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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

February 1, 1993

Mr. Harvey M. Lodge
Cargotec Inc.
P.O. Box 298
Swanton, Ohio 43558-0298

Dear Mr. Lodge:

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with a written response to the concerns you raised during your September 30 phone conversation with Steve Butler and in your October 5 letter to Joe Nolan, both of this office, regarding the inspection of cranes used at a construction site located at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. Please excuse our delay in responding; however, we wanted to provide you with a comprehensive response.

It is our understanding from the information you provided to us that the company in charge of this construction site, "Terminal 5 Venture", has instituted a site requirement that all material handling and lifting devices used at the O'Hare International Airport construction site must have a posted OSHA Certification sticker from an accredited agency. You indicated that Mr. Brasfield of "Terminal 5 Venture" indicated to you that the Chicago Crane Inspection Certification Bureau (a division of Chicago Crane and Equipment Company) of Lansing, Illinois, was an OSHA accredited certification agency even though the company's name did not appear on the list he provided you. You also wanted to know whether Federal OSHA requires cranes used in construction to be certificated.

First, confirming the information given to you by this office over the phone, there are no Federal OSHA regulations requiring the certification of cranes, derricks or other material handling devices used solely in construction operations (covered under 29 CFR Section 1926.550), or used solely in general industry operations (covered under 29 CFR Sections 1910.179 and 1910.180). Therefore, cranes, derricks, and material handling devices used exclusively in general industry or construction operations are not required, under OSHA regulations, to be certificated by anyone. The owner must, however, maintain a record of inspections. OSHA regulations only require that such equipment be inspected during initial use and annually thereafter by a "competent person", or by a government or private agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. The owner must, also, maintain a record of these inspections.

There is wide latitude in the regulations as to the definition of a "competent person." A competent person can be the equipment owner's maintenance personnel or any other person the owner chooses, as long as that person is deemed "competent." A competent person does not have to be a disinterested third party.

Second, the list of accredited maritime agencies furnished to you by Mr. Brasfield, applies only to the certification of certain cargo handling gear and material handling devices used in maritime operations and covered by 29 CFR Part 1919. Chicago Crane Inspection Certification Bureau has not been accredited for this purpose and so does not appear on this list. The organizations on this accredited list must all be actively engaged in certifying maritime material handling devices. The operation you are engaged in is not covered by the 29 CFR Part 1919 Maritime Regulations.

Material handling devices which do not require certification under OSHA regulations may, however, be "certified", at the owner's voluntary option, using whatever form the certifier chooses to use, but this will not be an OSHA form or "OSHA Certification sticker" as indicated in the T5V memo you sent us.

Explanation of OSHA Regulations Concerning Crane Safety:

We hope the following explanation provides you with a better understanding of the specific OSHA requirements related to crane safety and the Federal OSHA maritime accreditation and gear certification program.

Section 29 CFR 1926.550 sets safety requirements for the operation, maintenance, and inspection of cranes and derricks used in construction, with special requirements in subsections 1926.550(b) through 1926.550(f) for crawler, locomotive, and truck cranes; hammerhead tower cranes, overhead, and gantry cranes; derricks; and floating cranes and derricks. Subsection 1926.550(a)(5) requires the employer to designate a competent person to inspect all crane machinery and equipment before and during use to ensure its safe operation. It also requires that any deficiencies discovered during an inspection be corrected prior to the machinery's continued use. Subsection 1926.550(a)(6) requires the employer to have a competent person perform a thorough annual inspection of the hoisting machinery used in construction. It also requires the employer to maintain a record of the dates and results of these inspections for each hoisting machine and piece of equipment. This subsection also allows the employer to use a government or private agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor to perform these annual inspections.

Section 29 CFR 1926.32 defines many of the terms used in the construction safety and health regulations including many used in the sections pertaining to crane safety. [Subsection 1926.550(f)] defines a "competent person" as one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards involved and is authorized to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them. [Subsection 1926.550(i)] defines a "designated person" as meaning an "authorized person" as defined in subsection 1926.550(d). Subsection 1926.550(d) defines an "authorized person" as one who the employer has approved or assigned to perform a specific type of duty or duties at specific locations at the job site.

OSHA's position is that a person who does not have a thorough knowledge of the requirements, regulations and standards governing his/her direct duties cannot be considered as being a "competent person." This position has been upheld in a number of contested cases.

OSHA's current authority to grant accreditation under 29 CFR Part 1919 is limited to those purposes specified in 1919. As a consequence, OSHA is only able to grant accreditation to organizations actively engaged in certifying maritime material handling devices. This accreditation does not apply to the requirements of 29 CFR Sections 1910.179, 1910.180 or 1926.550.

Federal OSHA accredited certification agencies are routinely reminded that it is their responsibility to ascertain through discussions with the owner and users whether the device in question requires Federal OSHA certification (i.e., the device is being used to move cargo in a longshoring activity or the device is mounted on a barge or the wingwalls of a floating drydock and is being used in a shipyard activity). These certification agencies are also routinely reminded that the official Federal OSHA certification forms (the OSHA 71 and OSHA 72) can not legally be used for certifications of equipment that is not specifically required to be certificated by Federal OSHA regulations, and that the issuance of such forms in a manner not legally intended (i.e., to "certify" a material handling device not specifically required to be certificated under the OSHA maritime regulations) places their accreditation status in jeopardy.

The reference in OSHA's current construction standards allowing "... the employer to use a government or private agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor..." (29 CFR Subsection 1926.550(a)(6)) was added so that an OSHA accredited maritime crane certification agent would not be precluded from certificating other types of equipment at the voluntary request of the owner/employer as long as the agent: (1) uses his/her own forms, (2) clearly indicates that the piece of equipment is being inspected in accordance with the provisions of section 29 CFR 1926.550 and the applicable ANSI standard referred to in that section, (3) clearly indicates that OSHA regulations do not require that the piece of equipment involved be certificated by an agent accredited by Federal OSHA, and (4) meets the requirements of a "competent person" for the purpose of performing the type of inspection required on the type of construction hoisting device involved.

Enclosures Regarding OSHA's Maritime Crane Certification Program:

We are also enclosing the following material you requested pertaining to the Federal OSHA maritime accreditation and gear certification program:



  1. A copy of the Code of Federal Regulations containing 29 CFR Parts 1911 to 1925.

    Located within these rules are:
    1. the OSHA regulations pertaining to the maritime accreditation and gear certification program (29 CFR Part 1919), and
    2. the primary safety and health regulations applicable to the following maritime industries:

      29 CFR Part 1915 - Shipyards
      29 CFR Part 1917 - Marine Terminals
      29 CFR Part 1918 - Longshoring
      29 CFR Parts 1915, 1917 and 1918 also specify the material handling devices used in these industries which require certification by an OSHA accredited agent or agency.
  2. An explanation of OSHA's maritime accreditation and gear certification program.

    This is a six-page document which explains and summarizes the OSHA regulations, standards and procedures pertaining to:
    1. the certification of certain material handling devices used in maritime activities, and
    2. the accreditation of agents or agencies to perform these certification functions.
  3. An explanation of the use of the OSHA official certification forms, the OSHA-71 and OSHA-72.

    This is a five-page document providing detailed guidance on:
    1. the type of material handling devices that are required to be certificated by an OSHA accredited agent or agency, and
    2. the preparation and limitations on the use of these official forms for documentation and certification purposes.

Please do not hesitate to call us at [(202) 693-2399] or write to us at the following address should you have any further questions or require additional information or assistance regarding this matter:



[Directorate of Enforcement Programs
Office of Maritime Enforcement
Room N-3610
200 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
Phone: (202) 693-2399
FAX: (202) 693-1681]

We appreciate your interest in occupational safety and health matters and hope that this response and the information enclosed will be useful.


Roy F. Gurnham, Esq., P.E., Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs
Office of Maritime Enforcement]

Enclosures (4)

[Corrected 10/22/2004. Also see the Maritime Crane Accreditation and Certification Program Technical Links page for additional information regarding the program.]>



October 5, 1992

U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
Office of Construction and Maritime
Compliance Assistance
Room N3610
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Attention: Mr. Joseph Nolan


With reference to our telephone conversation, we are enclosing correspondence from Terminal 5 Venture, an inspection sticker copy, and a list of accredited Maritime agencies as furnished by Terminal 5 Venture.

Mr. Ralph Brasfield of Terminal 5 Venture stated as a site requirement, all cranes, including Truck Mounted Hydraulic, must be inspected by an accredited Maritime agency. Although Chicago Crane and Equipment Company is not on the list, Mr. Brasfield claims they are accredited.

The sticker reads:



Chicago Crane Inspection Certification Bureau
Division of Chicago Crane and Equipment Company
17157 Walter
Lansing, IL 60438

Phone: 708-474-9305

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Very truly yours,
Harvey M. Lodge


To: All Trade Contractors

From: Ralph Brasfield

Re: Crane Certification

Date: July 7, 1992

As of 7/17/92 all material handling, lifting devices (cranes, derricks, boom trucks, hoists, etc.) will be required to have a posted OSHA Certification sticker form and accredited agency to enter or remain on site.

In additon for equipment over 5 tons the O.E. must be licensed by the City of Chicago, the Equipment must confirm to the T5V operators manual and have proper airport equipment (Flag & Light).

Information on accredited agencies is available through the Safety Dept.

If you are ordering a lift device or material that will require delivery by a truck with a self contained lift devices, be sure to notify your supplier of this requirement.