Recently, OSHA produced a proposal draft for revision of the crane operator qualification requirements in the Federal Regulation for Cranes and Derricks in Construction. The proposal draft, which will be reviewed by OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health on March 31 and April 1, 2015, modifies 29 C.F.R. § 1936.1427. The development of this proposal is an answer to the substantial feedback that OSHA received in response to its August 2010 promulgation of the new standard for cranes and derricks in construction. The feedback was directed at OSHA’s new requirement for all operators to be certified in “type and capacity” of cranes by the deadline of November 10, 2014. In response to wide support throughout the crane industry, OSHA extended the certification deadline by three years to November 10, 2017. In the interim, employers have been assigned significant responsibility to ensure that their employees are competent and qualified to operate cranes.
The new proposal maintains a majority of the language from the current regulation; however, some employer duties have been modified:
- Evaluation: Under the proposal, employers will be required to re-evaluate each operator’s performance on an annual basis and any time an operator uses equipment in an unsafe manner. The proposal includes new documentation that must be completed for each re- evaluation.
- Certification: Crane operators are still able to obtain licensing through government entities. As a means of deferring responsibility, employers are now required to ensure that their operators are actually licensed by that entity.
- Type and Capacity: Consistent with the feedback provided to OSHA after its ruling in 2010, employers are only required to ensure that operators are certified by “type” of crane—not by “capacity.”
- Training: The new regulation adds clarity and substance to employers’ training duties. The additions include requirements to provide increased instructions to the operator-in- training and maintain mandatory documentation of the training located at the worksite.
Employers are not the only party with new duties, as the proposal also adds requirements for controlling entities. A controlling entity—a party who authorizes equipment to be used, but does not directly employ the operator, e.g., a contractor—has to ensure that an operator under its authorization is: (1) certified, (2) an operator-in-training who will be continuously monitored, or (3) evaluated by the controlling entity via training mechanisms approved by the regulation.