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OSHA issues long-awaited proposed rule to clarify crane operator requirements

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Washington — OSHA is moving to finalize changes to its crane operator certification requirements, according to a proposed rule published in the May 21 Federal Register.

The attempts at crane operator certification requirements began in 2010 with OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard, which mandated that crane operators become certified for both the type of crane used and the lifting capacity. OSHA later was notified that two of the four accredited testing services were issuing certifications for “type” of crane rather than “type and capacity.” Stakeholders also expressed concerns about the rule’s language – that “certification” didn’t mean an operator had the necessary skills.

With this newly proposed rule, OSHA is seeking to drop the capacity requirement that never went into effect. The agency stated that the new regulation would “expand the type of certification programs for crane operators.”

In a May 21 press release, the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators states that the decision to remove the crane capacity certification is “supported by the overwhelming majority of industry stakeholders at meetings hosted by OSHA and others since the rule was first published in 2010.”

OSHA also is addressing stakeholders’ other concern by reinstating an employer’s duty to ensure a crane operator is qualified to control the machinery safely.

In November, the agency issued a final rule delaying the crane operator requirements for one year. Those requirements initially were slated to take effect in November 2014, but were delayed for an additional three years.

Comments on the proposed rule are due June 20.

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