Duties, Responsibilities, and Inspections

Many hazards exist in this photo. Are they all addressed?


Moving large, heavy loads is crucial to today's manufacturing and construction industries. Much technology has been developed for these operations, including careful training and extensive workplace precautions. There are significant safety issues to be considered, both for the operators of the diverse "lifting" devices, and for workers in proximity to them. This course is a starting point for finding information about these devices and their operation.

OSHA’s standard applies to power-operated equipment used in construction work that can hoist, lower and horizontally move a suspended load, unless such equipment is specifically excluded from coverage.

Cranes Types

The types of cranes and derricks in the next few tabs are the most commonly used in construction and covered by OSHA’s crane standard.

Mobile cranes: These cranes use a lifting device incorporating a cable suspended latticed boom or hydraulic telescopic boom designed to be moved between operating locations by transport over the road. Mobile cranes include crawler mounted, wheel-mounted, rough terrain, all-terrain, commercial truck-mounted, and boom truck cranes.

mobile crane
Crawler-Mounted Latticework Boom Crane
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lattice work
Latticework Boom Crane
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hydraulic boom
Hydraulic Boom Crane
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1. These cranes have cable suspended latticed booms or hydraulic telescopic booms and are designed to be moved between operating locations.

a. Articulating cranes
b. Derrick cranes
c. Tower cranes
d. Mobile cranes
Tower Crane-Hammerhead
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Cranes Types (Continued)

Tower cranes: Lifting structures which utilize a vertical mast or tower to support a working boom (jib) in an elevated position. Loads are suspended from the working boom. While the working boom may be of the fixed type (horizontal or angled) or have luffing capability, it can always rotate to swing loads, either by rotating on the top of the tower (top slewing) or by the rotation of the tower (bottom slewing). The tower base may be fixed in one location or ballasted and moveable between locations. Tower cranes include those with a fixed jib (hammerhead boom), those with a luffing boom, and self-erecting tower cranes.

Articulating cranes: Also known as knuckle-boom cranes and loader cranes. These are cranes whose boom consists of a series of folding, pin-connected structural members, typically manipulated to extend or retract by power from hydraulic cylinders.

derrick crane
Derrick Crane
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All derricks (except for gin poles used for the erection of communication towers): This crane is composed of a tower that doesn’t actually bend but instead pivots at the base. The tower is usually made up of crisscrossing steel pipes and braces. This gives the crane a great deal of strength using very little structure. Four lines are connected to the tower; the crane tower can move in every direction because the lines are independent of one another. Hanging over the end of the tower is a single fifth line that has a hook or other attachment on the end. This fifth line moves up and down and attaches to loads.

2. Which of the following cranes have booms that consist of a series of folding, pin-connected structural members?

a. Tower cranes
b. Articulating cranes
c. Derricks
d. Mobile cranes
Must the controlling entity establish a system to coordinate the operations of two cranes that operate within each other's working radius?

Controlling Employers

The employer that is a prime contractor, general contractor, construction manager or any other legal entity which has the overall responsibility for the construction of the project (its planning, quality and completion) is considered the controlling employer, sometimes called the controlling entity.

  • The controlling entity is responsible for seeing that the ground conditions are adequate to support the equipment.
  • The controlling entity must also inform the user and the operator of the equipment of the location of hazards beneath the equipment set-up area (such as voids, tanks, utilities) if those hazards are identified in documents (such as site drawings, as-built drawings, and soil analyses) in the possession of the controlling entity (whether at the site or off-site) or of any other hazards known to the controlling entity.
  • The controlling entity must also establish a system to coordinate the operations of two cranes that operate within each other's working radius.

The A/D Director

All assembly/disassembly operations must be directed by an individual who meets the criteria for both a competent person and a qualified person, or by a competent person who is assisted by one or more qualified persons. The A/D director must understand the applicable assembly/disassembly procedures. The A/D director must take the following precautions to protect against potential hazards associated with the operation.

3. Crane assembly/disassembly operations must be directed by one or more persons who meet the requirements for _____.

a. competent and qualified person
b. competent person
c. qualified person
d. competent person and engineer
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The qualified person is responsible for assembly, disassembly, and other duties.

Qualified Person

This is a person who has earned a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or has extensive knowledge, training and experience. This is also a person that has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.

  • Qualified person duties include conducting annual/comprehensive inspections of all equipment as well as inspections of modified equipment.

Competent Person

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Competent person must conduct shift and monthly inspections.

This is the person who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

  • A competent person must conduct shift and monthly inspections of all equipment.
  • A qualified crane operator who has the authority to take corrective measures will be considered a competent person.

Both qualified and competent persons may also be responsible for duties dealing with developing assembly/disassembly procedures, wire rope safety, fall protection, maintenance and repair, hoisting personnel, multiple crane/derrick lifts, equipment modifications, tower cranes, derricks, and floating cranes/derricks.

4. Who is responsible for conducting shift and monthly crane inspections on a worksite?

a. The A/D Director
b. A competent person
c. A qualified person
d. A registered engineer

The Crane Operator

This crane operator isn't letting anything distract him from his responsibilities.

Crane operators should be certified before they can operate a crane on their own. There are generally two options for certification:

  1. certification by a nationally accredited crane operator testing organization, or
  2. certification by an audited employer program.

The Crew

Before the operation begins, the A/D Director must ensure that the crew members understand all of the following:

  • their tasks,
  • the hazards associated with their tasks, and
  • the hazardous positions/locations that they need to avoid.
Crew members need to know their tasks and the hazardous positions to avoid.

Before a crew member goes to a location that is out of view of the operator and is either in, on, or under the equipment, or near the equipment (or load) where the crew member could be injured by movement of the equipment (or load), the crew member must inform the operator that he/she is going to that location.

Whenever the operator knows that a crew member is in such a potentially dangerous position, the operator must not move any part of the equipment (or load) until the operator is informed in accord with a pre-arranged system of communication that the crew member is in a safe position.

The Rigger

The employer must ensure that the rigging work is done by a rigger who meets the requirements as a qualified person and successfully demonstrates the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to rigging.

A qualified rigger is required when:

  • rigging is part of assembly or disassembly work involving a crane; or
  • workers are within the fall zone and are hooking, unhooking, or guiding a load.

5. When workers are within the fall zone and are hooking, unhooking, or guiding a load during rigging operations, the rigger must _____.

a. complete a rigger 10-hour course
b. be the A/D Director
c. be a competent person
d. be a qualified person


signal person
The training requirements of the standard exist to help ensure your employees can go home at the end of the day. Training is essential.

OSHA 1926.1430 requires training in specific topics. Below is a list of the training requirements:

  • Overhead powerlines: See Sections 1408(g) and 1410(m).
  • Signal persons: See Section 1428(c)
  • Operators : See Section 1427 for the training required for operators during the four-year transitional period for operator qualification/certification, for operators of equipment that does not require qualification/certification, and for operators-in-training.

Additional Training Requirements for Operators

Operators must also receive training on the following topics:

  • Boom movement: On friction equipment, whenever moving a boom off a support. See 1926.1417(f) and (j).
  • Emergency procedures: The manufacturer's emergency procedures for halting unintended equipment movement.
  • Competent persons and qualified persons. The employer must train each competent person and each qualified person regarding the requirements of this subpart applicable to their respective roles.
  • Crush/pinch points: The employer must train each employee who works with the equipment to keep clear of holes, and crush/pinch points and the hazards addressed in 11926.1424.
  • Tagout: If authorized to start/energize equipment or operate equipment controls (such as maintenance and repair employees), operators and additional authorized employees must be trained in proper tag-out and start-up procedures in 1926.1417(f) and (g).

Training Administration

For each employee who must be trained the employer must:

  • Evaluate each employee to confirm that the employee understands, has adequate skills, and abilities (KSAs) related to the information provided in the training.
  • Provide refresher training in relevant topics for each employee when, based on the conduct of the employee or an evaluation of the employee's knowledge, skills, or ability, there is an indication that retraining is necessary.
  • Provide the training at no cost to the employee.

6. Those employees who are authorized to start/energize equipment must be trained in _____.

a. basic safety orientation
b. tagout procedures
c. how to prevent unnecessary boom movement
d. hazardous weather conditions

Qualification and Certification

How long is certification and licensing valid for?

An operator will be deemed qualified to operate a particular piece of equipment if the operator is certified under paragraph 1926.1427(b) for that type and capacity of equipment or for higher-capacity equipment of that type.

If no accredited testing agency offers certification examinations for a particular type and/or capacity of equipment, an operator will be deemed qualified to operate that equipment if the operator has been certified for the type/capacity that is most similar to that equipment and for which a certification examination is available. The operator's certificate must state the type/capacity of equipment for which the operator is certified.

Getting Certified or Qualified

There are four qualification or certification options for crane operators.

Option 1 - Certification after passing both a written and practical test administered by an accredited testing organization. Certification is valid for 5 years.

Option 2 - Qualification after passing a written and practical test by an audited employer program. Qualification is valid for 5 years.

Option 3 - Qualification by the U.S. Military (limited to employees of the Department of Defense or members of the Armed Forces). The qualification is valid for the period of time stipulated by the issuing authority.

Option 4 - Licensing by a government entity. If the crane operator is working in a jurisdiction that requires a state or local crane license and the licensing process meets the requirements of this standard, the operator must obtain such a license. Licensing is valid for the period of time stipulated by the licensing department/office, but no longer than 5 years.

7. The crane operator's certificate must state _____ of equipment for which the operator is certified.

a. the type/capacity
b. the manufacturer
c. the category
d. the inspection date

Shift and Monthly Inspections

Make sure tires are in good condition and properly inflated.

A competent person must visually inspect the equipment each shift the equipment is used. Taking apart equipment components and booming down is not required as part of this inspection unless the results of the visual inspection or trial operation indicate that further investigation is needed. The monthly inspection is the same for most equipment.

  • If the inspection shows a safety device is not working properly, the equipment must not be used.
  • If it shows an operational aid is not working properly, the equipment may be used for a limited period (7 or 30 calendar days depending on the type of operational aid) as long as specified temporary alternative precautions are taken.
  • For the other items covered by the inspection, if the deficiency is serious enough to be a safety hazard, it must not be used until the deficiency is corrected.

Shift inspections need not be documented, however monthly inspections do need to be properly documented and maintained for a minimum of three months.

out of service
If a deficiency is identified, does the equipment need to be taken out of service until the deficiency is corrected?

Before the equipment can be used, it must be inspected by a qualified person to ensure it is configured in accord with manufacturer equipment criteria.

  • The qualified person may be the A/D director.
  • Where manufacturer equipment criteria are unavailable, a qualified person must determine if a registered professional engineer (RPE) is required to assist.

Corrective Action

If a qualified person who conducts an inspection identifies any deficiency in any of the items inspected and determines the deficiency constitutes a safety hazard, the equipment must be taken out of service until the deficiency is corrected.

If a qualified person determines, even though not presently a safety hazard, the deficiency needs to be monitored, the employer must ensure the deficiency is checked in the monthly inspections.

8. Crane equipment must be visually inspected by _____ each shift the equipment is used.

a. the A/D Director
b. a competent person
c. an operator
d. a member of the crew

Severe Service Inspections

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Prolonged use may require a severe service inspection.

Where the severity of use/conditions is such that there is a reasonable probability of damage or excessive wear (such as loading that may exceed rated capacity, shock loading exceeding the rated capacity, or prolonged exposure to a corrosive atmosphere), the employer must stop using the equipment and a qualified person must:

  • Inspect the equipment for structural damage to determine if the equipment can continue to be used safely.
  • Determine if any items/conditions must be inspected during an annual inspection (if so, a qualified person must inspect those items/conditions).

Inspection of Non-Regular Equipment

Equipment which has been idle for three months or more must be inspected by a qualified person in accord with the requirements for monthly inspections before being used.

Inspection of Modified Equipment

Equipment with modifications or additions which affect the safe operation of the equipment (such as a safety device or operational aid, critical part of a control system, power plant, braking system, load-sustaining structural components, load hook, or in-use operating mechanism) or capacity must be inspected by a qualified person, prior to initial use.

Note: Under Standard 1434, any such modification/addition must be approved by either the manufacturer or a RPE. The inspection must assure the modifications or additions have been made in accord with the approval and must include functional testing of the equipment.

9. What must be done if you have a crane that has been idle for four months?

a. Have an operator energize and test the equipment
b. Take it in to the maintenance facility for an overhaul
c. Have a qualified person inspect the crane
d. Nothing, since it has to be idle for six months

Inspection of Repaired/Adjusted Equipment

A qualified person or RPE must inspect repaired or adjusted equipment.

Equipment with a repair or adjustment to ensure safe operation must be inspected by a qualified person, prior to initial use. This requirement applies to adjustment to a safety device or operator aid, critical part of a control system, power plant, braking system, load-sustaining structural components, load hook, or in-use operating mechanism

A qualified person must determine if the repair/adjustment meets manufacturer equipment criteria (where applicable and available). Where manufacturer equipment criteria are unavailable or inapplicable, a qualified person must determine if a registered professional engineer (RPE) is needed to develop criteria for the repair/adjustment.

If an RPE is not needed, the employer must ensure the criteria is developed by a qualified person. If an RPE is needed, the employer must ensure criteria is developed by the RPE. The inspection must determine if the repair/adjustment meets the criteria developed by the RPE or qualified person and must include functional testing.

10. What must occur to verify repair or adjustment of crane equipment meets developed criteria?

a. Determination of the adequacy of criteria
b. On-the-job verification and validation
c. Follow-up inspection by a competent person
d. Conduct functional testing

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Watch this DoD video about the basics of Mobile Crane safety.

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