Skip to main content


Tag: Digger Derricks

The Impact of Soil Conditions on Digger Derrick Auger Selection

If you don’t have the optimal tool for the job, you might still be able to get the work done. But it often requires more time and effort to perform the task and shortens the life of the tool.

That’s especially the case with augers. An auger is like a drill bit, attached to the boom of a digger derrick and designed to drill into the ground to dig holes in which to set poles. The properly spec’d auger empowers your crews to dig holes as quickly and efficiently as possible.

And one of the major factors in selecting the right auger is the soil type, whether it’s loose dirt, sand, mud, rock or extreme rock. So, here are four important items to consider to ensure your augers are best suited for the various soil conditions your crews may encounter.

1. Flight Length
The flighting is the spiral section near the bottom tip of the auger, much like what you would see on a corkscrew. “Flight length” refers to the auger’s total spiral length, which typically ranges from 52 to 60 inches.

Why does this matter? “If the tool is digging into a real sandy or loose dirt area, the longer flighting allows you to pull more material out of the ground at one time. Otherwise, you’re having to repeat the task several more times to pull out enough dirt to secure the hole,” explained Dale Putman, product support manager for auger tooling and drills with Terex Utilities (

2. Flight Thickness
This refers to the material thickness of each flight, which impacts both the strength and weight of the tool. The objective is to strike the right balance between building sufficient strength for the application and avoiding adding unnecessary weight to the auger, which would detract from the digger derrick’s overall payload.

“[At Terex], we like to go with a thicker flight at the bottom of the auger for heavier-duty applications,” Putman said. “We’ll build a 1-inch-thick flight at the bottom and then we may go to 3/8- or 5/16-inch on the flights above that. A stronger cutting edge [bottom flight] of the auger makes it much easier on the tool to cut into rock.”

3. Flight Pitch
This represents the distance between the top and bottom of each spiral or flight. The shorter the distance, the flatter the pitch. More space between top and bottom will make the flight pitch steeper.

What’s the impact of flight pitch on auger performance? “When digging into loose soil with a steep flight pitch, all the material will just slide right back into the hole every time you try to pull the tool out,” Putman said. “If you go with the flatter pitch, the material stays on the flighting a lot better.”

Putman also said that a steeper pitch is more useful when you’re drilling into wet, sticky clay and gummy dirt. “This way, when you pull the tool out of the hole, it will be easier and faster to get the clumpy material off the tool.”

4. Teeth
The pilot bit, found at the tip of the auger, creates the starter hole to help hold the auger straight before it goes into full-power drilling mode. Right above the pilot bit and below the first flight is a set of teeth designed to cut into the ground. There are typically three different types of teeth, depending on the soil – dirt teeth, rock teeth and extreme rock teeth.

“A lot of utilities will primarily use a dirt auger, and then when they get into a rock application, they can change the teeth out to make the tool more appropriate for drilling the harder material,” said Dana Scudder, vice president of sales and marketing for Pengo Corp. (, which builds augers for many digger derrick manufacturers.

But isn’t stronger better? Why not just use a rock auger for both dirt and rock applications? That way, you don’t have to keep hauling the different sets of teeth and taking the time to change them out.

Scudder recommends against this one-size-fits-all approach. “The problem you run into when you try to use a rock auger in the dirt is that the dirt will get stuck in the conical teeth [typically used for rock applications] and cause the teeth to lock up. So, when they try to drill into rock again and need the teeth to rotate, the teeth can’t do the job because they’re stuck with dirt.”

Bottom Line
When it comes to auger selection, one spec does not fit all soil types. Work closely with your digger derrick and auger manufacturers to determine which augers work best in your fleet’s applications.

Spec’ing Digger Derricks for Maximum Productivity

A truck-mounted digger derrick is designed to enable utility companies to dig holes and set poles for electric power transmission and distribution systems.

In an ideal scenario, the derrick should be able to perform both functions – digging and lifting – without your crew having to reposition the truck. This way, your team can get more jobs done in less time, improving service to customers and bolstering your bottom line.

“If you select a derrick that’s too small for the job, you might be able to dig a hole from a certain position. But when you want to set the pole, the load capacity at the truck’s current position might not be sufficient to lift the pole,” said Jon Promersberger, engineer, new product development for Terex Utilities (, a global manufacturer of aerial work platforms and digger derricks. “So you have to move the truck to achieve the proper boom angle and lift capacity to do the job, which wastes a lot of time. If you’re going to dig your hole at 20 feet from the truck, you want to spec the derrick to allow you to also set the pole at 20 feet.”

But with a wide range of weight capacities, boom lengths and other factors to consider, how do you determine the right spec for your application?

Derrick Terminology
Begin by gaining a working knowledge of some of the key terms the industry has used to describe a derrick’s capabilities.

Maximum Capacity
This has been the historic metric for classifying derricks, defined as the maximum lifting capacity when the boom is fully retracted at its highest angle.

“Basically, maximum capacity is what’s measured when the boom is straight up in the air. If you had to lift something that’s heavy, and the boom is real close to the truck, it would tell the derrick’s capability in performing that function at that angle – and that’s about all. It doesn’t say anything about the capability of that boom at other angles,” Promersberger said.

Chris Barnes, derrick marketing manager for Altec (, an aerial equipment manufacturer and service provider for the electrical utility market, agrees. “The term is essentially meaningless today because there is virtually nothing you can pick up that close to the derrick. The truck and the outriggers [stabilizer legs] get in the way.”

Capacity at 10-Foot Radius
Realizing the limits of maximum capacity as a useful metric for selecting a derrick, the industry developed a new measure in the 1980s – capacity at 10-foot radius – to provide deeper insight into a derrick’s real-world capabilities. It defines how much weight the derrick can lift when the load is 10 feet from the center of the truck.

“Ten feet became an industry standard because it was likely the minimum load radius that could be useful in real-world applications,” Barnes explained.

But when comparing derricks based on the 10-foot rating, make sure the lifting capacity is the same from all boom positions, Barnes advised. “A derrick may have a higher capacity number when the boom is positioned to the rear of the truck than it would off the side, so you want to confirm with your manufacturer that you’ve accounted for any potential discrepancies.”

Sheave Height
A sheave (pronounced “shiv”) is the pulley at the tip of the boom. Therefore, “sheave height” is defined as the maximum height of the boom when it is fully extended and elevated, assuming a 40-inch frame height of the chassis.

“Sheave height impacts what size pole the derrick can lift and the machine’s optimal digging radius,” Barnes said. “This is especially important because the minimum and maximum digging radius is really the envelope in which your derrick will be operating much of the time.”

Although there is no universal rule on matching a derrick’s sheave height to pole height, Promersberger offered this general guideline: Select a sheave height that’s about two-thirds of the length of the pole you intend to lift and set. For example, if the pole is 90 feet high, you would spec a sheave height of about 60 feet.

Digging Deeper
While terms like “maximum capacity,” “capacity at 10-foot radius” and “sheave height” can help you narrow down the general requirements for your derrick spec, you’ll have to dig deeper into the details of your application to identify the specifications that meet the unique needs of your application.

So, as you evaluate your derrick requirements, keep these factors in mind:
• What size pole will the derrick be setting? Consider height, diameter and weight.
• What soil type will the derrick be digging? Will it be topsoil, sand, clay, limestone or another type?
• Will the soil be wet or dry?
• What equipment and gear will be hauled on the truck? How much will that cargo weigh at maximum load?
• What gross vehicle weight rating chassis will be required to meet derrick and payload requirements?

One online tool to help you dig deeper into the specifics of your application is Terex’s Work Zone Capacity Calculator (, which takes into account not only the derrick’s boom lifting capacity, but also the auger (drill) digging and lifting capabilities best suited for your needs.

Also, make sure you’ve covered all your bases by working closely with your derrick manufacturer throughout the specification process. They can walk you through the load capacity charts specific to their products to determine the machine’s capabilities at various load angles and sheave heights, to ensure the derrick is right for all aspects of your application.

High Stakes
When you consider that a typical digger derrick has a six-figure price tag, the stakes are high to get the spec right. Be crystal clear about the derrick’s job description and lean on your equipment manufacturer to help you align the derrick spec for the application to maximize productivity – and your return on investment.

About the Author: Sean M. Lyden is a nationally recognized journalist and feature writer for a wide range of automotive and trucking trade publications, covering fleet management strategies, light- and medium-duty trucks, truck bodies and equipment, and green fuel technologies. He blogs at Strategy + Writing (

Shedding Weight of Utility Fleet Upfits to Boost Payload and Productivity

New diesel emissions aftertreatment devices – including diesel particulate filters, selective catalytic reduction systems and diesel exhaust fluid tanks – have added considerable weight to medium- and heavy-duty truck chassis in recent years. This has contributed to a payload challenge for many fleet managers, especially for those utility fleets operating Class 7 and 8 digger derrick and aerial platform trucks. They’re looking to keep their trucks within a certain weight range to comply with federal bridge laws and, if possible, avoid having to bump up to a larger chassis that may require a federal excise tax.

A federal excise tax applies to the first retail sale of a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 33,001 pounds and above, adding 12 percent of the purchase price to the total cost of a truck. So, having to go to a bigger chassis could mean as much as a five-figure increase to the cost of each truck. Spread that added expense across an entire fleet, and you get the idea of the financial stakes at hand with truck weight.

How can fleet managers reduce overall vehicle weight without having to upsize the truck? One solution is to shed weight from the body and equipment that are mounted on the chassis, replacing conventional steel – where feasible – with advanced lightweight materials such as aluminum, fiberglass composites, plastic composites and thinner-gauge steel.

Lightweight Potential
Conventional steel is the predominant material used in truck bodies because of its relatively low cost and the comfort level that many fleet managers have with its strength and durability to hold up under rugged working conditions. But steel is also heavy, and replacing it with lighter-weight materials could offer substantial weight savings and increased payload capacity.

According to Joe Caywood, senior marketing and product manager for Terex Utilities (, a global manufacturer of aerial work platforms, using fiberglass and aluminum can reduce the weight of a line body, also known as a utility body, by about 38 percent. So, what impact does that make in terms of real-world payload?

Take, for example, a standard steel 156-inch line body, which weighs about 2,300 pounds, Caywood said. Reducing the weight of that body by 38 percent translates into an increased payload capacity of 860 pounds.

Then there’s lightweighting the equipment mounted on the body. Caywood said that Terex has been able to generate 15 to 25 percent weight savings in their aerial platforms and other equipment by incorporating some high-strength steel – which is thinner and lighter than traditional steel, but with comparable strength – in the company’s upfit designs.

A side benefit of some lightweight materials, specifically aluminum, fiberglass and plastics, is corrosion resistance, which is important for the longevity of upfits. They must be able to withstand the corrosive impact of road salt in the Snowbelt states and salt air in coastal regions.

“Many fleets evaluate body material selection based on the region where the vehicle will operate,” said Justin Chandler, body sales manager for Altec Inc. (, a truck equipment manufacturer and service provider for the electrical utility and telecommunications market that offers fiberglass and aluminum bodies as part of its Green Fleet product line. “Some fleets may use more fiberglass in a region that is an intense corrosive environment, whereas steel – which is less expensive – may work fine in a less corrosive environment. The key is to find the best material solution for each customer based on the factors most important to them, whether it’s weight, cost or corrosion resistance.”

Balancing Act
Since lightweight materials tend to cost more than steel, too much of an advanced material could drive up the cost to a point where it’s not financially practical. And then there’s the issue of material strength, which impacts body durability and performance.

“Generally, you want to stick with steel for the understructure of the body, especially in utility applications, because of the potential twist and torque of the body, whether the truck is going off-road or carrying a crane or an aerial device,” said Eric Paul, regional sales manager for ETI (, a manufacturer of aerial lifts, mobile service cranes and custom bodies.

Where are the most appropriate opportunities for lightweighting the body while keeping costs in line and without sacrificing structural strength?

“You want to look at nonstructural areas in the body – the side packs [the side compartments in line bodies], doors, floor pan – any area of the body that doesn’t absorb a tremendous amount of stress,” Paul said. “Fleets may wish to also consider composite bushings and aluminum or composite shelving.”

Said Caywood, “Look for opportunities, such as wire holders or different components of the body for storage that can be made out of aluminum or other lightweight material. Even something as simple as redesigning to reduce the inches of weld in the body design can reduce weight.”

“Lightweighting is a big balancing act,” Paul said. “And when it comes to selecting lightweight materials for a body, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There needs to be an engineering mindset about it. Recognize the physical properties of each of the various materials and strategically include the right mix of materials for the body to do the job it has to do.”

Reducing weight of upfits will help increase payload capacity, but not all lightweight materials are created equal or suitable for every situation. Therefore, when considering lightweight upfits, work closely with your body manufacturer and upfitter to select materials that best fit the application – and your budget.

About the Author: Sean M. Lyden is a nationally recognized journalist and feature writer for a wide range of automotive and trucking trade publications, covering fleet management strategies, light- and medium-duty trucks, truck bodies and equipment, and green fuel technologies. He blogs at Strategy + Writing (

Crane & Derrick Compliance

New OSHA standard becomes effective November 8, 2010

OSHA’s new Crane and Derrick standard has a little something for everyone, including some unexpected compliance issues for the electric utility industry. Known as Subpart CC, the standard was years in development, pushed heavily to completion in the last years by serious and highly publicized crane accidents.

For a standard this complicated, OSHA usually publishes compliance directives known as CPLs, for Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CHSO). CPLs are procedural and enforcement guides that the industry can use a tool toward compliance. That document is not immediately forthcoming and there are several compliance issues due shortly. If you have not already done so, download the new standard from Get the official Federal Register version dated August 9, 2010. For each issue discussed below we have referenced the Federal Register page number so you can see the citation in its whole context.

The space we have here does not allow addressing all of the particulars of subpart CC but will give the reader a glimpse of how the new standard will affect us in the coming months.

Certification of Operators 1926.1427 (P.48017)
The issue most often brought up is the requirement for certification of crane operators. The standard clearly differentiates between training and certification. All workers must be trained sufficiently to keep them safe no matter what task they perform. Training of employees has always been the employer’s responsibility. Under Subpart CC, crane operators must not only be “trained,” but a third party must certify them as operators. The only exception, where local or state government does not require licensing (p.48015), is for operators of derricks (1926.1436), sideboom cranes (1926.1440), or equipment with a maximum manufacturer-rated hoisting/lifting capacity of 2,000 pounds or less (1926.1441). By the way, when the standard says “derricks,” it is not referring to utility “digger derricks.”

This certification can take one of two forms. Either the employer can send operators to a third party trainer for certification (p.48017), or the employer can provide the training (p.48020) and a third party can certify the employer-trained operators. Third party trainers or auditors must meet certain qualifications established under Subpart CC and cannot be employees of the employer seeking certification for their operators. The standards for certification of operators are found in 1926.1427(j) (p.48157) and appendix C (p.48176).

A significant issue here is what might be considered OSHA’s incorrect assessment of the cost of training to the utility industry. The impact assessment was based on the utility industry (not including contractor personnel) and assumed that only 1 of 4 crewmembers would be operating a crane or digger derrick (preamble p.48084). In the end, OSHA determined that only 30,000 of 114,500 line workers would need to be third party certified.

Phase-in Period 1926.1427(K)
The requirement for certification of operators becomes effective in 2014. The four-year delay was allowed by OSHA for the training industry to ramp up operations sufficient to deliver training. Operators in the meantime are still required to be trained, but not necessarily certified to the requirements of the standard. What is not clear in the text of the rules is made clear in the preamble (p.48027 and 48033 bottom of column 1). OSHA’s intent is that all current operators be determined to be competent by their employers and the training criteria of Subpart CC found in 1926.1927(j) is the basis for that competency.

Exception for Digger Derricks (Preamble P.47924 and P.48136)
The most talked about part of Subpart CC is the scope of the document 1926.1400. Subpart CC covers all cranes including electric utility use of digger derricks with two exceptions. The first exception is when cranes or digger derricks are used in operations or maintenance. The second is when digger derricks are used for auguring holes, setting poles or hoisting pole-mounted equipment.

There is no exception or language related to weight or dimension of the poles or pole-mounted equipment. Under the rule a pole mounted recloser could be hung on a pole by a digger derrick and it would be covered under 1926 subpart V Power Transmission or 1910.269. If the same recloser was set in a substation, the lift and the equipment would be under the rules of Subpart CC (Preamble p.47925). The digger derrick exclusion for utility poles does not apply to digger derricks used to set poles used solely for street lighting. OSHA has specifically included poles used only for street lighting under the standard. 

Cranes with Pin-on Baskets (P.47926)
Cranes with pin-on baskets are specifically addressed in the preamble and are not considered aerial lifts that are exempt from Subpart CC.

Material Delivery Exclusion (1926.1400(C)(17), (P.47927)
This separate section on material delivery is intended to recognize the limited risks created by local deliveries to construction sites and generally refers to operations such as knuckle boom material handler trucks delivering drywall and the like.

The issue of whether dropping poles at a pole setting location falls under Subpart CC is not easy to answer based on the rules and the content of the preamble. The issue will likely need some interpretation by OSHA.

OSHA uses the language “arranging the materials in a particular sequence for hoisting” to establish the definition of construction versus material delivery. Placing poles on the ground at the pole setting location, using a knuckle boom, in preparation for setting is therefore construction activity. Placing poles in a pole pile, using a knuckle boom, at a work location or yard may be defined as material delivery. Readers should beware that the setting of poles with a knuckle boom, though similar in nature to the task examples, is not specifically mentioned in the material delivery exceptions. Knuckle boom cranes limited to 2,000 pounds are not covered under the standard. Material delivery persons using a knuckle boom rated more than 2,000 pounds to drop poles may not be part of the excluded activity of setting or removing poles.

The issue is equally unclear with padmount transformers. A padmount transformer set off (with a knuckle boom rated over 2,000 pounds) for construction may be considered exempt as material delivery unless it is set off on the pad at its final connected location. 

Maintenance Versus Construction (P.47923)
The preamble clearly establishes that Subpart CC only applies to equipment used in construction. There is additional discussion regarding a utility’s use of a digger derrick in construction (p.47925). If utilities need to differentiate between Maintenance and Construction for the purposes of applying the Subpart CC standard, they need look no further than CPL 2-1.38 Enforcement of the Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Standard. The CPL clearly lays out examples of what OSHA considers maintenance and what is construction.
Specific to this Subpart CC, the preamble briefly refers to digger derricks used in operations and maintenance as opposed to digger derricks covered under Subpart CC.

(Preamble 47923) OSHA is promulgating paragraph (a) as proposed except for a grammatical correction to clarify that the standard applies to only equipment used for construction activities. Employers who use covered equipment for both general industry work and construction work would not be required to comply with Subpart CC when the equipment is used for general industry work and not construction work.

As such, cranes of any size, used in maintenance and operations as opposed to new construction should be exempt from coverage in Subpart CC. Crane operations in construction are covered in subpart V or 1926 and parts of 1910.269. Forthcoming publication of revisions to 1910.269 is expected in February of 2011.

Ground Conditions 1926.1402 (P.48140)
The intent of this rule is to establish criteria for assuring that the earth will sufficiently support a loaded crane. Since no language excepting digger derricks or utilities is found, there are certain obligations that must be met. The rule was meant to apply to construction sites and largely centers on who is most likely to know if there are underground conditions that might destabilize a crane. The rule establishes the responsibilities of “controlling entities” in providing ground condition information to a crane operator.

Where no controlling entity is available, such as where a line crew is lifting in a right of way, the employer must ensure the ability of the ground to support the crane load. The ground considerations include slope, compaction and firmness.

The preamble discussion (p.47932) regarding Ground Conditions specifically includes digger derrick operations within the Ground Conditions standard even though digger derricks are considered exempt from the Final Rule. The inclusion of digger derricks may be assumed to apply to digger derricks operating under the Final Rule, such as when setting equipment in a substation, but the discussion does not address the exemption.

Preamble p. 47932 paragraph A definitions discusses the conclusions regarding establishing good ground conditions and specifically rejects the need for any specifications including compaction tests as a means to establish good ground conditions. 

Operating Near Power Lines 1926.1407-1408 (P.48142)
The standard for utility workers working near power lines is still regulated under 1910.269 or 1926 subpart V when performing work necessarily within the minimum approach distance. That exclusion does not apply when utility crews are doing new construction in an existing substation. When work is not being performed on the poles, structures or power lines the work safety procedures are regulated under Subpart CC. The Final Rule establishes a trigger distance of 20 feet at 350 kv and a trigger distance of 50 feet above 350 kv. The trigger distance requires new rules for safety of workers including a mandate for an electronic approach warning, encroachment alarms, visible barricades or a dedicated spotter (rule 1926.1407(b)(3)) whose sole responsibility is to observe for clearances.

Dedicated Spotters (P.48144)
The power line safety rules in 1926.1410 include the use of a dedicated spotter under some conditions. Other requirements in 1410 have specific exclusions for work under subpart V of 1926 but no such language is present in the requirements for spotters. Where a spotter is used, they must have certain qualifications (preamble p.47948). A dedicated spotter must be a qualified signal person under 1926.1428.

Assembly/Disassembly Director (p.47938)
The final rule in 1926.1414 establishes a new classification of AD or Assembly Director. It’s obvious by a reading of the section that the target of the rule is the assembly of lattice cranes, tower cranes and the like. Rule 1404 applies to all assembly/disassembly of cranes, referring to any assembly that extends the reach of a boom. Any assembly/disassembly of a boom requires an A/D Director. The intent is to ensure a competent/qualified person is on the site that can direct the assembly of crane components properly and safely. OSHA classifies the person installing the jib as a “rigger,” but that person can also be the AD Director.

Training for Persons Exposed to Electrical Contact Through a Crane 1926.1408(G), (P.47958)
This training would be required for any new employee who is not aware of the hazards presented by a crane near power lines. There is no exception provided for utilities. Substantial language for training of crane workers who may be exposed to electrocution hazards around energized lines are specified in rule 1926.1408. Included in the training criteria are hazards of step and touch potentials, insulating procedures, prevention procedures and the limitations of insulating procedures and grounding procedures as well as avoiding contact with equipment that may become energized in a contact.

Power Line Safety (All Voltages)
Equipment Operations Closer Than the Table A Zone 1926.1410 (P.48144)
When work must take place within the minimum approach distances, 1410 establishes mandatory requirements for the safety of the crew. For utilities the rule allows exceptions if the operation falls under 1910.269 or subpart V of part 1926.

Insulating Links (P.48144)
An insulating link/device installed at a point between the end of the load line (or below) and the load. For utility work falling under Subpart V (p.48145) an insulating link is only required if the clearance will be less than the clearances in Table V-1. Similar exceptions are allowed under 1910.269.

1926.1412 Inspections (P.48146)
The standard contains criteria for daily, monthly and annual inspections. Documentation must be maintained for three months for monthly inspections and for 12 months for annual inspections. Since digger derricks used by a utility for other than setting or working poles brings the digger derrick under the crane standard, the inspection frequency and documentation requirements will apply.

Signal Person 1926.1414-1422 (P.48030)
Signal persons must be trained to a criteria established in the Final Rule. The training can be either third party or employer. Employer provided training is not portable. Documentation of signal person training must be available at the work site. In the case of line crews, the signal persons should have the employer’s certification with them.

Uniform standards for signals are established. The appendix includes a table of hand signals. In the past these were recommended. The Final Rule makes these signals mandatory as an industry-wide uniform system of signals. There are provisions for alternate signals that include criteria for using alternate signals and a pre-plan protocol before alternate signals are used.

Training Riggers 1926.1403 (P.47942)
A worker who swings out a jib is recognized by OSHA as a “rigger.” There is no requirement for certification of riggers beyond the requirement that they be competent and qualified to perform the task. The duty of a rigger is assembly and disassembly of cranes and assembly of parts that extend a crane’s reach, such as swing out or pin-on jibs and the associated work. Under the standard this includes reeving of wire rope in multi-sheave blocks, installing pins, headache balls, connectors and the like. The mention of “slings” used by riggers refers to the slings used to move boom sections and appurtenances into place for installation. There is no mention of riggers doing connections below the hook. References to slings, rigging and connecting loads below the hook are reserved for the discussions of operator qualification.

The preamble discusses training and qualification of riggers, but OSHA declined to establish any standard other than “qualified” as the criteria for riggers. The employer is responsible for assuring a rigger is qualified.

Hoisting Personnel (P.48035)
Under 1926.1431 crane-suspended or crane-mounted platforms are intentionally limited in their use. There are also expanded inspection, trial lift and proof test requirements prior to each lift of personnel. OSHA has determined that crane-suspended platforms and crane-mounted platforms are equally hazardous and has not allowed any exceptions to the Trial Lift or Proof Test (p.48039) requirements of the standard. With the exception of working near energized lines, the section allows no exceptions for power line work.

Fall Protection 1926.1423 (P.48154)
1926.1423(c) regarding steps, handholds, ladders, grabrails, guardrails and railings (preamble p.48002) requires that manufacturers’ installed components be maintained in good condition. Walking surfaces must be slip resistant. Units manufactured after November 8, 2011 must have safe access from ground to operator station. Expanded fall arrest requirements are in the Final Rule for lattice boom assembly/disassembly and tower cranes. Currently a worker traversing a crane to get to the operator’s seat is not required to use fall protection. There are no expanded fall arrest requirements in the standard that would affect utility operations.

Mechanics Operating Booms 1926.1429 (P.48031)
Maintenance personnel who are mechanics qualified to work on cranes may operate the equipment for the purposes of maintenance, repair and inspection. If mechanics use a crane in the performance of mechanical work, such as using a crane to lift a boom off of a crane, they would be required, as a minimum, to be qualified as a crane operator to the 1926.1427(j) criteria. 

In Conclusion
The standard becomes effective November 8, 2010. Prior to that time utilities and utility contractors must be sure their employees know the new requirements and language of Subpart CC so they can answer the pertinent questions they will be asked by CHSOs who show up on their work sites. Employers must bring their operators up to the operator “competency” requirements of 1926.1427(j) and must certify anyone who signals a crane or digger derrick operator to the signal person standards.  Employers must also ensure safety training for all persons who may come into contact with a crane or digger derrick working near power lines and must bring their pin-on crane basket operations into the pre-lift testing requirements of Subpart CC.  By 2014 employers must have their third party training or third party auditing of their employer training for operators in place.

Continue to watch iP for information on Subpart CC as we work to be one of your best resources for workplace safety information.