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Rough Terrain Mobile Crane Training & Certification

Hard Hat Training courses meet all training requirements set by OSHA and CSA.


We Offer Three Types of Rough Terrain Crane Safety Trainings

Our regulation-aligned Rough Terrain Crane certification courses are updated to reflect the most recent changes made to safety standards. Whether you want a certification in as little as two hours, or a more robust training, we can help! We offer online trainings that can be completed in a day, DIY training kits that provide training materials, Train the Trainer certifications that certify individuals to train others and provide training materials, or onsite training. No matter what you choose, we can get you what you want, at a price you can afford.

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Online Training

Online training is for those who prefer self-paced training from any location and/or for employers who need to assign and monitor employee training progress and exam scores.

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Training Kits

The training kit is for those who want the freedom of doing the training themselves. It is an PowerPoint Presentation (PPT) that you can present yourself to a group of trainees.

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Train the Trainer

Train the Trainer courses are online and meant to certify a individual to use the training kit to train others. Training kit and materials are included with the Train the Trainer online course for no additional cost.

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What’s in the Rough Terrain (RT) Crane Training Course?

Our Rough Terrain Crane safety training course is OSHA Aligned, and our online version fulfills OSHA’s classroom training requirement.

Training Scope: Each class contains the following information:

  • Anatomy
    • Interior Inspections
    • Exterior Inspections
  • Stability
  • Principles
  • Safe Operations
    • Know Yourself
    • Know Your Machine
    • Know Your Worksite

This presentation includes intermittent practice quiz questions to prepare for the final written exam included with the course. In addition to the written exam, this course also includes a checklist for employers to use when administering a practical exam as required by OSHA.

Course Goals:

Estimated Training Length: Because everyone learns and progresses at different speeds, the amount of time you spend taking this training will vary. However, the estimated time for this training is 3– 3.5 hours.

Intended Audience:




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For most courses, we offer OSHA trainings in English and Spanish, CAL/OSHA trainings in English, and Canada trainings in English. See all of our options!

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Rough Terrain (RT) Crane Certification Standards

U.S. Standards

  • 29 CFR 1926.180 – Crawler, Locomotive, and Truck Cranes
  • 29 CFR 1926.1400 – Cranes and Derricks
  • ASME B30.5 – Mobile and Locomotive Cranes
  • ASME – B30.22 – Articulating Boom Cranes
  • Canada Standards

  • CAN/CSA-Z150-11 – Safety Code on Mobile Cranes
  • CAN/CSA-Z150.3-11 – Safety Code on Articulating Boom Cranes
  • CAN/CSA-C22.2 – Safety Code for Material Hoists
  • ISO 16715:2014 – Hand Signals Used with Cranes
  • ASME/ANSI B30.1-29 – Cranes, Slings, Below-the-Hook Lifting Devices
  • ASME/ANSI B30.5 – Mobile and Locomotive Cranes
  • ASME/ANSI B30.22 – Articulating Boom Cranes

    Train the Trainer Certification

    The Train the Trainer option is used to certify a trainer to teach others using the included training kit. It incorporates the online course with an additional train the trainer module, as well as the training kit. This option results in an regulation-aligned lifetime trainer certification from Hard Hat Training. This certification is not company-specific, meaning you can take it with you should you change employers.

    Why Do I Need Rough Terrain (RT) Crane Safety Training?

    In line with regulations, anyone who operates a rough terrain crane must receive training prior to operating the machine on their own. Requirements for refresher training related to forklifts or other processes are very specific. Most other equipment doesn’t have such specific requirements, but it’s wise to follow the same guidelines.

    When it comes to refresher training, the standards in some instances (like forklifts) are very specific: operators must be re-evaluated every three years to see if they are still competent to operate the equipment. Best practices say to apply this same rule to all types of equipment. A so-called “free-pass” cannot be awarded based on experience, age, or time on the job. The extent of the evaluation is to be determined by the employer but should include a written and practical examination that prove continued competency.

    Stay Informed On All Things Rough Terrain (RT) Crane

    Did You Know?

    From 2011 to 2015, about 220 people died in crane-related accidents per year.

    Of those deaths, 40 of them occurred in Texas, the most in any state in the US.

    About 27% of workers killed during that five year period of time were killed by objects falling from the crane. (Source: BIS).


    Rough Terrain Mobile Crane Frequently Asked Questions

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    How many different types of cranes are there?

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    There are seven different types of cranes that can be found on the worksite:

    • Telescopic crane
    • Mobile cranes
    • Truck mounted cranes
    • Rough terrain cranes
    • Overhead cranes
    • Loader cranes

    How is a rough terrain crane different from other cranes?

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    Rough terrain cranes are generally more compact than other cranes and have 4-wheel drive to better handle jobsite and off-road conditions.

    What is the lift capacity of a rough terrain crane?

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    A rough terrain crane can lift 50-160 tons

    How often do I need Rough Terrain Mobile Crane training?

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    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 mobile 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 proving rough terrain mobile 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 operated Rough Terrain 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?

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    No matter how long you’ve been on the job, OSHA requires rough terrain mobile 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 rough terrain mobile crane safety 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?

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    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 rough terrain mobile crane certification or rough terrain crane operator license (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 an operator had a mobile crane certification card will not suffice, nor will it undo the accident.

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

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    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?

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    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 Signal Person 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 rough terrain mobile crane safety training kit and our online rough terrain mobile crane safety training classes cover rigging, but we also have made our specific rigger signalman training materials available in a kit. 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 Rough Terrain/Hydraulic Crane practical evaluation if I take rough terrain mobile crane safety training online?

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    The online rough terrain mobile crane training class covers OSHA’s requirements for the classroom portion. Many employers prefer online training because they know exactly what mobile crane safety 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 rough terrain/hydraulic 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 rough terrain mobile crane certification.

    My trainee scored 80% on the exam. Did he pass or fail?

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    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 boom truck. 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.


    See Purchase Options

    For most courses, we offer OSHA trainings in English and Spanish, CAL/OSHA trainings in English, and Canada trainings in English. See all of our options!

    View Purchase Options