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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.
Mark S. Alexander Sr.
A-Z Support Company, LLC
7 East Vine Street
Stowe, PA 19464
Dear Mr. Alexander,
Thank you for your October 1, 2012 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Directorate of Construction. You asked whether a tower crane boom or counterweight may be used over public streets or occupied buildings under the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard.
Though the general public often benefits from improvements in workplace safety, OSHA has no jurisdiction over public safety under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. 29 U.S.C. 655.
The crane standard does not, however, preempt state or local laws that would prohibit or restrict the use of booms or counterweights over a public road or occupied building. Laws of general applicability intended to protect the general public against hazards associated with crane use, such as New York City's crane laws, may regulate the conduct of employers and employees covered by the standard. You may wish to contact your state or local public safety and health authority for local requirements.
In addition, the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard requires that employers select hoisting routes that minimize the exposure of employees to hoisted loads to the extent consistent with public safety. See 29 CFR 1926.1425(c). This requirement reflects OSHA's recognition that in many situations, particularly construction in urban settings, it is not feasible to prevent all employees from being exposed to hoisted loads. The standard also prohibits contacting any obstruction with the boom or other parts of the equipment, thus prohibiting contact with a building. See 29 CFR 1926.1417(p).
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA's requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation.
To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.
James G. Maddux, Director
Directorate of Construction