OSHA Removes Capacity From Operator Certification

After four years of protests by crane users and manufacturers about OSHA’s position that crane operators should be certified according to the capacity of the crane, the federal agency has removed the requirement.

In its draft regulatory language issued last month, OSHA has left the certification requirement and process essentially unchanged, except for the removal of the requirement for certification by capacity. “Certification still includes a written and practical exam, but certification will only be by type of crane—not by capacity,” OSHA states in its summary of the rule.

“OSHA’s decision is a huge validation for the overwhelming majority of the industry that certifying by capacity was unjustified and unnecessary and, most importantly, contributed nothing to crane safety,” said NCCCO CEO, Graham Brent. “It also respects the intent of the C-DAC Committee that drafted the original rule and whose members have stated repeatedly that OSHA was wrong in interpreting their language in this way.”

OSHA has also addressed the issue of whether certification is equivalent to qualification, an issue the industry had also complained about. An OSHA advisory group has proposed simply requiring the operator to be a “qualified person” as defined under the OSHA law (see separate story).

“We always believed that logic would prevail and that the regulatory basis for the psychometrically sound and nationally accredited program that NCCCO has administered for over two decades would be reaffirmed,” Brent said. Although NCCCO had stood behind its certifications throughout this debate, any operators who had been concerned they might find their credential in jeopardy could now breathe easy, he added. “The requirement to certify by capacity is now history,” Brent said.

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