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.

February 19, 2004



SUBJECT: Enforcement Guidance for Woltman PVE 5021S Pile Driving Equipment


This is in response to your memo dated February 4, 2003, concerning a Woltman Piling Equipment hydraulic foundation rig, type PVE 5021S ("PVE"). We apologize for the long delay in providing this response.

Your inquiry involves requirements for inspection, testing, and operation of a PVE equipped with a Pilemer powered pile-driving hammer, model DKH-5L ("DKH"). Your memo included the following information:



  • EG-Statement of Conformation
  • Operation Manual for Hydraulic Foundation Rig
  • General Technical Piling Rig Data
  • Instructions and Capacity data PVE

We have paraphrased your questions as follows:

Question (1): Do the requirements of 29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart N apply to a Woltman PVE 5021S hydraulic crawler-mounted pile-driving rig equipped with DKH5L hammer?

No. The scope of Subpart N is determined by definitions (scope statements) in industry consensus standards included by reference. Section 1926.550(a)(17) references the Power Crane and Shovel Association Mobile Hydraulic Crane Standard No. 2 (PCSA2). Section 1926.550(b) references the Safety Code for Crawler, Locomotive and Truck Cranes (ANSI B30.5-1968).

The novel configuration of the Woltman PVE 5021S hydraulic pile driver excludes it from coverage under §1926.550(a) or (b). Section 1926.550(a)(17) requires employers to "comply with Power Crane and Shovel Association Mobile Hydraulic Crane Standard No. 2." Although PCSA2 Section 2 includes pile drivers within its scope, it is clear from the descriptions of pile leads and lead attachment methods found in PCSA2 Section 7 that PCSA2 was never intended to regulate self-erecting piling rigs like the Woltman PVE 5021S.

PCSA2 at Section Pile Lead Attachment states "... pile leads may be attached to the basic machine crane boom [emphasis added] in several ways" (See PCSA2 pp. 18, 19, and 34. See also the Operation Manual for Hydraulic Foundation Rig from your memo. [Copies enclosed.])

  • Free swinging - leads hang from crane hoist line
  • Underhung or Fixed - upper end of leads is hinged at/near boom point (boom head sheave pin)
  • Extended or Cantilevered - like underhung or fixed but the leads extend above the attachment point.

The Woltman PVE 5021S lacks both a basic machine crane boom and any of the listed pile leads attachment methods (its mast, which functions as both leads and boom, is attached by hydraulic raising cylinders and by a base extension to the machine's rotating superstructure).1

Section 1926.550(b) Crawler, locomotive, and truck cranes applies to equipment defined in the ANSI B30.5-1968 standard. Section 1926.550(b)(2) states:

All crawler, truck, or locomotive cranes in use shall meet the applicable requirements ... as prescribed in the ANSI B30.5-1968, Safety Code for Crawler, Locomotive, and Truck Cranes. However, the written, dated, and signed inspection reports and records of the monthly inspection of critical items prescribed in section 5-2.1.5 of the ANSI B30.5-1968 standard are not required. Instead, the employer shall prepare a certification record which includes ...

Since ANSI B30.5-1968 was incorporated into §1926.550(b) with only a modification of its inspection reports/records requirement, the scope of the ANSI standard was incorporated intact. By leaving the scope of ANSI B30.5-1968 intact, OSHA limited the types of equipment subjected to §1926.550(b) and effectively excluded hydraulic pile driving equipment such as the PVE 5021S.

ANSI B30.5-1968 in its introductory chapter at Section I Scope describes its overall context and its application to construction as follows:

This code applies to the ... operation of ... cranes; ... this Code also shall be applied to cranes... used on construction work.

Chapter 5-0 of ANSI B30.5-1968 titled "Crawler, Locomotive, and Truck Cranes" defines the scope of what OSHA incorporated by reference. Section 5-0.1 Scope of B30.5 states:

Within the general scope defined in Section 1, Volume B30.5 applies to crawler cranes, locomotive cranes, wheel mounted cranes of both truck and self-propelled wheel type, and any variations thereof which retain the same fundamental characteristics. The scope includes only cranes of the above types, which are basically powered by internal combustion engines or electric motors and which utilize drums and ropes ... Supplements covering full hydraulic cranes and side boom cranes will be developed at a later date. [Emphasis added.]

Some basic machine types within this scope are usually convertible for excavating and other uses not considered to be lifting service. The requirements of this volume are applicable only to machines when used as lifting cranes. [Emphasis added.]



The product literature describes the PVE 5021S as a hydraulic, self-erecting pile-driving rig. Although it uses drums and ropes for some functions, raising and lowering its leads are accomplished with hydraulics. It does not use drums and ropes in lifting service. Being hydraulic and not being used in lifting service puts the PVE 5021S outside the scope of ANSI B30.5-1968 and therefore outside §1926.550(b).

Since the PVE 5021S falls outside both §1926.550(a)(17) and (b), its use for construction pile driving activities is not covered under 29 CFR 1926.550.

Question (2): Do OSHA standards require inspections of the PVE 5021S?

Yes. Although the PVE 5021S does not fall under 1926 Subpart N, it is subject to the general requirements in §1926.20, including §1926.20(b)(2), which requires frequent and regular inspections of equipment by a competent person.

Question (3): Do OSHA standards impose a load or operational test requirement on equipment such as the PVE 5021S derived separately from ANSI or PCSA2?

No. Since the load or operational testing requirement incorporated in §1926.550(a)(17) through PCSA2 Appendix F is only a Society of Automotive Engineers Recommended Practice (SAE J765), and since the PVE does not fall under the scope of that standard, there is no requirement under OSHA standards for a load test for this piece of equipment. Since the PVE falls outside the scope of ANSI B30.5-1968, its load test requirements do not apply and there is no requirement under §1926.550(b) to load or operationally test the equipment before putting it in service.

Question (4): Can industry consensus standards other than ANSI B30.5-1968 and PCSA2 serve as an evidentiary basis for a general duty clause citation for unsafe use of PVE-like equipment?

If there are no applicable OSHA standards, any relevant consensus standard could be used as the basis for general duty clause citations.



1In addition, even if we were to assume that §1926.550(a)(17) through PCSA2 did include pile driver equipment like the PVE 5021S, there would remain the issue of whether there is an enforceable provision to cite. PCSA2 is largely a collection of recommendations. According to 29 CFR 1926.31, only PCSA2 mandatory provisions incorporated by reference are adopted as OSHA standards. [back to text]