OSHA issued a final standard updating the requirements for cranes and derricks. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), in collaboration with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), petitioned for review of the standard in the United States Court of Appeals. After industry petition, OSHA decided to broaden the exemption to exclude digger derricks used in the electric-utility industry by means of this direct final rule.

The direct final rule will become effective in February 2013.

“OSHA has, through direct final rulemaking, expanded the digger derrick certification requirements to now exclude work meeting the scope of Subpart V work and utility type settings. Digger derricks fitting the description of this exemption are not required to meet certification requirements under subpart CC by 2014. Digger derricks used in construction related activities, such as installation of traffic signals, lighting and others not meeting the definition of Subpart V work or utility setting, fall outside the exemption of this rule. Contractors should be mindful that, while the certification requirements have been lifted, employers still have to ensure that digger derrick operators have been trained and are proficient in the safe operation of such equipment prior to use,” said Jerry Rivera, NECA’s director of safety.

When federal OSHA promulgates a new standard or a more stringent amendment to an existing standard, the 27 states that have state-run programs and U.S. territories with their own OSHA-approved occupational safety and health plans must amend their standards to reflect the change. The state standard must be at least as effective at protecting employees as the final federal rule. State Plan States must issue the standard within six months of the promulgation date of the final federal rule.