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May 24, 2013
OSHA may pursue crane certification rulemaking

OSHA’s announcement that it is proposing changing a compliance date regarding crane operator certification may suggest that the agency is considering rulemaking in this area.  

In 2010, OSHA issued a final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks in construction work. It required crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by November 10, 2014. These include (1) certification by an accredited crane operator testing organization, (2) certification by an audited employer program, (3) qualification by the U.S. military, or (4) licensing by a state or local government entity.

Instead of the November 2014 deadline for compliance with this requirement, OSHA said on May 22 that it will propose a 3-year extension to November 20, 2017.

Graham Brent, executive director of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), believes the deadline change signals OSHA’s intention to pursue a standard around certification. “If they were not to extend the deadline, the new rulemaking would run into the current deadline, so the extension to 2017 is a function of their decision to consider additional rulemaking,” he says.

Brent believes the announcement is good news because it suggests that OSHA understands the need to take regulatory action. But he says it’s unfortunate that it has taken the agency this long to address the need for a certification standard.

Last month, OSHA held three stakeholder meetings on operator certification/qualification issues. Notes from those sessions are available on the OSHA website, http://www.OSHA.gov. Enter cranes/derricks stakeholders in the Search box.

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