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Understanding OSHA’s Crane & Derricks Standard featured image

Understanding OSHA’s Crane & Derricks Standard

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 220 total crane-related fatalities from 2011 to 2015 with 42 percent of the fatalities taking place in the construction industry. Over half of these cases involved a worker being struck by equipment or an object, while the remaining cases involved transportation incidents or falls to a lower level. 

In this article, an OSHA attorney will provide a brief overview of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) crane and derricks standard and the steps to take to ensure that your jobsite is in compliance. 

Related: Crane Accidents and OSHA’s Response 


Assembly/disassembly, with regards to OSHA standards, refers to the assembly and/or disassembly of any equipment covered under the standard. This process must be directed by the A/D director, or a person who meets the criteria for a qualified person and a component person. The A/D director will review the applicable procedures prior to the commencement of the assembly/disassembly and ensure that all crew members understand the following:

  • The tasks they will be performing
  • The hazards associated with the tasks
  • The hazardous positions and/or locations they should avoid

Power Line Safety

One of the major causes of crane accidents is crane contact with active power sources, such as energized power lines. To avoid potential encroachment and electrocution, a planning meeting should be conducted between the operator and any workers who will be in the area to review the location of any power lines and the steps implemented to prevent hazards. Additionally, the employer must train each operator and crew member assigned to work with the equipment on the procedures to follow in the event of electrical contact, the danger of the potentially energized zone, and the procedures to properly ground the equipment.

Operators, Signal Persons, and Riggers

There are many roles involved in the operation of a crane, including operators, signal persons, and riggers. For each of these roles, the employer must ensure that, prior to the operation of any equipment, the person is qualified and/or certified to perform their role. The qualification/certification process differs based on the role, so it’s important to recognize the differences. An operator must undergo a pre-qualification or certification training period in which they operate equipment as an operator-in-training before becoming an operator. A signal person must demonstrate their knowledge of the types of signals used and their competency in the application of these signals. A rigger must be qualified to perform any of the following tasks: hooking, unhooking, guiding a load, and assembly/disassembly of equipment. 

Following these standards along with performing routine annual and monthly inspections is the only way to protect your workers from potential harm and avoid receiving an OSHA citation. If you have received an OSHA citation or are concerned about whether or not your jobsite is in compliance with OSHA’s crane and derricks standard, contact our OSHA lawyers as soon as possible. 

If you would like to speak with one of our OSHA lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.