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OSHA delays crane operator certification deadline (Members Only)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced May 22 it intends to propose an extension of the compliance date for certification for construction crane operators, according to Bloomberg BNA. Construction crane operators won't have to meet a Nov. 10 deadline to comply with OSHA's rule mandating they be certified by a third-party evaluator and designated as qualified; a new deadline currently is not available.

The construction crane rule was issued in 2010, but in 2013, OSHA agreed to reconsider requirements for certification by third-party evaluators and operator qualification after crane industry representatives said the mandates were not what a panel of industry and OSHA representatives envisioned as it drafted the rule in 2003 and 2004. The agency began a new rulemaking that addressed qualification and certification but made little public progress toward issuing a final rule before the Nov. 10 deadline.

OSHA officials interpreted the 2010 rule as requiring operators to be certified not only for the type of crane but also by the lifting capacity of the crane. For example, an operator certified to control a hydraulic crane would need separate certifications for hydraulic cranes with different weight capacities.

Although industry representatives agree that type certification is needed, most disagree with capacity certification, saying it would add expenses not considered by the rulemaking panel; tie up cranes for certification tests instead of being at building sites; and take operators away from projects.

The industry representatives also questioned why OSHA considered an operator to be "qualified" if the operator was only certified. An operator who is certified has only met basic requirements to operate a crane, whereas employers contend designating an operator as "qualified" involves additional in-house evaluations beyond a certification test.



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