OSHA Issues Final Rule on Crane Operator Certification and New Evaluation Requirements
On Nov. 7, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule that clarifies certification requirements for crane operators, and maintains the employer’s duty to ensure that crane operators can safely operate the equipment. Under the final rule, employers are required to train operators as needed to perform assigned crane activities, evaluate them, and document successful completion of the evaluations. Employers who have evaluated operators prior to Dec. 9, 2018, will not have to conduct those evaluations again, but will only have to document when those evaluations were completed.
The rule also requires crane operators to be certified or licensed and receive ongoing training as necessary to operate new equipment. The final rule also revises a 2010 requirement that crane operator certification must specify the rated lifting capacity of cranes for which the operator is certified. Operators can now be certified based on the crane’s type and capacity, or type only. Compliant certifications that were already issued by type and capacity are still compliant under this final rule.
The final rule, with the exception of the evaluation and documentation requirements, will become effective on Dec. 9, 2018. The evaluation and documentation requirements will become effective on Feb. 7, 2019. AGC will provide more information as it continues to review the final rule.
Special Information Regarding Crane Operator Certification Exams Taken in Spanish
We have heard from AGC members that the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is not currently issuing cards to candidates passing their Crane Certification exams in Spanish.
Communications from exam proctors to successful candidate may read something like this:
“Unfortunately, the NCCCO will not issue cards to the candidates passing the exams in Spanish, as NCCCO are still awaiting approval/accreditation from ANSI. At this point, NCCCO only issues a letter to the successful candidate and his or her certification can be verified on NCCCO’s website.” AGC approached OSHA to clarify how enforcement would take place in the absence of a physical card. We have been instructed that the card is not an issue as long as it can be independently verified. NCCCO’s process includes a letter and website verification. As such, AGC is relatively confident that the lack of a card does not present a potential violation of the standard. AGC is basing this estimation on the following communication with OSHA:
“You [AGC] are correct in that a testing organization must be accredited as meeting criteria specified by certification requirements of the cranes standard (subpart CC of 29 CFR Part 1926). As we understand per our discussion, you are aware that particular certifications offered by a testing organization are still under review for accrediting. The organization must first administer enough tests for psychometric evaluations before the reviews can be completed. However, the organization is still accredited to issue other crane operator certifications. In the interim, the organization issues letters to operators who passed certifications that are still under review and makes available all information required by the crane standard about the operators and the tests passed. You ask would this be considered a valid certification.
Because the organization is already accredited to issue other crane operator certifications, it meets the requirements of 29 CFR1926.1427(b)(1) and we have no reason at this time to conclude that the certifications which are still under review and issued by the organization are not valid.”