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OSHA shares preview of update to crane operator certification requirements

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Washington — OSHA has released a preview of the long-awaited updates to its crane operator certification requirements, days ahead of the final rule’s expected publication in the Federal Register. As anticipated, the agency will require certification only by type of crane instead of type and lifting capacity.

OSHA will accept certification by the type of crane even though the “type and capacity” rule is slated to go into effect Nov. 10, the agency states in a Nov. 5 press release.

Although not required, testing organizations may continue issuing certifications based on type and capacity. Employers can accept those certifications or ones based solely on the type of crane. OSHA states in its forthcoming final rule that “certification/licensing” is accomplished via an accredited testing service, an independently audited employer program, military training, or compliance with qualifying state or local licensing requirements.

“This final rule will maintain safety and health protections for workers while reducing compliance burdens,” the agency states.

OSHA began seeking updates to its certification rules in 2010 with its Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard, and those new rules were set to go into effect in November 2014. The agency 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 did not mean an operator had the necessary skills.

Because of those concerns, OSHA delayed its crane operator requirements for another three years and then an additional year on Nov. 9, 2017. The agency issued a proposed rule detailing the updated requirements on May 21.

Along with requiring certification by type of crane, the new rule will mandate an employer’s duty to “ensure the competency of crane operators through training, certification or licensing, and evaluation.” It also gives “minimum requirements for determining operator competency.”

The updated rule will go into effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

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