Rough Terrain Crane Training
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Rough Terrain Crane Frequently Asked Questions
How often do I need RT Crane training (rough terrain crane)?
OSHA requires rough terrain crane training for rough terrain crane operators–on that there is no question. Where confusion exists is how often operators need rough terrain crane refresher training or recertification. Outside of the initial safety training class, it is common to see companies set recertification at every three years. We are one of them. And here’s why:
As far as this 3-year rough terrain crane training certification goes, OSHA regulations are very specific when it comes to forklifts and a couple other pieces of equipment. However, on everything else they are not so clear. They just state the employer must regularly provide safety training for their aerial lift operators. Following industry best practices, we’ve adopted this 3-year term in order to help employers comply with the general standard of regularly providing and provingrough terrain crane training. Ultimately, it is up to the employer to determine how frequently their rough terrain crane operators need to be trained. Many of our customers require it more often, annually even. Others may stretch it out a bit. In working with OSHA, though, it is our experience that they like to see employers adopt the strictest standard when the regulations are not clear. For instance, we know of companies that didn’t train every three years and were reprimanded by OSHA for not offering additional training more often. It is not uncommon for OSHA to refer to the forklift standard as the pattern by which training should be carried out for other pieces of equipment. On a side note, OSHA is slowly but surely making training requirements specific for other pieces of equipment so there are no gray areas. Mobile cranes and aerial lifts, for instance, are all undergoing potential changes to the regulations that will reference training specifically.
So, with that in mind, we say rough terrain crane operators must be re-evaluated every three years to determine if they are still competent enough to operate. We also state that this every-three-year rough terrain crane evaluation is the maximum time that should be allowed to pass before an operator receives rough terrain crane recertification. According to OSHA, there are several instances that will require additional rough terrain crane training and observation before the three year period is up:
- Rough terrain crane operator is observed in an accident or a near miss
- Rough terrain crane operator received a poor evaluation or is observed driving in a dangerous manner
- The rough terrain crane operator is assigned to drive a different type of rough terrain crane or the workplace has changed significantly enough to require additional rough terrain crane training (such as being transferred from operating a rough terrain crane used to hoist signs to a rough terrain crane used for trimming trees).
I’ve received RT Crane training. Can I operate a knuckle boom crane?
Not necessarily. OSHA requires mobile crane operators to receive mobile crane training for each type of mobile crane. On this term, “type,” there is much confusion. Generally speaking, by “type” OSHA means stiff boom truck vs. articulated boom crane vs. AT Crane vs. Lattice boom crane, etc. For example, say you have always operated a knuckle boom truck to lift drywall but have suddenly been asked to operate a RT Crane to hoist steel beams into place. In this case, you would need additional mobile crane training specific to stiff RT Crane cranes.
If you have received RT Crane training on a construction site and have always operated a Grove RT Crane, but then are asked to operate a Terex rough terrain Crane, you should be just fine to operate under the same training certification received previously. Keep in mind though, controls can differ greatly from brand to brand, so in some cases you may need additional instruction or a quick refresher training to make sure you are clear on what each RT Crane control does.
I’ve operated RT Cranes for 20 years. Do I need to take a class, a written exam, and a practical exam still? Can I just take a written test?
No matter how long you’ve been on the job, OSHA requires RT Crane training, a RT Crane written exam, and a practical RT Crane evaluation. There is no way around it. This goes for other types of mobile cranes too. The extent of the classroom RT Crane training can be adapted by the instructor according to student needs. The written exam proves mental competency and understanding of the safety principles taught. And the practical evaluation proves the RT Crane operator not only understands but is capable of operating the machine safely. In the opinion of many, the practical evaluation is of the greatest overall value, but all components are necessary.
I received RT Crane training at a different job. Do I need to be trained again by my new employer? Is my RT Crane 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. If you bring a RT Crane certificate or wallet card to your new employer, they do not have to accept it. It is their right to require you to take their own training class. This is because if there is an accident, they will likely be responsible and need to prove to OSHA that they trained you on RT Crane operations.
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 (NCCER, NCCCO, CIC) that still offer these written and practical exams and, yes, if you pass them, they are portable, recognized across the country. There are also some states that require it now. However, they simply prove you have passed the exam. It is still the responsibility of the employer to see you receive training. Many employers may simply accept your card, but 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 RT 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 RT Crane training kits on CD or our RT Crane 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 RT Crane 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 RT Crane training or the RT Crane training materials needed to help them RT Crane certify their employees.
As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of confusion surrounding OSHA’s proposal to enact a law requiring RT Crane operators to pass a RT Crane written exam and a RT Crane practical exam to be RT Crane certified. This proposal is not in effect. It has been delayed at least until November 2017. But even if the law passes, RT Crane operators will still need to receive traditional operator safety training outside of the additional exams.
Do I need to receive rigger signal person training too?
Yes. Like mobile crane certification, there is a lot of confusion about rigger signaler certification. Bottom line, you need to receive rigger training and signaler training before handling rigging in any manner. There are organizations that offer federal certification which is portable, meaning if you leave one job for another your rigging card will be accepted. However, these more expensive classes are not required. The responsibility to see everyone receives rigger signalperson training falls on the shoulders of the employer. They can train their employees in one of three ways: by themselves in-house, using a 3rd party such as ourselves, or by using another’s rigger training materials such as ours.
The RT Crane PowerPoint presentation in our RT Crane training kit on CD and our online RT Crane training classes cover rigging, but we also have made our specific rigger signalman training materials available on CD. They come with both a basic rigger class and an intermediate/advanced rigger class. They also have a signaler class.
How do I take the RT Crane practical evaluation if I take RT Crane training online?
The online RT Crane training class covers OSHA’s requirements for the classroom portion. Many employers prefer online training because they know exactly what mobile crane training the operator will receive. In live classes, the training sometimes varies. A written exam is included at the end of our online training courses. After the RT Crane class and exam are finished, you and your safety managers will have immediate access to a practical evaluation checklist. This can be printed off and used by your supervisor to help him or her evaluate you on the mobile crane. When done, they can sign it and file it with your exam. This will satisfy OSHA’s requirements for RT Crane certification.
My trainee scored 80% on the exam. Did he pass or fail?
Contrary to popular belief, OSHA does not dictate what a passing score entails. That is ultimately up to the employer whose responsibility it is to certify, or authorize, their employee to operate a RT Crane. If you want to pass him at 80%, fine. But what if a question or two among the 20% missed could lead to an accident or death? Is it worth it? Our recommendation is that you always go over any missed questions with your trainees—even if they just missed one. Once they understand the principle missed, have them write their initials by the correct answer. That way, you are protecting them and those around them from potential accidents in the future.