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.

October 23, 1992

Mr. Brian Mills
National Safety Manager
Vibroplant, Inc.
1001 W. Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040-5033

Dear Mr. Mills:

Your May 18 letter to Mr. Jim Knorpp, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Area Director for Fort Worth, was forwarded to this office for response. I apologize for the delay in replying to your inquiry as to OSHA's interpretations of the terms "certified" and "qualified" as used in ANSI standards for aerial lifts.

Aerial lifts are specifically addressed by OSHA at 29 CFR 1926.453 Paragraph (a) if that section requires aerial lifts to be designed and constructed in conformance with ANSI A92.2-1969 (including the appendix). The paragraph does not require the operation and use of equipment to be in conformance with the ANSI standard. There are two OSHA standards addressing the qualifications of lift operators. Section 1926.21(b)(2) requires employers to instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment. Section 1926.556(b)(2)(ii) requires that "only authorized persons shall operate an aerial lift." The term "authorized person is defined at 1926.32(d) as "a person approved or assigned by the employer to perform a specific type of duty or duties or to be at a specific location or locations at the jobsite." There are no specific OSHA regulations that require aerial lift operators to be either certified or qualified.

In the situation where operator capabilities are the issue, OSHA would first determine if the operator was trained and if no training was provided, issue a citation for violating 1926.21(b)(2). IF training was provided, OSHA would need to use the general duty requirements of paragraph 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act to address any related violations. In so doing, OSHA would use the ANSI requirements to help establish what the industry practice is in regard to operator qualifications. Although OSHA defines the term, "qualified" at 1926.32(1), the terms "certified" and "qualified would have to be defined by ANSI in this case because it would be that organization's definitions of its own terms that would govern the application of its requirements. Consequently, it is that organization that must define the terms for you.

If we can be of further assistance, please contact Mr. Roy F. Gurnham or Mr. Dale R. Cavenaugh of my staff in the Office of Construction and Maritime Compliance Assistance at (202)219-8136.

Sincerely, Roy, F. Gurnham, ESQ., P.E.
Office of Construction and Maritime
Compliance Programs