OSHA’s New Crane Regulations

OSHA’s New Crane Regulations

Confused about OSHA’s proposed crane regulations change to mobile crane operator certification requirements?

 OSHA’s proposed changes at a glance: First and foremost, the change in law has been postponed—at least until November 2017 (see OSHA’s official bulletin below). Second, it concerns cranes and derricks in construction only. Third, the crane operator certification is only comprised of a written exam and a practical exam which prove competency. It does not mean operators do not have to be trained. Outside of the additional exams, according to OSHA, the employer still has the responsibility to see that his crane operators have received mobile crane training specific to the job and the type of crane they will be operating. And if a mobile crane operator is observed operating a mobile crane in an unsafe manner, involved in a near miss or accident, or assigned to operate a different type of crane or if work conditions have changed significantly, they will still need refresher training.

I received boom truck training at a different job. Do I need to be trained again by my new employer? Is my boom truck training portable? And what about the NCCCO certification?

This is a common question, especially among laborers-for-hire who may sub out from job to job. Technically, it is your current employer who is responsible for saying whether or not you have been trained specifically for the type of mobile crane and job.

Having said that, OSHA is considering enacting a law that would require every mobile crane operator to pass a set of additional mobile crane exams before being considered mobile crane certified. For now, this requirement has been postponed until November at 2107, and maybe longer. There are some organizations that still offer these written and practical exams and, yes, if you pass them, they are portable, meaning they are recognized across the country. It is wise to work toward passing these exams now, rather than waiting until OSHA makes the law official. It will, eventually, become law. However, the new crane regulations simply prove you were competent enough to have passed the exam.

As noted, it is still the responsibility of your employer to see you receive training. Many employers may simply accept your card, but if you bring a boom truck certificate or wallet card to your new employer, they can still require you to take their own training class. This is because if an accident were to occur they would still need to prove training. Just telling OSHA that and operator had a mobile crane certification card will not suffice, nor will it undo the accident.

Can you explain mobile crane certification? Who can train, evaluate, and certify operators?

This, above all, causes a lot of confusion. Bottom line, OSHA states that employers are responsible to train their employees. Generally speaking, there are three ways they can do this:

  • Train employees in-house with their own program
  • Hire a 3rd party to train the employees (on-site or off-site)
  • Use another company’s materials or online classes to train employees

In terms of using a 3rd part of a safety training companies materials (like our boom truck training kits on CD or our boom truck online training class) OSHA does not recognize one company over another. They simply state that ‘training needs to occur’ and ‘here are the things a mobile crane operator should be trained on.

When we do live training or offer boom truck training online, people often assume we are the ones certifying the trainees. This is not true for any training company. We are simply assisting the employer by providing live boom truck training or the boom truck training materials needed to help them boom truck certify their employees.

Regarding OSHA’s proposed change to crane operator certification in construction, when this law goes into effect, there will be certain organizations that have been approved for the sole purpose of proctoring these exams.  As mentioned earlier, though, this OSHA law has been delayed at least until November 2017, and even if the law passes, crane operators in construction will still need to receive traditional operator safety training outside of the additional exams.

OSHA Bulletin: Cranes and Derricks in Construction – Crane Operator Certification:

Here is a link to the official announcement regarding the extension of this rule:

And here is the bulletin itself:

OSHA extends compliance date for crane operator certification requirements

United States Department of Labor sent this bulletin at 09/25/2014 02:34 PM EDT

 WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a final rule extending the deadline for crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction final rule published Aug. 9, 2010 by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The rule also extends by three years the employer’s responsibility to ensure that crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely. The final rule becomes effective Nov. 9, 2014.During the three-year period, OSHA will address operator qualification requirements for the cranes standards including the role of operator certification. The final cranes and derricks rule required crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014. After publishing the final rule, a number of parties raised concerns about the Standard’s requirement to certify operators by type and capacity of crane and questioned whether crane operator certification was sufficient for determining whether an operator could operate their equipment safely on a construction site.The agency published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Feb. 12, 2014, proposing to extend both the deadline for operator certification and the employer duty to ensure competent crane operation for three years. After publishing the proposed rule, a hearing was requested and held in Washington, D.C. Comments from the hearing are available here. OSHA analyzed the comments to the NPRM and the hearing testimony and decided to extend both the crane operator certification deadline and the existing employer duty for three years. OSHA has already begun the process of developing a standard to ensure crane operator qualifications. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit osha.