OSHA has finally published the long-awaited updates to its crane operator certification requirements, all the new provisions of which are set to go into effect Dec. 10, with the exception of the new evaluation and documentation requirements that will not take effect until Feb. 7, 2019.
According to a press release from the Department of Labor, the final rule differs from the previous standard by removing the requirement that crane operator certifications include the crane's rated lifting capacity. Trade associations have long advocated for this change, as the majority of operators have been certified by two testing organizations that have issued certifications by "type" but not "capacity." Those certifications were not considered valid under the old cranes rule, but will now be eligible thanks to the new clarification.
Published in 2010, the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard was initially supposed to go into effect in 2014, but was pushed back three years when concerns were raised about the requirements. Implementation was delayed another year in November 2017, and this month OSHA at last altered the language of the rule to accommodate those who were certified by type of crane but not lifting capacity.
Though amended, the standard still requires employers to evaluate the ability of their operators to run the specific types of cranes that they will be responsible for operating on the job.
Operators must now be certified by Dec. 10 and evaluated on the job by Feb. 7.
This certification must now be completed by the new effective date of Dec. 10, OSHA explained. Additional requirements that employers conduct and document evaluations of crane operators will go into effect on Feb. 7. Employers who have already completed their evaluations will not be required to retake them, but will need to document their completion, and must make the documentation available on the worksite for as long as the operator remains employed there.
"The new effective date provides some additional breathing room for operators and employers who have not yet completed the certification and evaluation process," the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators said in a statement, according to Safety & Health Magazine. "But the message for those who have not is unchanged: Don't wait!"
The new rule does not alter the definition of which employers are covered by the standard, nor which types of equipment require certification. According to OSHA, employees who operate cranes with lifting capacities of 2,000 pounds or less do not require certification.