#54 Permits

In general, permits are required by Cal/OSHA for certain construction operations where hazardous conditions may exist – for cranes with a rated capacity of over three tons, fixed and mobile tower cranes, helicopter operations in building and construction, elevators and man-lifts, and users of regulated carcinogens. OSHA requires that appropriate permits be filed before work begins. A permit authorizes work under special conditions or in a particular area. Permits are intended to ensure employee safety by reducing the chance of accidents and injuries. Some permits are OK for a period of time on different jobsites.


Permits issued by Cal/OSHA are required for the following construction activities – §341(a):

  1. Trenching or excavating operations that are 5 feet or more in depth into which a person is required to descend
  2. Constructing and demolishing buildings, structures, scaffolding (except suspended scaffolding), or false-work more than three stories high or of equivalent height (36 feet)
  3. Erecting, climbing (jumping), and dismantling tower cranes
  4. Operating diesel engines in tunnels
  5. Operating specified air compressors
  6. Operating tower cranes if the employer is subject to §341 regulations – §341.1, §344.70


Prior to starting one of these kinds of hazardous operations, you should review he completed permit as it is a checklist which assures that unsafe conditions are recognized, and abated or controlled, before work begins. A permit will identify the specific task to be completed, who’s in charge, what equipment will be involved, the locations of locks, breakers, valves, and shutoffs. Further, any special conditions will be noted as well as what personal protective equipment is required, and the type and location of fire or other emergency equipment. There is also a place for your employer, supervisor, or safety administrator to sign off.