OSHA published a final rule on November 16, 2018 clarifying certification requirements for crane operators, and maintains the employer’s duty to ensure that crane operators can safely operate this equipment. The final rule is intended to maintain safety and health protections for construction workers.OSHA published a final rule on November 16, 2018 clarifying certification requirements for crane operators, and maintains the employer’s duty to ensure that crane operators can safely operate this equipment. The final rule is intended to maintain safety and health protections for construction workers.
Under the 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.
The OSHA standard mandates that crane operators are to be certified or licensed, and receive ongoing training as necessary to operate new 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. The final 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.
The evaluation and documentation requirements become effective on February 7, 2019.
Qualified or Certified Riggers
While announcing the new rule for crane operation, a review of the qualifications and training of those rigging or ‘hitching’ loads is also advised. Employers are to use qualified riggers during hoisting activities for assembly and disassembly work. Additionally, qualified riggers are required whenever workers are within the fall zone and hooking, unhooking, or guiding a load, or doing the initial connection of a load to a component or structure.
The standards addressing rigging are expansive and have been somewhat confusing as the qualifications, certifications, or training necessary for riggers are left to the employer to interpret. And the definitions with a rigger’s qualification vary as well. In any case, recognizing the level of knowledge and/or experience with rigging is vital. Riggers must have training to understand the various types of rigging equipment used, understanding safe loading and hitching configurations, signaling (communication with the crane operator), and inspection requirements.
Obviously, this job is not for just anyone; in other words, assure that employees assigned to rigging tasks are capable and competent. An immediate resource for more information may include rigging equipment suppliers or visit the OSHA website www.osha.gov.
Ron Humphreys is an authorized OSHA Trainer and Safety Consultant for The Starr Group. He provides Risk Reduction Services to The Starr Group’s Customers.