OSHA Certification Requirements for Crane Operators

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a final rule that clarifies certification requirements for crane operators, and maintains the employer’s duty to ensure that crane operators can safely operate the equipment. The final rule will maintain safety and health protections for workers while reducing compliance burdens.

Under the final rule, employers are required to train operators as needed to perform assigned crane activities, evaluate them, and document successful completion of the evaluations. Employers who have evaluated operators prior to December 9, 2018, will not have to conduct those evaluations again, but will only have to document when those evaluations were completed.

This also requires crane operators to be certified or licensed, and receive ongoing training as necessary to operate new equipment. For example, according to OSHA, just as an employee's driver's license does not guarantee the employee's ability to drive all vehicles safely in all conditions an employer may require, crane-operator certification alone does not ensure that an operator has sufficient knowledge and skill to safely use all equipment. Operators can be certified based on the crane’s type and capacity, or type only, which ensures that more accredited testing organizations are eligible to meet OSHA’s certification program requirements. 

This new rule revises a 2010 requirement that crane operator certification must specify the rated lifting capacity of cranes for which the operator is certified. Compliant certifications that were already issued by type and capacity are still acceptable under this final rule.

OSHA also states that the final rule’s certification/training/licensing requirements will become effective on Dec. 9, 2018. The evaluation and documentation requirements will become effective on February 7, 2019.

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