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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 28, 2016
Mr. Ty E. Gable
National Precast Concrete Association
1320 City Center Drive, Suite 200
Carmel, Indiana 46032
Re: Subpart CC, 1926.1400, hoisting precast concrete
Dear Mr. Gable:
Thank you for your April 3, 2013, letter from the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In your letter, you reference a February 26, 2013, OSHA interpretation in which OSHA clarifies that, unlike staging and installing precast members of larger systems and structures, placing a burial vault in an excavation is not considered a construction activity.It is also noted that 29 CFR 1926.1400(c)(17)(i) of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard (construction crane standard) includes a limited exclusion for articulating knuckle boom truck cranes. They are excluded when used to transfer materials from the truck crane to the ground, without arranging the materials in a particular sequence for hoisting. NPCA describes how its members transport precast concrete components of larger structures and systems from a manufacturer to a construction site using a truck crane. The precast components are then offloaded to the ground by your members in a designated staging or storage area. Several types of truck cranes are listed that are used to handle precast components which include: fixed frame monorail with trolley hook, articulating boom, telescopic straight boom with a trolley hook, and a telescopic straight boom with a swing station.
NPCA questions the relevance of arranging materials in a particular sequence for hoisting and believes that whenever materials are unloaded to the ground using the equipment described, the activity is more appropriately covered by OSHA’s materials handling standards for general industry, 29 CFR 1910.178 or 29 CFR 1910.180. Subsequently, your organization requests that OSHA exempt from the requirements of the construction crane standard, the use of any truck cranes to transport and unload precast components as NPCA describes.
Such a materials handling activity is covered by 29 CFR 1926.250, Materials Handling, Storage, Use, and Disposal. In addition, when cranes are used by any employer for this purpose, the requirements of the construction crane standard may also apply unless it specifies that the particular equipment or the activity is exempted.
Please note that consideration of whether a work activity is covered by 29 CFR 1910 (OSHA’s General Industry Standards) or 29 CFR 1926 (OSHA’s Construction standards) would be based on a case-specific factual analysis. An example of some of the factors used to determine whether a work activity is covered under OSHA’s construction standards is discussed in a letter of interpretation that can be accessed from OSHA’s website at: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24789. As NPCA notes, OSHA considers it a construction activity when a crane is used to lower a precast component into an excavation where it will be positioned and connected to a larger system or structure. However, unloading materials in a particular place on the jobsite, even as directed by a construction employer, is not the only factor considered when determining that materials are being arranged/staged. For application of the construction crane standard, a staging area is considered part of a construction site when unloading and handling of the materials within the staging area is integral to a construction activity being performed. Some clear examples of staging activities include: when building materials such as structural or system components must be specifically organized or oriented when unloaded to the ground to facilitate their ordered connection to a structure or system being constructed. In these scenarios, a construction employer is bringing the materials to the staging area to store or stage them for hoisting from the staging area onto, or for connection to, a structure or system. The storing, staging, and hoisting of materials from the described staging area are all integral and necessary to the construction activity. Therefore, regardless of whether the construction employer operates an articulating truck crane to arrange and orient materials within a staging area, or that employer gets another employer (such as a delivery company) to do so, the use of the crane for this purpose is considered construction and covered by the cranes standard.
For these reasons, OSHA concludes that the limited exemption specified in 29 CFR 1926.1400(c)(17) is protective and appropriate for the application of the construction crane standard. Therefore, the handling of precast components as described by NPCA is covered by construction standards when those materials are unloaded to the ground at a construction site but also arranged in a particular sequence for hoisting (essentially stored or staged for use at a construction site).
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