web analytics
Home | Columnists | OSHA | OSHA - Crane operator certification frequently asked questions

OSHA - Crane operator certification frequently asked questions




    The agency has concluded that the capacity requirement for certification is not necessary to protect workers and the agency is concerned that a shortage of certified operators will disrupt the construction industry severely. Second, OSHA is making permanent the employer duty to ensure that operators are competent to operate the equipment safely. While certification ensures an objective baseline of general knowledge of crane operation, it does not ensure that operators know how to operate a particular crane for a specific task. For this reason, OSHA is revising the crane standard to preserve a requirement that employers assess the ability of their operators to run the cranes they will be using for the tasks to which they are assigned.
What is an employer required to do to fulfill the employer’s duty under the final rule?
In addition to ensuring that an operator is properly certified, an employer must also evaluate the operator to ensure that the operator has the skills, knowledge, and ability to recognize and avert risk to operate the equipment safely. This evaluation must be done by a person who has the knowledge, training, and experience necessary to assess operators.  Once an operator has passed an evaluation on one piece of equipment, the employer may allow that operator to operate different equipment without further evaluation if the employer can demonstrate that operating that equipment would not require substantially different skills, knowledge or ability to recognize and avert risk. For example, an employer may evaluate an operator and determine that he or she has demonstrated the ability to safely operate a large crane in a relatively complex configuration. If the employer determines that the operator has the skills, knowledge, and ability to identify and avert risk necessary to safely operate a smaller crane of the same type and operating system, in a simpler configuration with a shorter boom, then the operator would not need to be re-evaluated (assuming that the tasks are similar). The evaluation must be documented and provide the operator’s name, the evaluator’s name and signature, the date of the evaluation, and the make, model, and configuration of equipment used in the evaluation. The employer must be able to make the documentation of the evaluation available on the worksite for as long as the operator is employed by the employer (electronic availability at the worksite is one way to satisfy the requirement). Finally, when the employer needs to provide retraining, such as when an employer becomes aware that an operator is not competent in a necessary aspect of safe crane operation, the employer must also re-evaluate the operator with respect to the subject of the retraining.

512-374-0271 x232

Need a Reprint?

Author Info

Helen Greenwood helen@constructionnews.net