News & Updates

Beginning November 8, Employers Mus Ensure Crane Operators are OSHA Certified


Beginning on Nov. 8, 2018—employers must ensure their crane operators are certified according to OSHA requirements. OSHA published a rule on Aug. 9, 2010, that requires employers to ensure that crane and derrick equipment is in safe operating condition via required inspections and that employees in the work zone are trained to recognize hazards associated with the use of the equipment and any related duties that they are assigned to perform.

Who needs to be certified or qualified? Any person engaged in a construction activity who is operating a crane covered by the rule, except: sideboom cranes, derricks, and equipment with a rated hoisting/lifting capacity of 2,000 pounds or less.  (Operators of the listed equipment must meet the criteria for minimum expertise described elsewhere in OSHA rules.)

Are operators of digger derricks required to be qualified or certified?  Yes, unless the digger derrick is being used to auger holes for poles carrying electric or telecommunication lines, place or remove the poles, or handle associated materials to be installed on or removed from the poles.

What is required in the testing for certification? Certification has two parts: (1) A written examination that includes the safe operating procedures for the particular type of equipment the applicant will be operating and a technical understanding of the subject matter criteria required in the rules.  (2) A practical exam showing the applicant has the skills needed to safely operate the equipment, including, among other skills, the ability to properly use load chart information and recognize items required in the shift inspection.

Does an operator need more than one certification? With respect to certification from an accredited testing organization, an operator must be certified for the type and capacity of crane he or she is going to operate. Each accredited testing organization develops its own categories for crane type and capacity.

How is an operator certified or qualified? There are four ways that an equipment operator can be qualified or certified and meet OSHA requirements:

  1. A certificate from an accredited crane operator testing organization.
  2. Qualification from the employer through an audited employer program.
  3. Qualification by the U.S. Military (only applies to employees of Department of Defense or Armed Forces and does not include private contractors).
  4. Licensing by a state or local government (if that licensing meets the minimum requirements set forth by OSHA). When a state or local government requires a crane operator license, the crane operator must be licensed accordingly to meet OSHA requirements.


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