In addition to proposing a three-year extension to the operator certification requirements under the final cranes and derricks in construction standard, 1926 – Subpart CC, OSHA further extended the temporary enforcement policy memorandum regarding the use of proximity alarms and insulating links on cranes and derricks operating near power lines.
OSHA’s final standard for cranes and derricks in construction provides employers with several options for operating cranes near power lines. One option includes the use of a proximity alarm or insulating link/device. These devices “warn of proximity to power lines or that insulate against electricity.” 29 C.F.R. § 1926.1401. Additionally, these devices are required to be listed, labeled or accepted by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).
Currently, however, no proximity alarm or insulating link/device has been approved or meets the NRTL requirements. Because of this, in July 2012, OSHA issued a temporary enforcement policy memorandum informing compliance officers that if a crane or derrick being inspected has an insulating link/device, no citation shall be issued, so long as employees are properly protected by an” additional measure” listed in § 1926.1407(b)(3) or § 1926. 1408(b)(4). For example, this additional measure could include using a dedicated spotter or range control warning device.
This temporary enforcement policy memorandum expired on November 8, 2013. On January 24, 2014, OSHA requested that all regional offices continue to follow the July 2012 temporary enforcement policy. OSHA anticipates issuing another memorandum updating the July 2012 enforcement policy in the next few months. Additionally, OSHA plans to propose further rulemaking to address this issue, however, it is unclear when the Agency will move forward with a proposed rule.