Augering into the Digger Derrick Exemption

Auger TimeLine02October  2010, Edison Electrical Institute (EEI) provided to OSHA clarification of digger derrick work in the electric-utility industry. EEI explained that when a digger derrick is used to install a pole, it is typical that the same digger derrick is used to install pad-mount transformers as part of the same power system as the poles. The Cranes and Derricks Standard was written to exclude the pole work but not the pad-mounted transformer installation. This would require digger derrick operators to obtain certification if using the digger derrick when installing pad-mounted transformers.

After review of EEI’s documentation, OSHA broadened the digger derrick exemption in November 2012 by publishing the direct final rule and a companion proposed rule. Only one comment was received and OSHA determined it to be a “significant adverse comment” and issued a withdrawl of the broadened exemption in Feb. 2013.

The commenter was concerned that the proposed rule exempted riggers and signalperson from working with digger derricks, therefore decreasing worker safety. After further investigation OSHA agreed that the commenter did not provide adequate information. The commenter noted 7 incidents where they believed having riggers and signalpersons present would have prevented the incidents. OSHA determined that the incidents did not relate to pad-mounted transformer installation and therefore issued the purposed rule in June 2013.


Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Revising the Exemption for Digger Derricks


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