Does OSHA’s new crane rule apply?

Does OSHA’s new crane rule apply?

December 29, 2010

Although the new OSHA Final Rule governing the use of “Cranes and Derricks in Construction” has been in effect since November 8, 2010, we’re finding that some contractors who use lifting equipment in their operations are still unsure whether the new rule applies them.

If you’re among them, we’d advise downloading a copy of the new rule at the following site. The actual rule, Subpart CC of 29 CFR Part 1926, begins on page 48135 of the Federal Register document, but skimming the 200 or so pages of preamble is interesting if you have some time.

The new rule is quite broad in scope: “This standard applies to power-operated equipment, when used in construction, that can hoist, lower and horizontally move a suspended load.”

That definition takes in all the conventional crane types that come immediately to mind—lattice-boom, telescopic-boom, articulating-boom and tower—but also includes such equipment as dedicated pile drivers, overhead/gantry cranes, side-boom cranes and derricks. The rule applies also when lifting equipment is used with attachments—concrete buckets, grapples, magnets, draglines, augers, personnel platforms and the like.

Excluded from the new rule, however, are cranes that have been “converted or adapted for a non-hoisting/lifting use,” including power shovels, excavators or concrete pumps. Exempt also are “excavators, wheel loaders, backhoes, loader-backhoes [and] track loaders,” even when these machines are “used with chains, slings or other rigging to lift suspended loads.”

Service trucks equipped with a crane also are exempt, as long as the crane is used only to maintain or repair equipment. Truck-mounted articulating cranes used to deliver material to construction sites are exempt as well, but only if limited to transferring materials from the truck to the ground, or transferring sheet goods or packaged building supplies to a structure.

But, if you use the service-truck crane or the articulating crane in construction activities—to place a roof truss or support material for fastening, for instance—then they become subject to regulation; to portions of the rule (1926.1441) if capacity is 2,000 pounds or less, and presumably to the entire rule if capacity exceeds 2,000 pounds.