Crane Operator Certification Rule Finalized by OSHA

Author: Rene Garcia


Trained workers are a necessity for productivity and safety on any job site. Crane operators are especially important workers that need adequate training since cranes often operate in the presence of other workers and usually move very heavy loads. OSHA has finalized the rule change regarding crane operator training that has been roughly eight years in the making.

Here are the key takeaways from the amendment:

1. Crane operation certification can now be based on “type” or “type and capacity”. Prior to the rule change, crane operators had to be certified by “type and capacity” of the cranes they were going to operate. This meant that if a crane operator was certified to operate a specific type of crane that was rated to lift 500 pounds, that same crane operator was not certified to operate the same type of crane that was rated to lift 1000 pounds. The rule change will help to remove that barrier and eliminate unnecessary certification training.

2. Employers are accountable for evaluating crane operators and providing training as necessary. From the official rule: “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. The record makes clear that employers need to evaluate operators and provide training when needed to ensure that they can safely operate cranes in a variety of circumstances.”

What is not clear, however, is how much discretion employers have in evaluating crane operators. If an employer is responsible for providing additional crane operation certification training, then could an unscrupulous employer simply say that a crane operator is meeting a minimum performance standard to avoid the extra cost of training? OSHA appears to be at least a little sensitive to this idea since the organization added estimates of the cost in the final rule.

“OSHA's final economic impact analysis determined that the most significant costs of the changes to the standard are associated with the requirements to perform the operator competency evaluation, document the evaluations, and provide any additional training needed by operators. OSHA estimates employers impacted by this rule employ approximately 117,130 crane operators. OSHA accordingly estimates the annual cost to the industry will be $1,481,000 for the performance of operator competency evaluations, $62,000 for documenting those evaluations, and $94,000 for any additional training needed for operators. OSHA's estimate of the total annual cost of compliance is $1,637,000.”

3. The new rule will go into effect on December 9, 2018, but not completely. Since employers will now have to evaluate and document when crane operators were assessed, that part of the rule will not go into effect until February 7, 2019. Employers who have assessed their crane operators prior to December 9 will not have to perform reassessments, but they will have to provide documentation that the crane operators passed as well as the date of completion.

Vet Your Outsourced Crane Operators

In many cases you will find that crane operation, handling of hazardous chemicals, or secure storage of sensitive material, are elements of services provided by contractors and suppliers.  And so, to minimize risk, and ensure compliance with OSHA regulations, these suppliers must be properly vetted – a sometimes detailed and time-consuming process.  Avetta’s prequalification solution provides fast and accurate collection and verification of supplier data. Findings are presented through a simple online interface, allowing you to mitigate risk and make better sourcing decisions.

Learn more about how Avetta can help with Supplier Prequalification and Verification

How is your organization handling it?

We're taking steps internally to ensure we can support you during this crisis by:

business continuity plan illustration

Maintain a current Business Continuity Plan

sanitized work environment illustration

Promote a safe, clean and sanitized work environment

Work from home illustration

Enable employees to work remotely

Office Distancing illustration

Institute Office Distancing policies

travel restriction illustration

No visitors to the office

travel restriction illustration

Encourage employees to self-educate using online resources (WHO)

travel restriction illustration

Restrict travel—all non-essential travel is forbidden

To learn more, we encourage you to visit our COVID-19 Resource Library.

Visit Resource Center