Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA Hazard Information Bulletins
Crane Modifications

April 19, 1993

Office of Field Programs
Directorate of Technical Support
Hazard Information Bulletin - Crane Modifications

The Atlanta Regional Office has brought to our attention a potentially serious safety hazard that exists with the use of modified cranes during "auger piling" operations.

According to a crane consultant, the relatively little noise and vibration when compared to conventional "hammer driven piling" operations makes this technology appealing in many operations.

A 1991 fatality occurred at a Florida worksite when a crane crew while operating an auger cast rig, was in the process of resetting leads at a contracted work site. As the crane operator lifted the leads, the torque arm fell striking and killing an engineering inspector. As a result of the investigation of this fatality, it was determined that several modifications had been made to the crane:

  1. Adding of a torque arm
  2. Adding of a "jib"
  3. Adding of a power pack

OSHA's assessment of the condition was that the crane had been modified without providing notification to the manufacturer and obtaining the manufacturer's written approval for the modifications. The manufacturer of the American Crawler Crane stated it would cooperate in assisting owners of their product in the proper modification of their equipment.

OSHA Construction standard 29 CFR 1926.550, Cranes and derricks, applies. Specifically, the following sections require compliance with the manufacturer's recommendations and applicable ANSI standard.

1926.550(a)(1): "The employer shall comply with the manufacturer's specifications and limitations applicable to the operation of any and all cranes and derricks. .... Attachments used with cranes shall not exceed the capacity, rating or scope recommended by the manufacturer",

1926.550(a)(16): "No modifications or additions which affect the capacity or safe operation of the equipment shall be made by the employer without the manufacturer's written approval. ... In no case shall the original safety factor of the equipment be reduced.", and

1926.550(b)(2): "All crawler, truck, or locomotive cranes in use shall meet the applicable requirements for design, inspection, construction, testing, maintenance and operation as prescribed in the ANSI B30.5-1968, Safety Code for Crawler, Locomotive and Truck Cranes".

The conditions listed in this HIB may occur in any crane used as described above regardless of the manufacturer of the equipment.

Please distribute this bulletin to all Area Offices, State Plan States, Consultation Project Officers, and appropriate local labor and industry groups.