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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.
July 14, 2016
Mr. Justin A. Pilgrim
Global Product Director
1565 Buchanan Trail East PO Box 21
Shady Grove, PA 17256-0021
Re: Cranes; 29 CFR 1926.1400; 29 CFR 1926.453; scope; aerial lift.
Dear Mr. Pilgrim:
Thank you for your May 5, 2015, letter to the Directorate of Construction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a response. In your letter, you ask OSHA for a clarification of the scope of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard (the cranes standard) as it pertains to equipment designed to hoist both materials and employees. Your questions have been paraphrased as follows:
Q# 1:A company manufactures an aerial lift that is designed to meet requirements of ANSI A92.2-19901 (pictures A and B) and it is equipped with a hoist that is used to hoist, lower, and horizontally move a suspended load on a construction site. When this equipment is used to hoist materials, must the requirements of the crane standard be met?
Answer: No. as long as the aerial lift described is used to hoist tools and lightweight materials related to work that will be performed from the personnel bucket. Section 1926.1400(c)(5) explicitly excludes machinery originally designed to be only configured as vehicle-mounted aerial devices (for lifting personnel) and self-propelled elevating work platforms. Based on the rulemaking record and experiences in enforcement of the cranes standard, OSHA understands that when the rule became effective, the majority of the aerial lifts available were designed to always be configured to hoist personnel in a personnel platform. Some of the aerial lifts could also be equipped with a winch that could lift and lower tools and lightweight materials necessary for the performance of work from within the bucket. Unlike most cranes, the material hoists on those aerial devices had very limited lifting capacities. In addition to other requirements, 29 CFR 1926.453(b)(2)(vi)- (aerial lifts with extensible and articulating boom platforms) states that the load limits of the boom and basket specified by the manufacturer shall not be exceeded. Therefore, OSHA concluded that the use of such winches on aerial lifts was incidental to an aerial lift’s primary function. However, because such an aerial lift does not meet the design specifications required by the crane standard, it would not be stable enough to safely hoist loads, such as typical construction materials, at boom lengths, boom angles, and lifting capacities that cranes are designed to accommodate.
Q #2: A company now manufactures equipment that is designed to meet the requirements of both ANSI/SIA A92.2-1990 and ASME B30.5-20042 (pictures C) such that the equipment (picture D) can be configured and used to hoist, lower, and horizontally: move a suspended load; or personnel in a boom-mounted personnel platform. Does any OSHA requirement prohibit an employer from using this equipment?
Answer: No. In fact, by including “multi-purpose equipment” in the scope of the crane standard (§1926.1400(a)), OSHA anticipated that equipment would be eventually engineered and sold by manufacturers for employers to use as cranes in addition to other functions.
Q #3: When the dual-rated equipment described in Q#2 (picture D) is used on a construction site to hoist personnel in a boom-mounted personnel platform, must the requirements of the crane standard be met or do only the requirements of the aerial lift standard (29 CFR 1926.453) apply?
Answer: OSHA is aware of at least one manufacturer who now sells dual-rated equipment. To meet design criteria referenced or specified by OSHA for cranes and aerial lifts, the operator can reconfigure this equipment’s components, engage/disengage its hoist line mechanism, and set its control systems accordingly. For example, to operate this equipment safely as an aerial lift, the operator must be able to determine when any necessary computer programs and boom angle/load limiting devices are set and operating properly to prevent any failures that could occur when personnel are hoisted. In addition, heavier dual-rated equipment supported on outriggers is more likely to penetrate a surface beneath it in comparison to typically lighter aerial lift designs. Therefore, the employer must be able to confirm that the structural integrity and stability of the equipment is adequate to support anticipated loads prior to hoisting personnel. When safety determinations like these regarding the completion of reconfiguration have been confirmed, the requirements of the crane standard would not apply.
Unlike aerial lifts that are always configured and primarily used to hoist personnel, some dual-rated equipment may need to be mechanically reconfigured from being a crane to become an aerial lift. This task may require some equipment assembly such as installing outriggers, counterweights, a personnel bucket, or other attachments to its boom. OSHA anticipates that the complexity of the reconfiguring operation is likely to vary by design of the dual-rated equipment. Also, cranes are designed and primarily used to move heavy materials loads and therefore, even dual-rated aerial lifts are likely to have been subjected to significant structural loading when they were used as cranes. Unfortunately, not all crane-related ground condition, assembly/disassembly, and equipment structural deficiencies can be detected by visual inspections alone.
For reasons such as these, §1926.1431(a) states that cranes can only be used to hoist personnel when it is infeasible to use other safe means to reach elevated positions. In addition, extra safety precautions like those specified in the provisions of §1926.1431 must also be implemented by the employer to confirm the equipment’s structural integrity and stability prior to hoisting personnel. Similarly, even though §1926.1431 would not apply to reconfigured, dual-rated aerial lifts, when compliance with the manufacturer’s procedures for reconfiguration is not effective for this purpose, the employer still must ensure that all industry-recognized, personnel-hoisting hazards are addressed each time an aerial lift has been mechanically reconfigured from being a crane prior to hoisting personnel. Failure to take such steps would be considered a violation of §5(a)(1) of the OSH Act.
Q #4: Section 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 worksite, such as personnel hoist, ladder, stairway, aerial lift, elevating work platform, or scaffold, would be more hazardous, or is not possible because of the projects structural design or worksite conditions. This paragraph does not apply to subpart R (Steel Erection) of this part.
When aerial lifts (that meet the requirements of ANSI A92.2-1969/1990) are available for hoisting employees at a construction worksite but the equipment described in Q #3 is used for this purpose instead, would that work practice be a violation of §1926.1431(a)?
Answer: No. As explained in Q #3, dual-rated equipment can be used to hoist personnel at any time after the employer has complied with the manufacturer’s procedures for completing the change in configuration and confirming that the aerial lift is set-up and safe to use.
Q #5: Section 1926.1400(g) states:
For work covered by Subpart V of 29 CFR Part 1926, compliance with Subpart V is deemed compliance with §1926.1426.1407 through 1926.1411.
When the dual-rated equipment described in Q #2 (picture D) or equipment that meets the requirements of ASME B30.5-2004 (picture C) are used to hoist personnel to perform subpart V work, which OSHA standard applies to the use of the equipment- Subpart V or the crane or aerial lift standard (whichever is appropriate)?
Answer: Subpart V and either the crane or aerial lift standard (whichever is appropriate based on the consensus standard that the equipment meets when configured with a personnel platform), would both apply. Section 1926.959 (mechanical equipment) specifies protections that address hazards which are specific to the use of mechanical equipment when power distribution and transmission work is performed, and either the aerial lift or crane standard (whichever is appropriate) would cover the general safe use of the equipment which depends upon the configuration of the equipment, as determined by the manufacturer, when personnel will be hoisted.
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 ensure 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.
Jeffrey A. Erskine, Acting Director
Directorate of Construction
1. The request for interpretation did not specify design requirements of a particular edition of ANSI A92.2 that an aerial lift must meet, but OSHA’s aerial lift standard does. Non-mandatory Appendix C to Subpart L of 29 CFR Part 1926 allows manufacturers to comply with requirements of ANSI A92.2-1990 in lieu of those in ANSI A92.2-1969 to provide equivalent employee protection where appropriate.
2. The request for interpretation did not specify design requirements of a particular edition of ANSI/ASME B30.5 that a crane must meet but the crane standard does. It is presumed that the equipment is manufactured after November 8, 2010.