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September 08, 2010
New Rule for Cranes and Derricks in Construction--Summary

Federal OSHA revised its rules for cranes and derricks used in construction to update and specify industry work practices necessary to protect employees during the use of cranes and derricks in construction.


Following are highlights of provisions of the new rules that apply to employers and other entities in control of crane and derrick equipment during construction operations.

Crane operator certification in states and municipalities with operator licensing rules. All crane and derrick operators in states and municipalities with operator licensing laws must be licensed to operate by the effective date of such laws.

Crane operator training in states without operator licensing rules. From November 8, 2010 until November 10, 2014 (i.e., the phase-in period), operators must be trained to operate the equipment and must be evaluated to confirm that the operator understands the information provided in the training. See the CRANE PERSONNEL TRAINING CHART for information.

Qualifications for rigger, signal person, and other personnel. Riggers and signal persons must meet specific qualification requirements in order to perform their tasks. Other personnel in the work zone must be trained to recognize hazards associated with the use of the equipment and any related duties that they are assigned to perform. See the CRANE PERSONNEL TRAINING CHART for more information.

“Controlling entities” and other employers. There are new duties for the “controlling entity” (i.e., employer that is a prime contractor, general contractor, construction manager or any other legal entity which has the overall responsibility for the project), and other employers in authority when there is no controlling entity.

Ground conditions. The controlling entity or other employer in authority is responsible for determining whether the ground is sufficient to support the anticipated weight of hoisting equipment and associated loads.

Equipment inspections. There are new inspection requirements for the competent person and qualified person, and the frequency of inspections required by such persons (e.g., before and during work shift).

Overhead power lines. Employers must implement a systematic approach to power line safety for crane/derrick operations. For example, if an employer’s work zone assessment shows that a crane could get closer than 20 feet for lines rated up to 350 kV, then requirements for additional action are triggered.

Fall protection. There are new fall protection requirements, including requirements for employee training and for equipment manufactured after the effective date of the rule.

Tower crane inspection. Employers must conduct a pre-erection inspection of tower crane parts.

Synthetic slings. When using synthetic slings, use them according to manufacturer’s instructions during assembly and disassembly work.

“Construction” activity defined. Construction includes the assembly, disassembly, attachment, stabilizing, deconstruction or demolition of a portion, or all, of a structure. For the purposes of construction, cranes are defined as “power-operated equipment used in construction that can hoist, lower, and horizontally move a suspended load.”


The following provisions of the new rules that will take effect on the dates specified.

Insulating link/device. By November 2011, an insulating link/device or alternative measure must be installed at a point between the end of the load line (or below) and the load to protect workers from electrocution. Employers with existing inventory of non-approved links may use them until November 2013 if the same protections remain in place.

Crane operator certification in states without licensing laws. By November 10, 2014, crane and derrick operators must be certified, qualified, or meet the criteria for operator-in-training before they are allowed to operate such equipment.

Crane operator-in-training. As of November 10, 2014, all crane operators who are not certified or qualified to operate must meet the criteria for operator-in-training (e.g., prequalification/certification training, trainer monitoring, multiple-lift rigging operations) before they are allowed to operate such equipment.


Training costs. The employer must provide all training of employees required under the crane and derrick rules at no cost to the employee.

Refresher training. The employer must provide refresher training in relevant topics for each employee when there is an indication that retraining is necessary on the basis of the employee’s actions or an evaluation of the employee’s knowledge.

Training evaluation. Employers must evaluate each employee who has been trained in crane and derrick operations to verify that he or she understands the information provided in training. The rule allows the employer to determine the most appropriate method of evaluation.

Crane Personnel Training (all requirements effective 11/8/2010)

Note: The operator training applies only in states that do not have their own licensing and certification requirements. All other training and qualification requirements apply to all personnel.

Personnel Activity or Equipment Training Requirement Rule Section
All personnel Work with cranes and derricks Hazards and procedures to keep clear of holes and crush/pinch points 29 CFR 1926.1430(e)
All personnel Exposed to fall hazards while on or hoisted by equipment Fall protection 1423(k)
All personnel on floating cranes/cranes on barges Floating cranes/derricks and cranes/derricks on barges Understand hazard warning signs and markings 1437(c)(2)(ii)
Assembly/Disassembly (A/D) Director Supervise assembly and disassembly operations Meet criteria of a competent person and qualified person 1401, 1404(a) and (b)
Authorized personnel Work in areas near rotating crane/derrick superstructure How to recognize struck-by and pinch/crush hazards 1424(a)(2)(i), 1430(e)
Competent Person All, including shift and monthly inspections Applicable to respective role 1430(d)
Crew member Assembly and disassembly operations Understand tasks, hazards, positions/ areas to avoid 1404(d)
Crew member Work near power lines Power line safety information and procedures 1408(g)(1), 1410(m)
Dedicated Spotter Work near power lines Qualify as a signal person 1401, 1428(b) and (c)
Dedicated Spotter Work near power lines Power line safety information and procedures 1408(g)(2)
Maintenance and Repair Personnel Operate equipment Qualify to operate 1429, 1430(d)
Maintenance and Repair Personnel Equipment out of service Tagout and start-up procedures 1430(f), 1417(f) and (g)
Operator Derricks, sidebooms, small hoist/lift capacity cranes (2,000 lbs or less) only Know how to safely operate equipment (no specific training requirements) 1430(c)(3)
Operator Friction equipment Test the boom hoist brake 1430(c)(4(i)
Operator Unintended equipment movement Know manufacturer’s emergency procedures 1430(c)(4)(ii)
Operator Operate specific type of crane (other than derricks, sidebooms, cranes of 2,000 lb or less capacity) Know how to safely operate, inspect, calculate load, shut down, and secure 1430(c)(2), 1427(j), 1427(k)(2)
Operator Work near power lines, and within minimum power line clearance Power line safety and procedures in the event of electrical contact 1430(a), 1408(g), 1410(m)
Operator Crane/Derrick equipment out of service Tagout and start-up procedures 1430(f), 1417(f) and (g)
Qualified Person All, including annual inspections Applicable to respective role; possess a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or have extensive knowledge, training, and experience. 1430(d)
Rigger Assemble, rig, disassemble equipment and materials Same as for qualified person 1401, 1430(d)
Signal Person Communicate with operator of crane/derrick with greater than 2,000 lb lift capacity Qualify as a signal person with written or verbal test, retrain if needed 1428(b) and (c), 1430(b)
Signal Person Communicate with operator of crane/derrick with lift capacity of 2,000 lb or less Proper use of signals applicable to the use of the equipment 1441(f)
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