OSHA Delays Crane Operator Certification Deadline Amidst Industry Concerns

OSHA Delays Crane Operator Certification Deadline Amidst Industry Concerns缩略图

OSHA has issued a Final Rule that extends the deadline for crane operators to be certified by one year, pushing it to November 10, 2018, and concurrently prolonging the employer’s duty to ensure crane operators’ competency for the same period. This extension, effective immediately, comes on the heels of a Proposed Rule announced in August, signaling OSHA’s intent for the postponement just a day prior to the original certification requirement’s enforcement date.

The agency cites the need for an additional year to address longstanding industry concerns arising since the initial publication of the crane rule in 2010. These concerns primarily revolve around whether operators should be certified by both type and capacity or solely by type, and whether certification alone suffices to qualify an operator for crane operation.

While specifics of the proposed language remain undisclosed, OSHA reiterates its intention, first voiced in its submission to the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) in 2015, to propose the elimination of the capacity component from certification requirements. OSHA emphasizes that enforcing the certification requirement before completing the separate rulemaking to alter these criteria would be unjust to employers.

Regarding the adequacy of certification in determining operator qualification, OSHA states its current unpreparedness to make a definitive decision on this matter in the latest rulemaking.

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) reluctantly supports the additional delay, recognizing the pivotal role these rule changes play in the efficacy of the certification requirement. Graham Brent, CEO of NCCCO, underscores the importance of urgent action by OSHA, noting the proven positive impact of professionally developed, third-party accredited crane operator certification over the past two decades. NCCCO’s submission emphasizes that each delay prolongs worker exposure to risks that could otherwise be mitigated, citing studies such as the Cal-OSHA Study of Crane Accidents from 2008.