OSHA Regulations for Underground Construction Employers Using Cranes and Derricks

On August 17, 2012, OSHA published an amendment to its standards in Subpart 5 (Underground Construction, Caissons, Cofferdams, and Compressed Air) and Subpart T (Demolition) of the construction standards at 29 CFR 9126. This amendment, which took effect on May 23, 2013, extended the scope of the rules governing the use of cranes and derricks to cover workers involved in underground construction work. OSHA implemented these changes to its safety standards in an effort to seek prevent workplace injury resulting from the use of hoisting equipment in underground settings.

The original rule, which was enacted in 2010, focused on four of the most dangerous possibilities for construction workers using cranes and derricks: electrocution, getting crushed by equipment, getting hit by equipment, and falling. The 2010 standard did not encompass underground workers. Under the amended rule, however, underground construction workers and their employers will be required to follow the same safety regulations. The amended rule will apply the standards from 29 CFR 1926, Subpart CC (Cranes and Derricks in Construction) to underground workers using the equipment described in Subpart CC.

The new rule, which can be found at 29 CFR 1926, Subpart DD, generally requires employers to "comply with the manufacturer's specifications and limitations applicable to the operation of any and all cranes and derricks." The rule further provides that when manufacturer's specifications are not available, limitations should be assigned to the equipment based on the determinations of a qualified engineer. The amended rule also specifies that crane attachments must not exceed the manufacturer's recommendations for capacity, rating, or scope. Additionally, workers operating the cranes and derricks will be required to become certified or qualified for such operation. The rule goes on to describe specific safety measures regarding different types of cranes and derricks.

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