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 http://www.osha.gov.

April 21, 2014

Mr. Daniel Miller
Safety Director
McLean Contracting Company
6700 McLean Way
Glen Burnie, MD 21060-6480

Dear Mr. Miller:

Thank you for your September 20, 2013, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in which you ask for clarification of a requirement of the Construction Cranes and Derricks Standard (Subpart CC of 29 CFR Part 1926).

Question: Section 1926.1431(e)(10) states:

In addition to the use of hard hats, employees must be protected by overhead protection on the personnel platform when employees are exposed to falling objects. The platform must not obscure the view of the operator or the platform occupants (such as wire mesh that has up to 1/2 inch openings), unless full protection is necessary.

When no other falling object hazards exist, must the occupants of a personnel platform still be protected from the load line or the boom tip falling into the top of the platform?

Answer: No. In normal construction operations, OSHA does not consider the boom, load line, and load block of a crane to be "objects" which could become falling objects and thus require overhead protection in addition to hard hats. If overhead hazards are not present, then OSHA does not require additional protective systems to address overhead hazards.

However, providing overhead protection for employees on a personnel platform being lifted by a crane should not be the initial safety consideration. Before an employer hoists employees to a work location, the first step must be a safety assessment of the various feasible lift methods.

§ 1926.1431(a) states:

The use of equipment to hoist employees is prohibited except where the employer demonstrates that the erection, use, and dismantling of conventional means of reaching the work area, such as a personnel hoist, ladder, stairway, aerial lift, elevating work platform, or scaffold, would be more hazardous, or is not possible because of the project's structural design or worksite conditions. This paragraph does not apply to work covered by subpart R (Steel Erection) of this part.

Should the employer determine, after proper assessment, that use of a personnel platform attached to a crane is the only feasible option, then protection from the boom and load line are covered by:

§ 1926.1426 which prohibits free fall of the boom or load line during personnel hoisting;
§ 1926.1431(k)(1) which requires that hoisting of the personnel platform must be performed in a slow, controlled manner with no sudden movements of the equipment or platform; or
§ 1926.1431(d)(5)(v) which addresses requirements applicable during use of an operational anti two-blocking device.

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.

Sincerely,

James G. Maddux, Director
Directorate of Construction