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February 21, 2014
OSHA proposes 3-year extension for crane operator certification

OSHA has issued a proposed rule to extend the compliance date for its crane operator certification requirement by 3 years, to November 20, 2017. What’s behind the move, and what does it mean for you?

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In August 2010, OSHA issued a final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks in construction work. The standard requires crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by November 10, 2014. After OSHA issued the standard, a number of parties raised concerns about the requirements.

After conducting several public meetings, OSHA decided to extend the enforcement date so that the certification requirements do not take effect during potential rulemaking or cause disruption to the industry. The agency announced in May 2013 that it would formerly propose this change, which it has now done.

Other reasons for extending the deadline included feedback from industry representatives concerned that operator certification alone does not provide sufficient demonstration of competence. During the public meetings on the proposal, OSHA was advised that employers must make sure their employees are qualified by assessing the ability of operators to run cranes safely. Discussions also centered on whether to allow certifications based on the type of crane or on crane capacity as well.

Current crane operator requirements

Until the certification requirements take effect, OSHA requires that:

  • Employers must ensure that operators of cranes covered by the standard are competent to safely operate the equipment.
  • When an employee assigned to operate machinery does not have the required knowledge or ability to operate the equipment safely, the employer must train that employee before operating the equipment and ensure that operators are evaluated to confirm that they understand the training content.

OSHA’s final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks in construction required crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by 2014, which would be extended to 2017 under the latest proposal. Those options are:

  • Certification by an accredited crane operator testing organization;
  • Qualification by an audited employer program;
  • Qualification by the U.S. military; or
  • Licensing by a state or local government entity.

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