July 22, 2011
International Cargo Gear Bureau, Inc.
321 West 44th Street, Suite 905
New York, New York 10035
Dear Mr. Murtaugh:
This letter responds to your August 18, 2008 fax to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and subsequent telephone conversations with Directorate of Construction staff. We apologize for the delay in our reply. Your inquiry concerns a crawler crane user's duties when the crane manufacturer notifies the user of structural defects and repair or interim operation options. Your concerns only address crawler cranes used in construction. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of only the construction crane requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated in your original correspondence.
Scenario: A crawler crane manufacturer discovers that certain sections of lattice booms, masts, and/or jibs supplied with certain cranes do not meet their intended design criteria. The manufacturer provides a service bulletin detailing the structural defects, the actions necessary to discover the defective sections, the remedial action necessary to continue full rated operations, an alternate procedure for interim limited operations, and additional material identifying the potentially defective sections. The primary remedial response is to shut down operations and then to identify, remove, and replace the defective sections. The alternate procedure for interim limited operations requires accurate identification of the defective sections and operations with limited boom lengths and derated capacities until proper replacements are installed.
Question: If a manufacturer determines that one of its crawler cranes can only be operated safely at a lower capacity than its original rating until a design or manufacturing defect is corrected, may you still use that crane in construction if its rated capacity is limited in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and applicable OSHA requirements?
Answer: Yes, you may use the derated crawler crane in construction in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions provided that the procedures for its operation showing the derated load chart and other limitations are available for the operator's use. Subsection 29 CFR
1926.1417(a) provides that:
The employer must comply with all manufacturer procedures applicable to the operational functions of equipment, including its use with attachments.
The term "procedures" is defined at section 29 CFR 1926.1401 as follows:
Procedures include, but are not limited to: Instructions, diagrams, recommendations, warnings, specifications, protocols, and limitations.
Under this definition, a manufacturer's service bulletin that places limitations on operation of its crawler crane is a "procedure" within the meaning of subsection 1926.1417(a). Therefore, the equipment must be operated within the derated capacity and other limitations provided by the manufacturer.
Additionally, you should be aware that the accessibility of the manufacturer's procedures and their minimum content are regulated by subsections 29 CFR 1926.1417(c)(1) and 29 CFR 1926.1433(d)(1). Subsection 1926.1417(c)(1) requires that:
The procedures applicable to the operation of the equipment, including rated capacities (load charts), recommended operating speeds, special hazard warnings, instructions, and operator's manual, must be readily available in the cab at all times for use by the operator.
Subsection 29 CFR 1926.1433(d)(1) requires that the "...information available in the cab...regarding "rated capacity and related information must include, at a minimum the following..." The list that follows includes 16 items. For example "a complete range of manufacturer's equipment rated capacities," and "a work area chart."
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 Directorate of Construction at (202)693-2020.
James G. Maddux, Director
Directorate of Construction