Skip to Main Content

This information is provided free of charge by the Department of Industrial Relations from its web site at These regulations are for the convenience of the user and no representation or warranty is made that the information is current or accurate. See full disclaimer at
Subchapter 4. Construction Safety Orders
Article 15. Cranes and Derricks in Construction
Return to index
New query

§1616.1. Operation.

(a) The employer shall comply with all manufacturer procedures applicable to the operational functions of equipment, including its use with attachments.

(b) Unavailable operation procedures.

(1) Where the manufacturer procedures are unavailable, the employer shall develop and ensure compliance with all procedures necessary for the safe operation of the equipment and attachments.

(2) Procedures for the operational controls shall be developed by a certified agent.

(3) Procedures related to the capacity of the equipment shall be developed and signed by a certified agent.

(c) Each crane shall be provided with a descriptive booklet, written in English, containing a comprehensive summary of design characteristics, erection procedures, operation techniques, repair recommendations, and safety precautions. This booklet shall be available on in the cab at all times for use by the operator.

(1) A durable, clearly legible load rating chart shall be provided with each crane and securely affixed in the cab or operator's station easily visible to the operator while at the controls. The chart shall include load ratings and restrictions as specified by the certified agent for specific lengths of components, counterweights, swing, and radii. Where load ratings for cranes are governed by structural competence, the limitation on loading shall be such that no structural member is overstressed, and load rating charts shall be subject to this limitation.

(2) Where rated capacities are available in the cab only in electronic form: In the event of a failure which makes the rated capacities inaccessible, the operator shall immediately cease operations or follow safe shut-down procedures until the rated capacities (in electronic or other form) are available.

(d) The operator shall not engage in any practice or activity that diverts his/her attention while actually engaged in operating the equipment, such as the use of cellular phones (other than when used for signal communications).

(e) Before leaving the crane unattended, the operator shall be required to:

(1) Land or properly secure any attached load, bucket, lifting magnet, or other device;

(2) Disengage clutch;

(3) Set travel, swing, boom brakes, and other locking devices unless otherwise specified by the certified agents;

(4) Put controls in the “off” position;

(5) Stop the engine or motor;

(6) Secure crane against accidental travel.

(f) Holding the Load.

(1) When a load of any kind is to be suspended for any considerable time, the drum holding mechanism shall be used in addition to the brake which shall also be applied.

(2) Cranes, hoists, or derricks shall not be left unattended while the load is suspended unless the load is suspended over water, a barricaded area, or is blocked up or otherwise supported from below during repairs or emergency.

(g) Tag-out.

(1) Tagging out of service equipment/functions. Where the employer has taken the equipment out of service, a tag shall be placed in the cab stating that the equipment is out of service and is not to be used. Where the employer has taken a function(s) out of service, a tag shall be placed in a conspicuous position stating that the function is out of service and is not to be used.

(2) Response to “do not operate”/tagout signs.

(A) If there is a warning (tag-out or maintenance/do not operate) sign on the equipment or starting control, the operator shall not activate the switch or start the equipment until the sign has been removed by a person authorized to remove it in accordance with the provisions of General Industry Safety Orders, Section 3314.

(B) If there is a warning (tag-out or maintenance/do not operate) sign on any other switch or control, the operator shall not activate that switch or control until the sign has been removed by a person authorized to remove it in accordance with the provisions of General Industry Safety Orders, Section 3314.

(h) Before starting the engine, the operator must verify that all controls are in the proper starting position and that all personnel are in the clear.

(i) Storm warning. When a local storm warning has been issued, the competent person shall determine whether it is necessary to implement manufacturer recommendations for securing the equipment.

(j) If equipment adjustments or repairs are necessary:

(1) The operator shall, in writing, promptly inform the person designated by the employer to receive such information and, where there are successive shifts, to the next operator; and

(2) The employer shall notify all affected employees, at the beginning of each shift, of the necessary adjustments or repairs and all alternative measures.

(k) Safety devices and operational aids shall not be used as a substitute for the exercise of professional judgment by the operator.

(l) If a qualified person determines that there is a slack rope condition requiring re-spooling of the rope, it must be verified (before starting to lift) that the rope is seated on the drum and in the sheaves as the slack is removed.

(m) The competent person shall adjust the equipment and/or operations to address the effect of wind, ice, and snow on equipment stability and rated capacity.

(n) Compliance with rated capacity.

(1) The equipment shall not be operated in excess of its rated capacity.

(2) The operator shall not be required to operate the equipment in a manner that would violate subsection (n)(1) of this section.

(3) Load weight. A crane, derrick, or hoist shall not be loaded beyond the rated capacity or safe working load whichever is smaller, except for test purposes. In all operations where the weight of the load being handled is unknown and may approach the rated capacity, there shall be a qualified person (rigger) assigned to determine the magnitude of the load, unless the crane or derrick is equipped with a load weighing device. The operator shall not make any lift under these conditions until informed of such weight by the qualified person (rigger) assigned to that operation.

(o) During lifting operations, the load, boom, or other parts of the equipment shall not contact any obstruction in a way which could cause falling material or damage to the boom.

(p) Side Loading. Side loading of booms shall be limited to freely suspended loads, and booms shall not be used for dragging loads sideways unless the boom is specifically designed and constructed to withstand such side loading.

(q) On wheel-mounted equipment, no loads shall be lifted over the front area, except as permitted by the manufacturer.

(r) The operator shall test the brakes each time a load that is 90% or more of the maximum line pull is handled by lifting the load a few inches and applying the brakes. In duty cycle and repetitive lifts where each lift is 90% or more of the maximum line pull, this requirement applies to the first lift but not to successive lifts.

(s) The load or the boom shall not be lowered below the point where less than two full wraps of rope remain on grooved drums and three full wraps on ungrooved drums.

(t) Travel.

(1) The travel of cranes or boom-type excavators shall be controlled so as to avoid collision with persons, material, and equipment. The cabs of units (of the revolving type) traveling under their own power shall be turned so as to provide the least obstruction to the operator's vision in the direction of travel, unless receiving signals from someone with an unobstructed view.

(2) In transit, the following additional precautions for mobile cranes shall be exercised:

(A) The boom shall be carried in line with the direction of motion and the superstructure shall be secured against rotation, except when negotiating turns when there is an operator in the cab, or when the boom is supported on a dolly.

(B) The empty hook, headache ball, or block shall be lashed or otherwise restrained so that it cannot swing freely.

(3) Traveling with a load is prohibited if the practice is prohibited by the manufacturer.

(4) Where traveling with a load, the employer shall ensure that:

(A) A competent person supervises the operation, determines if it is necessary to reduce rated capacity, and makes determinations regarding load position, boom location, ground support, travel route, overhead obstructions, and speed of movement necessary to ensure safety.

(B) For equipment with tires, tire pressure specified by the manufacturer is maintained.

(u) Swing. When rotating the crane, sudden stops shall be avoided. Rotational speed shall be such that the load does not swing out beyond the radius at which it can be safely controlled.

(v) A tag or restraint line shall be used if necessary to prevent rotation of the load that would be hazardous.

(w) The brakes shall be adjusted in accordance with manufacturer procedures to prevent unintended movement.

(x) The qualified person (rigger) shall be trained and capable of safely performing the rigging operation. All loads shall be rigged by a qualified person (rigger) or by a trainee under the direct visual supervision of a qualified person (rigger).

(y) Swinging locomotive cranes. A locomotive crane must not be swung into a position where railway cars on an adjacent track could strike it, until it is determined that cars are not being moved on the adjacent track and that proper flag protection has been established.

(z) Counterweight/ballast.

(aa) The use, care and maintenance of slings shall be in accordance with General Industry Safety Orders, Group 13, Article 101.

(1) The following applies to equipment other than tower cranes:

(A) Equipment shall not be operated without the counterweight or ballast in place as specified by the manufacturer.

(B) The maximum counterweight or ballast specified by the manufacturer for the equipment shall not be exceeded.

(2) Counterweight/ballast requirements for tower cranes are specified in Section 1619.1(b)(8).

Note: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.


1. New section filed 7-7-2011; operative 7-7-2011. Exempt from OAL review pursuant to Labor Code section 142.3(a)(3) (Register 2011, No. 27).

2. Amendment of subsection (o), repealer and new subsection (x) and new subsection (aa) filed 10-2-2012; operative 11-1-2012 (Register 2012, No. 40).

Go BackGo Back to Article 15 Table of Contents