OSHA Exempts Some Hoists From Construction Crane Rule

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By Bruce Rolfsen

Companies using devices called “monorail hoists” to lift materials such as natural gas canisters and septic tanks won’t have to comply with OSHA’s construction crane rule if they adhere to other agency regulations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the temporary enforcement policy July 3 after a guidance memo was signed June 30.

The change is welcomed by employers asking OSHA to clarify and reconsider its original position that monorail hoists were covered by the 2010 construction crane rule. The regulation sets certification requirements for operators and mandates a wide range of safety procedures including inspecting cranes and how far to stay away from power lines.

Ty Gable, president of the National Precast Concrete Association, told Bloomberg BNA July 5 the new guidance resolves most of the group’s concerns with the construction crane rule (29 C.F.R. 1926 Subpart CC).

Concrete Association’s Issues

The association believes that the hoists shouldn’t have been classified as cranes because the hoists, typically mounted on flatbed delivery trucks, don’t rotate left or right and don’t have arms that lift materials, Gable said.

Instead, a hoist attached to the monorail lifts the load off the truck and then carries the load straight away from the truck bed until the material is lowered a few feet to the ground.

Another issue, Gable said, was that the rule required truck drivers operating the hoists to be classified as crane operators and subject to OSHA’s crane operator testing and certification requirements.

In addition to truck-mounted monorail hoists, the new OSHA policy applies to hoists attached to scaffolding and mast climbers, which are frequently used to lift small loads to workers on the support structures.

Compliance Not Lifted

In order for OSHA to not apply the construction crane rule to monorail hoists, employers must comply with the agency’s rules for overhead hoists (29 C.F.R. 1926.554) and training (29 C.F.R. 1926.21 and 29 C.F.R. 1926.20(b)(4)).

OSHA intends to consider rulemaking options to find a long-term solution to regulating monorail hoists, the head of OSHA’s construction directorate, Dean McKenzie, said in the memo.

The agency is already pursuing a proposed rule started during the Obama administration (RIN:1218-AC81) clarifying when the crane rule applies to forklifts carrying suspended loads.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at brolfsen@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bna.com

For More Information

The June 30 memorandum is available at http://src.bna.com/quW.

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