On November 9, 2017, the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule on crane operator certification compliance. Businesses were given a year to ensure that all crane operators were certified.
After spending many months addressing stakeholder concerns, OSHA has now finalised new obligations for employers in the construction industry. Employers must now comply with a requirement for crane operator certification in the Cranes and Derricks Construction Standard. This will come into effect on November 10.
Crane operators must prove that they have adequate knowledge before operating machines, and their skills will be assessed through practical and written tests.
Operators who have already been certified have not been given any additional requirements or instructions by OSHA when it comes to recertification; they must, however, ensure that the testing organization certification program has recertification procedures designed to ensure that the operator continues to meet certain standards of technical knowledge and relevant skills.
In 2010, the standard was modified to address emerging industry work practices and technological advances, like hydraulic cranes. These new practices and developments were less common when the 1971 OSHA standard was issued. OSHA stated that the revision was partly prompted by industry stakeholders’ worries about incidents involving cranes and derricks, which were a major cause of injuries and deaths on construction sites.
Under the final rule, employers must ensure that the ground can support the weight of any hoisting equipment and associated loads. They must also assess any hazards which could make the operation of hoisting equipment unsafe for employees. This could include power lines, any objects within the swing radius of the hoisting equipment, and the movement of big or heavy loads.
Employers must also carry out inspections and ensure that workers are adequately trained to recognize dangers associated with the equipment and duties they are assigned to while at work. If an employee does not have the knowledge required to operate a crane in a safe manner, the employer must train that person before allowing them to work with the aforementioned equipment, and then test their knowledge with appropriate assessments.
With the expiration date quickly approaching, it is hoped that all employers in the industry will achieve these certifications as part of their commitment to the safety of their workforces.