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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

January 18, 1995

Roy F. Gurnham
Director Office of Construction/Maritime
Compliance Assistance
U. S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room N-3610 Washington, DC 20210

Dear Mr. Gurnham:

This letter is a follow-up to the telephone conversation that I had with Mr. Tschappap, of your office, on January 17, 1995. I represent Adams Company & Son, Inc. (hereafter "Adams"), which is the owner of a P&H T-1000 hydraulic mobile truck crane manufactured by PPM Cranes, Inc (hereafter "PPM"). On March 26, 1994, the boom of that crane sustained substantial damage. My client wants to have that crane repaired in accordance with the requirements of the applicable OSHA regulations.

That crane was insured by an inland marine insurance policy by which, under the circumstances, the insurance company is obligated to pay for the repairs to that crane to restore it to its previous condition. The insurance company has obtained estimates for the repairs to that crane from Dickinson Equipment Repair (hereafter "Dickinson"), in Reading, Pennsylvania, and Marley Associates, Inc. (hereafter "Marley"), in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, each of whom would do part of the work. The insurance company has offered to pay my client for those repairs based on the cost estimates by Dickinson and Marley, which total approximately $135,000.00.

I have contacted Jennifer Peters, general counsel for PPM, with respect to this situation, to see whether PPM would authorize Marley and Dickinson to do the repairs, and whether parts, specifications and assistance in such repairs would be forthcoming from PPM to Dickinson and Marley in the course of doing those repairs. You will see, from the enclosed letters, that PPM has specifically said that Adams is not authorized to repair this boom, or have it repaired. PPM has said the boom must be repaired by an authorized P&H dealer. Moreover, PPM has said that there is no way to repair this crane in accordance with its manufacturing specifications unless it is repaired by an authorized P&H crane dealer in accordance with the specifications which, in that instance would be furnished to the dealer by PPM. According to PPM, neither Dickinson nor Marley are authorized dealers of P&H cranes; nor will they be able to obtain specifications, genuine P&H parts, or assistance from PPM in the repair of my client's crane. See, enclosed herewith, the following letters:

  1. Dated November 17, 1994 from Jennifer D. Peters, general counsel to PPM, to James Wheeler, Adjuster for Reliance Insurance Company.
  2. Dated December 28, 1994 from me to Jennifer D. Peters.
  3. Dated January 5, 1995 from Jennifer D. Peters to me.

My question to you is with respect to Chapter 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Occupational Safety And Health Administration, Labor), Sub-part N (Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Elevators and Conveyors), Section 1926.550 (Cranes and Derricks), (a) (General requirements), (16) which prohibits "modifications or additions which affect the capacity or safe operation of the equipment". (See copy attached.) Under the circumstances as stated in the enclosed letters from the manufacturer, according to OSHA's interpretation of that regulation, would repairs to the boom of the above referenced crane, performed by Marley and Dickinson, without the written approval of PPM for Marley and Dickinson to do these repairs and without genuine P&H parts, specifications and/or technical assistance being furnished by PPM, constitute a "modification or addition" to the above referenced crane within the meaning of Chapter 29, Sub-part N, Section 1926.550(a)(16) of the OSHA regulations, and therefore a violation of that section of the OSHA regulations?

I will appreciate your response in writing to this question. If you need any further information in order to answer this questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by telephone.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,



August 24, 1995

Mr. H. Michael Hickson
Banks, Nason, Hickson & Sullivan
113 Baptist Street
P.O. Box 44 Salisbury, MD 21803-0044

Dear Mr. Hickson:

This is in response to your letter of January 18 requesting an interpretation of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard addressing the repair of mobile cranes.

With regard to whether repairs can be made to a crane without the approval of the crane manufacturer, please note that there are two provisions in 29 CFR 1926.550 that require crane users to follow procedures or gain approval of the crane manufacturer. Neither specifically addresses repairs made to the crane. Paragraph 1926.550(a)(1) requires that the employer comply with the manufacturer's specifications and limitations applicable to the operation of any and all cranes and derricks. OSHA has interpreted the language "specifications and limitations applicable to the operation" to apply to the way a crane is used and maintained. This section would not apply to a limitation on where repairs could be made unless the repair affected the safe operation of the crane.

Paragraph 1926.550(a)(16) addresses the requirement for manufacturers' approval before any modifications or additions can be made which would affect the safe operation of the crane. The section goes on to address what must be done when the capacity is changed. The intent of this paragraph is to assure any modification or addition that would change the capacity of the crane be reviewed by the manufacturer to make sure the change does not adversely affect other crane functions or components and cause an unsafe condition. By their very nature major repairs to crane components create the potential for adversely affecting capacity or safe operation, and for that reason such repairs should be reviewed and approved by the manufacturer to make sure that the crane's capacity and safe operation are not affected. Alternatively, this could be done by seeking the certification of a registered professional engineer that a repair has restored the crane component to its original configuration and strength so that the capacity and operation of the crane is unaffected by the repair. A crane user who has had major repairs carried out but has not taken appropriate steps to ensure that capacity or safe operation has not been adversely affected could be cited.

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact me or Mr. Dale Cavanaugh of my staff at (202) 219-8136.


Roy F. Gurnham, P.E., J.D.
Director Office of Construction and Maritime
Compliance Assistance