Standards for cranes and derricks are all now located in the General Industry Safety Orders, after a multiyear effort to provide “one-stop shopping” for such regulations.

California’s Office of Administrative Law has approved Cal/OSHA’s consolidation of standards for cranes and derricks in construction. The surgical replacement of regulations from the Construction Safety Orders to the General Industry Safety Orders became effective on July 26th.

The finalization of this standard comes 12 years after Fed-OSHA overhauled its regulations, requiring the California Standards Board to make a corresponding move. The Board wanted to keep the rules in the general industry orders, but stakeholders expressed concerns about deviation from the “Horcher” process, which shortens rulemaking for adopting federal regs, but requires a verbatim regulation. Since the Fed-OSHA placed the revised rules in its version of the CSO, Cal/OSHA was required to do the same, they argued. The Board’s chief counsel at the time concurred. To meet the federal timeline, Board staff conceded the point and placed the rules in the construction orders.

One Stop Shopping 

This bifurcation meant that a single device, such as a mobile crane, could be used in both construction and general industry on the same day, but with two different sets of rules. In the following years, stakeholders pressed the Board to do what it wanted to do in the first place and put the regs back into the GISO, providing “one-stop shopping,” they said.

The Board convened several advisory committees to help craft the language, which was heard in a February 2022 public hearing and adopted by the Board in May. The consolidation provides exceptions for the “limited cases where the standards would impose new and unnecessary requirements on cranes used solely in general industry,” according to the Board Acting Principal Engineer, Steve Smith.

The consolidation removes provisions for cranes and derricks in construction from the CSO and moves them to the GISO, covering numerous sections. It revises specific provisions to add back the standards and creates some new sections, including:

New Sections

  • § 4880 on derricks, cranes, and boom-type excavators;
  • § 4881 on general requirements, such as posted warnings, load hooks, hook and ball assemblies, and cabs;
  • § 4883 on equipment with a rating hoisting capacity of 2,000 pounds or less; 8/5/22, 6:29 AM Cranes and Derricks 3/3.
  • § 4884.1 on equipment modifications to mobile and tower cranes;
  • § 4924.1 on free fall and controlled load lowering;
  • § 4959 and 4960 on derrick operation procedures and construction;
  • § 4968.2 on operation aids, excluding tower cranes;
  • § 4988.1 on floating cranes and derricks and land cranes/derricks on barges;
  • § 4991.1 on ground conditions for travel of boom-type equipment;
  • § 5001.1 and 3 on signals, including radio, telephone, and electronic transmission, and signal person qualifications;
  • § 5003 and 5005 on power line safety up to 350 kilovolts, and work near transmitter towers;
  • § 5006.2 on operator training, certification, and evaluation for cranes and derricks in construction; 
  • § 5008.1 on the operational functions of equipment, including the use of attachments;
  • § 5010 on assembly, disassembly; 
  • § 5011 on fall protection;
  • § 5017 on safety devices and §5018 on operational aids;
  • § 5031.1 on post-assembly inspection; and
  • § §5033.1 on qualifications of maintenance and repair employees and §5036 on the inspection of wire rope.

Rejection Urged

One stakeholder urged the Board to reject the consolidation and revise it with a better understanding of the crane orders and national consensus standards. He said adopting it as proposed could lead to “incorrect” citations and a decrease in safety. 

But others say whatever flaws there are in the adoption are outweighed by its benefits. The Board intends to engage in follow-up advisory talks and rulemaking to address remaining issues.

From the ECA, Safety Forum www.ecasocal.org