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De-rating of mobile cranes capable of raising, lowering, or moving materials that weigh more than 16,000 lbs

  • Issued: January 18, 2016
  • Content last reviewed: January 2016

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

As mobile cranes age, they may reach a point where their useful life may be extended by making physical modifications to permanently reduce their lifting capacity. In this case the Ministry of Labour (MOL) will accept a crane’s de-rating subject to the conditions listed below.

However, the MOL will not accept de-rating of cranes for the purposes of using a less qualified operator, which does not involve physical alteration of the equipment or which involves changes that can be easily reversed when determining the weight that a crane is “capable of raising, lowering or moving” under section 150 of the Construction Projects Regulation (O. Reg. 213/91).

Construction Program enforcement with respect to mobile cranes de-rating

De-rating of a mobile crane must comply with the following regulatory requirements:

  1. The new rated load-carrying capacity must be accompanied by documentation provided by the manufacturer or by a professional engineer confirming that the de-rated capacity has been determined in accordance with CSA Standard Z150-1974, as required by subsection 151(2) of the Construction Projects Regulation.
  2. The original load-rating chart must be removed and a new chart corresponding to the reduced rated capacity must be developed and installed on the equipment, in accordance with subsection 151(3) of the Construction Projects Regulation.
  3. When determining the weight that the crane is “capable of raising, lowering or moving” for the purposes of enforcing section 150 of the Construction Projects Regulation, the MOL will consider the crane to be “capable” of lifting its original rated load-carrying capacity unless there has been physical alteration to the equipment so that the de-rated crane does not have an excessive capacity (after applying appropriate safety factors), in any configuration to lift a load over the de-rated capacity. This applies to both weight and reach.

NOTE: If the operator is capable of returning the crane to its original capacity, then the de-rating will not be accepted by the MOL for the purposes of determining the weight that the crane is “capable of raising, lowering or moving” under section 150.

Inspectors may issue an order under section 150 or other relevant sections of the Construction Projects Regulation to the workplace parties if there is a contravention concerning the qualifications of the crane operator or the unsafe operation of the crane.

Inspectors may use their power under clause 54(1)(f) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to require the employer to confirm by way of a report by a professional engineer or crane manufacturer the actual load-carrying capacity of a crane for the purposes of enforcing subsection 151(2) of the Construction Projects Regulation and accordingly considering the new de-rated crane capacity.

Where requirements are issued under clause 54(1)(f) of the OHSA, a “stop use” requirement under clause 54(1)(i) should also be considered.

Under subsection 150(1) of the Construction Projects Regulation, the operator of a mobile crane capable of raising, lowering, or moving any material that weighs more than 16,000 lbs or a tower crane of any capacity must be certified by the Ontario College of Trades or be a registered apprentice in the relevant “Hoisting Engineer” trade. The Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009 requires that individuals engaging in the practice of a compulsory trade have the training and certification required to legally practice this trade in Ontario. The “Hoisting Engineer” trades (Hoisting Engineer – Mobile Crane Operator 1; Hoisting Engineer – Mobile Crane Operator 2; and Hoisting Engineer – Tower Crane Operator) are compulsory trades in Ontario which apply to operators of mobile cranes capable of raising, lowering, or moving materials that weigh more than 16,000 lbs and to operators of tower cranes, regardless of the tower crane’s capacity.

The Ministry of Labour enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations, which set legal requirements for employers to ensure the protection of workers.

Background information and legal requirements

Employers have a duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, clause 25(1)(c) to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace. This includes compliance with the training and certification of crane operators as required by section 150 of the Construction Projects Regulation. Clause 25(2)(a) requires the employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker. Clause 25(2)(h) requires the employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.

  • Section 150 of O. Reg. 213/91 prohibits the operation of a mobile crane capable of raising, lowering or moving material that weighs more than 16,000 pounds, unless the operator holds a certificate of qualification issued under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009,that is not suspended, or the worker is an apprentice and is working pursuant to a training agreement registered under that act, that is not suspended, in the applicable “Hoisting Engineer” trade.
  • De-rating a mobile crane to a capacity less than 16,000 pounds would allow its operation by an operator who does not hold a certificate of qualification issued under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009. The operator also does not need to be an apprentice working pursuant to a training agreement registered under that act. Under subsection 150(2) of the Construction Projects Regulation, the operator would only need written proof of training indicating that he or she is trained in the safe operation of the crane with a capacity of less than 16,000 pounds, or be instructed and accompanied by a person who has that written proof of training.

Excerpts of some regulatory requirements under the OHSA

Section 150 of O. Reg. 213/91 states:

  • (1) Subject to subsection (2), no worker shall operate a crane or similar hoisting device unless the worker holds a certificate of qualification issued under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009, that is not suspended, or the worker is an apprentice and is working pursuant to a training agreement registered under that Act, that is not suspended, in the trade of,
    • (a) hoisting engineer — mobile crane operator 1, if the worker is operating a crane or similar hoisting device capable of raising, lowering or moving any material that weighs more than 30,000 pounds;
    • (b) hoisting engineer — mobile crane operator 1 or hoisting engineer — mobile crane operator 2, if the worker is operating a crane or similar hoisting device capable of raising, lowering or moving only material that weighs more than 16,000 pounds but no more than 30,000 pounds; or
    • (c) hoisting engineer — tower crane operator, if the worker is operating a tower crane.
  • (1.1) Subsection (1) does not apply when a worker is using excavation equipment to place pipes into a trench. O. Reg. 631/94, s. 3.
  • (2) No worker shall operate a crane or similar hoisting device, other than one described in subsection (1), unless,
    • (a) the worker has written proof of training indicating that he or she is trained in the safe operation of the crane or similar hoisting device; or
    • (b) the worker is being instructed in the operation of the crane or similar hoisting device and is accompanied by a person who meets the requirements of clause (a). O. Reg 213/91, s. 150 (2).
  • (3) A worker shall carry his or her proof of training while operating a crane or similar hoisting device. O. Reg. 213/91, s. 150 (3).

Subsection 151(2) of O. Reg 213/91 states:

  • (2) The manufacturer of a crane or similar hoisting device or a professional engineer shall determine its rated load-carrying capacity in accordance with,
    • (a) for a mobile crane, Canadian Standards Association Standard Z150-1974 Safety Code for Mobile Cranes; and
    • (b) for a tower crane, Canadian Standards Association Standard Z248-1976 Code for Tower Cranes. O. Reg 213/91, s. 151 (2).

Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.