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.


October 18, 2007

Mr. Michael Baldwin
P.O. Box 69
Pinetop, Arizona 85935

RE: OSHA requirements for crane operators.

Dear Mr. Baldwin:

This is in response to your letter dated January 16, 2007, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in which you ask for clarification regarding physical qualification requirements for construction crane operators.

We have paraphrased your question as follows:

Question: I lost sight in one eye as the result of an industrial accident in 1980. I have operated a crane for over 23 years. Are there any federal OSHA requirements that prohibit me from operating a crane because I have sight in only one eye? Are the physical requirements stated in ANSI B30.5-1968 incorporated into federal OSHA's crane standard (29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart N)?1

Answer: There is no federal OSHA standard that sets physical qualification requirements for crane operators. As OSHA has previously indicated in a May 8, 1981 letter to Mr. A. Bennett Hill Jr., the physical qualification requirements in ANSI B30.5-1968 were not incorporated by reference into 29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart N with respect to operators of equipment covered by Subpart N.

We understand that some individuals, although blinded in one eye, are capable of compensating visual acuity, which enables them to see sufficiently to operate a crane safely. Therefore, the fact that an employee with sight in only one eye who is operating a crane would not, by virtue of that fact alone, be considered a hazardous condition for purposes of Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).2

If you need additional clarification on this subject, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, 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.


Steven F. Witt, Director
Directorate of Construction




1 We understand from a telephone conversation with you that you are asking us for an interpretation of the federal OSHA crane requirements, not the occupational safety and health requirements that pertain in Arizona, which, as you are aware, administers its own OSHA-approved State plan. Such States are required by law to have a program of standards and enforcement that is at least as effective as the Federal OSHA requirements. However, those States may enact more stringent requirements, which an employer operating at a worksite in such a State would be required to follow.  We further understand that you have been in touch with officials of the Arizona State Plan. [ back to text ]





2 Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act states that each employer:



shall furnish to each of [its] employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to [its] employees. [ back to text ]