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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 17, 1993

Mr. Dennis Robertson, Director
Product Safety and Reliability
National Crane
P.O. Box 326
Laverkin, Utah 84745

Dear Mr. Robertson:

This is in response to your September 16, 1992 letter requesting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to withdraw or amend the June 14, 1990 letter to Mr. G.F. Stone of the Tennessee Valley Authority concerning mobile crane supported personnel platforms. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

With regard to the OSHA policy of requiring upper controls on personnel platforms attached to mobile crane booms established by our June 14 letter, please be advised that that letter has been superseded and is no longer in effect. OSHA's current policy is as follows:

Personnel platforms that are suspended from the load line and used in construction are covered by 29 CFR 1926.550(g). Under that standard there is no requirement for controls at the platform station. In addition, there is no specific provision for suspended personnel platforms in Part 1910. The governing provision, therefore, is general provision 1910.180(h)(3)(v), which prohibits hoisting, lowering, swinging or traveling while anyone is on the load or hook. OSHA has determined, however, that when the use of a conventional means of access to an elevated worksite would be impossible or more hazardous, a violation of 1910.180(h)(3)(v) will be treated as de minimis if the employer has complied with the provisions set forth in 1926.550(g)(3), 1926.550(g)(4), 1926.550(g)(5), 1926.550(g)(6), 1926.550(g)(7) and 1926.550(g)(8).

When the personnel platform is attached to the boom of a vehicle-mounted crane, the device is covered by 1910.67, vehicle-mounted elevating and rotating work platforms, or [1926.453], aerial lifts. These paragraphs require upper and lower controls for extensible and articulating boom platforms which are primarily designed as personnel carriers. We have reviewed these standards and have concluded that 1910.67(c)(2)(ix) and [1926.453(b)(2)(ix)] apply only if the lifting of personnel is a routine function of the crane (i.e., one of the primary uses). Under such circumstances, the crane and attached platform as a combined unit must be equipped with upper and lower controls. The standards do not address the non-routine attachment of accessory platforms to extensible or articulating booms for the purpose of positioning employees. Therefore, if positioning personnel in this manner is only done occasionally, as we understand is your situation as stated in your June 23 letter, OSHA would not consider that this practice as a primary use and upper controls would not be necessary.

Please note, however, that OSHA believes there are certain conditions under which the use of an aerial lift without upper controls is unsafe. If work is required to be performed from a personnel platform near energized power lines, moving or rotating components of equipment, or other hazardous locations where precise control of the platform is necessary to eliminate or reduce hazards to employees, the absence of upper controls could result in a citation under the General Duty Clause of the Act.

Although OSHA standards do not address the non-routine attachment of personnel platforms to crane booms, America National Standards Institute's recommended industry standard ANSI B30.5(b) - 1991, Section 5-3.2.2 addresses this practice. As you know, in instances where OSHA standards do not specifically address a particular activity or hazard, ANSI standards can be used by OSHA as a basis for a citation under 5(a)(1) of the Act.

[If you need any additional information, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, fax (202) 693-1689. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.]


Roy F. Gurnham, P.E., Esq., Director
[Directorate of Construction,
Office of Construction Standards and Guidance]

[Corrected 10/22/2004]

September 16, 1992

Roy Gurnham
Compliance Programs
United States Department of Labor
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue, N. W.
Washington, DC 20210

June 14, 1990 Interpretation re: Upper Controls for "Pin-on" Platforms

Dear Mr. Gurnham:

Roy, in accordance with our telephone conversation of September 16, 1992, I am providing, at your request, information about past OSHA interpretations regarding this issue.

OSHA's letter of June 14, 1990 to Mr. G.F. Stone of the Tennessee Valley Authority has been brought to my attention through litigation. That letter (a copy of which is attached) concludes that "pin-on" accessory platforms mounted on cranes and digger derricks are required by 29 CFR 1910.67(c)(2)(ix) and 29 CFR [1926.453(b)(2)(ix)] to be equipped with upper controls. That conclusion was based upon the OSHA Review Commission decision in Arizona Public Service Company 4 OSHC 1936 (No. 8501, 1977).

Based on the reasoning set forth in the letter, it appears that when this interpretation was formulated, your office had not been made aware of the subsequent decision of the OSHA Review Commission in Secretary of Labor v. Sanders Lead Company, Inc., OSHRC Docket No. 85-715, 1986 Westlaw WL 53541 (OSHRC 1986)(enclosed). In Sanders, the Review Commission directly addressed this same issue, but reached the opposite conclusion, and held that upper controls are not required on "pin-on" accessory platforms which are only occasionally used to lift personnel. The Review Commission in Sanders expressly concluded that the "standard contained in 29 CFR 1910.67(c)(2)(ix) was intended to distinguish between cranes designed primarily as personnel carriers from those which are used only occasionally in that manner." (Emphasis added.)

Moreover, the Review Commission in Sanders distinguished and limited the Arizona Public Service Co. ruling on which the Clark letter was based, stating that the essential element in the Arizona case was "that there the modification of the crane was of a permanent nature requiring significant structural alteration which effectively and permanently converted the crane from a material lifting device to a personnel carrier." (Emphasis added.)

I am writing to respectfully suggest that the interpretation expressed in OSHA's letter of June 14, 1990 is inconsistent with the 1986 ruling of the Review Commission in Sanders, and therefore the Patricia Clark letter should be withdrawn or revised to conform to the Sanders decision.

It is important that the June 14, 1990 misinterpretation be corrected, both for the foregoing reasons and because it is directly contrary to the commonly accepted interpretation of ANSI A92.2 (1969) that has prevailed for more than twenty years. Section 4.3 of that standard requiring upper controls in platforms has been consistently interpreted to apply only to equipment "primarily designed as personnel carriers" and not to digger derricks or cranes which might have temporary accessory "pin-in" platforms mounted for occasional use.

The Department of Labor recognized and approved this interpretation, as reflected in the enclosed correspondence from John A. Proctor dated July 18, 1972, which states in part:

  • "It is recognized that machines such as digger/derrick are designed to primarily perform those functions and not as personnel carriers. ANSI 92.2 specifically addresses itself to upper and lower controls only for articulating boom and extensible boom platforms primarily designed for use as personnel carriers."

This same interpretation is reflected in the Federal Register Vol. 40, No. 59, Page 13436 dated March 26, 1975 which states in part:

  • 3. "Platform Controls. Several comments were received concerning the scope of the scope of the proposed requirement set forth in 1910.67(c)(2)(ix) which requires upper and lower controls for extensible and articulating boom platforms which are primarily designed as personnel carriers (Comment Nos. 35, 81 and Hearing Exhibit #31). The commenters were concerned whether derrick trucks or other lifting equipment which are not primarily designed as personnel carriers, but to which personnel platforms may occasionally be attacked, would be required to have upper controls when the equipment is used for lifting or carrying personnel. The proposed standard, as well as [1926.453(b)(2)(ix)], were intended to apply only to articulating boom and extensible boom platforms primarily designed as personnel carriers. The final standard, which is the same as the proposal in this regard, clearly limits application of the requirement to such boom platforms when they are primarily designed as personnel carriers. Accordingly, equipment which is designed primarily for purposes other than lifting personnel is not required to have upper controls, and does not fall within the scope of 1910.67(c)(2)(ix)."

Manufacturers and governmental agencies alike have relied on this interpretation, as indicated in the enclosed letter from Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry dated June 17, 1975. The letter makes reference to the Federal Register statement quoted above, and concludes:

  • "Following a closer review of the intent of that standard, we agree that truck cranes which are occasionally used with a personnel bucket will not require upper platform controls so long as the boom is continually under control of a qualified operator."

The entire industry has designed, manufactured, and sold equipment for more than twenty years, based upon a consistent interpretation by governmental agencies that upper controls are not required on digger derricks or cranes which might have temporary accessory "pin-in" platforms mounted for occasional use. The letter of June 14, 1990 is the only interpretation known to us which is inconsistent with the accepted understanding of ANSI A92.2 and the Review Commission decision in Sanders.

Obviously the letter of June 14, 1990 presents the potential for severe adverse economic and liability implications for the entire industry if it is not corrected. Accordingly, we respectfully request that you withdraw or amend the letter, bringing it into conformity with the Sanders decision and the consistent interpretation of the requirement of A92.2 (1969) over nearly two decades.

I would be more than happy to meet with you personally if that would be of any assistance. Please let me know what I can do to assist in this matter.


Dennis Robertson Dir.
Product Safety & Reliability


P.S. I have included pages 9, 14, & 15 from ANSI Standard A10.31-1987 which is very clear as to the requirements regarding upper controls in platforms attacked to digger derricks.