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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.179

This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within the original correspondence.

June 26, 2002

Mr. Gary Dunbar
PDQ Tool Services, Inc.
616 Naval Base Road, Suite 101
Norfolk, Virginia 23505

Dear Mr. Dunbar:

Thank you for your August 1, 2001 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was received in OSHA’s Directorate of Compliance Programs (DCP) Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance (GICA) on April 23, 2002. In your letter, you had questions regarding below-the-hook lifting devices used in foundries. Your questions have been restated below for clarity.

Question 1: Are crucibles exempt from load testing requirements due to their unusual design?

Reply: Depending on the design, crucibles may be a component part of a below-the-hook lifting device. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) B30.20 Below-The-Hook Lifting Devices Standard contains standards on the design, maintenance, and inspection of below-the-hook lifting devices. OSHA may apply its General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, if a hazard exists. OSHA would consult ASME B30.20 or other recognized engineering design, maintenance or inspection criteria in determining whether a hazard exists. The crucible itself needs to meet good engineering design and construction. Please consult with the crucible manufacturer to determine appropriate replacement parts and testing requirements.

Question 2: Can one worker operate the hoist and the crucible mechanism to pour the molten metal into the molds?

Reply: Whether one worker could accomplish this task would depend on several factors such as the design of the crucible mechanism, the crane/hoist device and controllers, etc. For instance, 29 CFR 1910.179(n)(3)(x) states, “the employer shall insure that the operator does not leave his position at the controls while the load is suspended.”

Therefore, if the operator must leave an overhead or gantry crane control position to pour the molten metal, then that action would be a violation of that particular standard.

Question 3: With the absence of any manufacturing markings or capacity rating, what are the minimum allowable inspection and load tests for non-engineered below-the-hook lifting devices?

Reply: Non-engineered devices should not be used - only those devices which meet good engineering design, construction, inspection, and use should be used. Please consult ASME B30.20 Below-The-Hook Lifting Devices Standard or other recognized consensus standards for the appropriate design, maintenance, and inspection of below-the-hook lifting devices.

As you may know, the state of Virginia operates its own occupational safety and health program under a plan approved by federal OSHA. While its standards must be “at least as effective” as the federal regulations, they may also be more stringent. In order to obtain Virginia’s guidance on this issue, you should contact Commissioner C. Ray Davenport at:

Virginia Department of Labor and Industry
Powers-Taylor Building
13 South 13th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 786-9873
Fax: (804) 371-6524

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the [Office of General Industry Enforcement] at (202) 693-1850.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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