OSHA rule delay buys time for model-specific crane operator certification

Sources: Occupational Safety and Health Administration; National Precast Concrete Association, Carmel, Ind.; CP staff

A November 2014 deadline for crane operator certification will be moved back three years under a new OSHA proposal, allowing agency officials and industry stakeholders to address concerns over the suitability of a single standard for construction site and truck-mounted equipment.

OSHA issued a final standard on cranes and derricks in August 2010, requiring operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by November 2014. Agency officials are weighing the potential for a separate rulemaking to address concerns of a number of parties who responded to the scope of equipment, and proposed the compliance extension qualification/certification requirements to avoid overlap and disrupting stakeholders’ business.

Among groups appealing to OSHA to revisit the certification mandate was NPCA, which determined that the rule would have required all crane operators in precast plants to be certified by completing a training course and passing a comprehensive test. The latter covers truck-mounted cranes commonly used in precast operations, plus model types beyond what drivers or other producer employees would encounter in typical concrete product handling. NPCA notes that the compliance date extension will allow association staff to work with industry crane operator certifying bodies to develop a boom truck certification appropriate for precast producers and give members more time to prepare staff for training and testing.

OSHA held three stakeholder meetings on operator certification/qualification issues in April 2013 and posted detailed notes of the meetings at http://www.osha.gov/cranes-derricks/stakeholders.html. The agency will also post a list of frequently asked questions on its Cranes and Derricks in Construction web page to provide stakeholders additional clarification.