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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

May 23, 2001

Mr. Richard Dressler, P.E.
Power Crane and Shovel Association
111 East Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1000
Milwaukee WI 53202-4879

Re: §§1926.550 and 1910.180; hydraulic cranes

Dear Mr. Dressler:

This is in response to your February 20, 2001, letter regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) construction and general industry standards for cranes and derricks (29 CFR 1926.550 and 1910.180, respectively). You state that: (1) these OSHA standards are based on 1968 consensusstandards (for Crawler, Locomotive and Truck Cranes), and thus do not incorporate or reflect the current version of the consensus standards; (2) §§1926.550 and 1910.180 do not address hydraulic cranes, since the 1968 standards stated that "supplements covering full hydraulic cranes...will be developed at a later date;" (3) this is a concern because "some 80 percent of the cranes in use today are hydraulic"; and (4) the outdated OSHA standard contrasts with the fact that crane manufacturers test their products to the latest standards [ASME B30.5, Mobile and Locomotive Cranes].

We address your letter below with respect to the construction standards for cranes. We have referred the portion of your letter that involves the general industry standards to the Directorate of Compliance Programs for response.

With regard to hydraulic cranes used in construction, we note that §1926.550(a)(17) states that employers are to comply with Power Crane and Shovel Association Mobile Hydraulic Crane Standard No. 2 [emphasis added]. In addition, the standards were amended in 1988 to address crane- and derrick-suspended personnel platforms (including platforms suspended by hydraulic cranes), which includes provisions for anti-two blocking.

You also note that the newer B30.5 standards address safe work-practices, such as work around power lines, so you infer that the OSHA provisions based on consensus standards from 1968 inadequately address workplace safety. Section 1926.550(a)(15) does address operating equipment [cranes and derricks] in proximity to power lines, although it has not been updated.

OSHA recognizes the need to update our standards that are based on outdated national consensus standards with the most current (and more protective) standards. Bear in mind that these changes can only be made through the rulemaking process. Under OSHA's de minimis policy, employers who comply with current versions of national consensus standards will not be cited for violations of the outdated standard as long as the current version provides at least the same level of safety and health. OSHA does not issue citations, impose penalties or require correction of de minimis violations.

You close by recommending that the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) make recommendations on updating §§1926.550 and 1910.180 to reflect the newer B30.5 standards. As you are probably aware, ACCSH has established a workgroup that has been meeting with representatives of interested groups regarding this matter. During a meeting here in Washington, D.C. on March 13, the workgroup discussed the issues you suggested as an agenda item, and the full ACCSH body was advised of the workgroup's status at the meeting on March 15-16.

At some future time, the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) may recommend that these OSHA standards be amended, and in that event, OSHA will seriously consider their recommendation.

If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Directorate of Construction, [Office of Construction Standards and Guidance], Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20210.


Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction