OSHA Issues Final Rule Regarding Crane Operator Certification Requirements

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule setting November 10, 2018, as the date for employers in the construction industries to comply with a requirement for crane operator certification.

According to the Trade Release published on November 7, 2018, the final FINAL RULE changed some key items, specifically some important dates.

(If you want to skip the preamble and get right to the regulatory info head to page 184.)

A quick summary of the changes in the requirements is below:

  • Certification is still required; but “Rated Operating Capacity” (ROC) is out. Certification by capacity is no longer be part of the certification process.  Crane operators still have to be certified by type of crane (i.e. Lattice Boom Crawler, Swing Cab Telescopic), but, according to the new rule, they won’t be limited to what cranes they can operate by their lifting capacity. From now on, that will all be in the hands of their employers.
    • Certification of Crane Operators – effective date December 9, 2018
    • Jordan Foster Construction has already implemented the requirement for all of our Crane Operators to be certified, so this ruling has no affect on our current policies in this regard.
  • Employers have a duty to ensure that each operator is qualified and competent to operate whatever crane that operator operates. Rather than relying on a machine’s rated operating capacity as a measure of skill delivered through standardized testing, OSHA has placed the onus of determining an operator’s competency squarely on his or her employer. Thus, in addition to having certified operators, OSHA’s final rule requires employers to “continue to evaluate the operating competency of potential operators and provide training beyond that which is merely sufficient for those individuals to obtain certifications.” OSHA’s guidelines as to “how to qualify” an individual as competent remains to be seen.
    • Evaluation and Documentation – effective date February 7, 2019
    • Jordan Foster Construction is in the process of finalizing our Evaluation and Documentation Procedures for Crane Operators.

Additionally, it should be noted that there were no substantive changes to the existing exemptions (regarding operator training, certification and evaluation) for derricks, side-boom cranes, or equipment with a maximum manufacturer-rated hoisting/lifting capacity of 2,000 pounds or less from the training supervision requirements

According to OSHA, there are currently a limited number of OSHA recognized testing and certification programs.

Below are the OSHA Recognized Crane testing organizations:

  • “Crane Institute Certification”.
  • “NCCER”.
  • “National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators”.
  • “International Union of Operating Engineers”.
  • “Operating Engineers Certification Program”.

Some of these organizations list companies that will train crane operators in preparation to take the exam. In many cases, contacting each of the organizations above may provide more information as to local training providers in your area.

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