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.
Although the controlling entity is responsible for providing adequate ground conditions, the company operating the crane will often be better able than the controlling entity to determine whether those conditions are adequate. If you are operating a crane and decide that ground conditions are inadequate, you must discuss the problem with the controlling entity and see that the problem is corrected before beginning or continuing operations.
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.
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.
In addition, duties under the sections of this standard governing Operations, Hoisting Personnel, Multiple Crane/Derrick Lifts, Derricks, and Floating Cranes must be carried out by competent persons. In general, a qualified crane operator who has the authority to take corrective measures will be a competent person.
Click on the table on the right to see the requirements for a competent and qualified person in each of the OSHA construction standards.
If you are an employer operating a leased crane, you are responsible for complying with all requirements of the OSHA standard. Even if the lessor states that the crane meets the standard, you must take steps to verify that claim.
If you lease a crane to a contractor on the construction site, you must comply with all requirements of the OSHA crane standard because your employee, the operator, would be exposed to hazards resulting from the crane's operation.
Moreover, you are responsible for any violations caused by the crane operator because you are the operator's employer and the lessee is relying on the operator's knowledge and skills to ensure that operations are conducted safely.
If you do not provide an operator with the crane, but provide maintenance on the crane when needed, your maintenance person must be qualified and you are responsible for any hazards that result from the actions of your mechanic that expose other workers on the site to hazards. In addition, you are responsible for any violations to which your mechanic is exposed while he/she is working on the crane.
If you are contractor on a construction site and another contractor is using a crane on the site, yet none of your work involves the crane, you still have responsibilities because your employees may be exposed to hazards caused by the crane's operation. For example, if a crane collapses due to being overloaded, employees working elsewhere on the site can be killed or injured. And if, for example, a crane makes electrical contact with a power line, any employee touching or even near the crane can be electrocuted.
Even though you are not operating the crane, you must be aware of potential crane hazards and are responsible for protecting your employees against hazards you can reasonably foresee. You must take reasonable steps to protect your employees. For example, if you are concerned with a crane's stability due to potential overloading, unstable ground conditions, or high winds, you must satisfy yourself that the crane is stable before allowing your employees to work where they would be in danger if the crane collapses.
One way is to ask the company operating the crane or the controlling contractor on the site whether all necessary precautions are being taken to ensure the crane's stability. Also, you have a duty to train your employees in the hazards associated with their work, including those that might arise from working near a crane.
All employers must train construction workers how to recognize and avoid the hazards associated with their work and, depending on the circumstances, may require training in topics not listed in the cranes and derricks standard.
All contractors and owners must provide training as appropriate to equipment operators, signal persons, competent and qualified persons, maintenance and repair workers, and workers who work near the equipment.
Where provisions of the crane standard direct an operator, crewmember, or other employee to take certain actions, you must establish, effectively communicate to the relevant persons, and enforce work rules to ensure compliance with such provisions.
If the owners of cranes that deliver sheet goods (such as drywall or plywood) or packaged goods (such as roofing shingles, bags of cement, or rolls of roofing felt) to a construction site using a flatbed truck equipped with an articulating crane and only place materials on the ground without arranging the materials in a particular order for hoisting, OSHA does not consider them engaged in construction work and they have no duties under the standard.
If equipment places materials onto the structure, OSHA considers the activity as construction work, and the standard applies to your work.
Refer to Module 1.7 for specific requirements for employers that deliver materials to the construction site.
If you are the general contractor on a project:
Crane operators should be certified before they can operate a crane on their own. There are generally two options for certification:
Crane operators’ responsibilities include:
Maintenance and repair workers must meet the requirements for a qualified person regarding their maintenance and repair tasks. They are allowed to operate cranes to do maintenance work, to do an inspection, or to verify that the crane is working properly.
When operating a crane, they must be supervised by a qualified operator who meets the requirements of 1926.1427, and is familiar with the crane’s operation, characteristics, and hazards.
Maintenance and repair workers must not operate a crane during regular operations unless they are qualified under 1926.1427, Operator Qualification and Certification.
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