sometimes makes use of a consensus standard as evidence to support a citation in litigation, this does not mean that the consensus standard has become an OSHA standard having the force of law.

I hope the above information will satisfy your needs. If we can be of further assistance, please let me know.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs