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September 14, 2020
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Rule on Cranes and Derricks
Used in Railroad Roadway Work

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule today amending the agency's crane standard. The final rule will maintain safety and health protections for workers, while reducing compliance burdens.

The final rule adds certain exemptions and clarifications to recognize the unique equipment and circumstances in railway roadway work. The rule also reflects that some OSHA requirements, with regard to the operation of railroad roadway maintenance machines equipped with cranes, are preempted by Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations.

What is exempted?

  • Flash-butt welding trucks, a specialized piece of equipment used in railroad work that meets the technical definition of a crane, but does not present the types of safety hazards that OSHA intended to address in the crane standard; and

  • Using rail stops and rail clamps; restricting out-of-level work; prohibiting dragging a load sideways; having a boom-hoist limiting device for hydraulic cylinder equipped booms; and following manufacturer's guidance for the use and modification of equipment.

Operator training and certification will follow FRA's regulatory requirements.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

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