OSHA Posts Letter of Interpretation about Crane Operator Recertification

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has posted on its website a letter of interpretation, clarifying whether or not a practical test is required for recertification of crane operators. The letter from James G. Maddux, OSHA’s Director of the Directorate of Construction, was in response to a question posed by James Callahan, General President of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Wrote Maddux: “While the Agency contemplated that recertification could be less rigorous than the initial certification process, at a minimum, there must be some valid assessment of the operator’s performance during the time following the previous certification, such as completing the requisite number of hours without any incident that would call into question the operator’s skills in the specified areas…. OSHA recommends that any determinations based on demonstrated experience should factor in how recent the operating experience is and count only time spent operating a crane and not time accrued while performing other crane-related activities. Ultimately, however, when a nationally recognized accrediting agency determines that a requisite number of equipment-operation hours are sufficient for verifying an individual’s operating skills, no practical exam would be needed for recertification purposes.”

He noted the recertification process must:

  • Include a written exam that meets the requirements of the OSHA Cranes & Derricks in Construction standard
  • Be for the same crane type and capacity for which the operator was previously certified
  • Be for an operator who has not otherwise demonstrated during the previous certification period that he or she lacks the required knowledge or ability to operate the equipment safely
  • Satisfy all of the other applicable requirements of the cranes standard

Click here to read the letter.

From the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association.


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