New Crane Rule Changes for OSHA Compliance in 2017

by Guest Contributor on March 14, 2017

The date for OSHA compliance in 2017 has many companies feeling the pressure. November 10 will be here before we know it.

Anyone familiar with the industry will remember way back to 2010, when OSHA issued its final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks.

The industry pushed back, claiming the regulations as arbitrary and were a barrier for running the industry in its current iteration.

OSHA extended the enforcement date for crane operator certification. Several entities informed OSHA that crane operator certification was insufficient for determining whether an operator could operate their equipment safely on a construction site.

The rules are set today, though the deadline extension allows for both compliance and reexamination. 

While not guaranteed, certain aspects of the certification process are liable to change on or before November 10, 2017.

Let’s take a look at what we know today, and how companies can stay in compliance in case no rule changes come into effect.

OSHA Compliance 2017: Background

Back in 2010 OSHA drafted new compliance regulations that updated the way crane operator certification is handled.

The new rules stemmed from concern from both OSHA and the crane community, seeing as the old regulations were 40 plus years old.

OSHA officials interpreted the new rules to require crane operators to receive certifications not only for specific crane types, but also for the carrying capacity of these cranes.

For instance, you could become certified for a tower crane, but still need certification to operate tower cranes that could carry more weight.

The crane industry pushed back against the carrying capacity certification, claiming it would add extra expenses while keeping cranes off job sites.

Industry reps went on to question OSHA’s definition of certified versus qualified. The industry pushed for a stricter definition of the word “qualified.”

Under the 2010 ruling, “qualified” means the same thing as having a basic certification. Crane reps argued that certifying only involves basic testing, while deeming someone “qualified” should involve in-house training.

Thus, OSHA compliance 2017 was born. 

Staying in Compliance

Currently, only certain parts of the OSHA 2010 ruling are delayed. Specifically, the carrying capacity certification. All other regulations are still enforced, and every employer and operator must comply. 

Operators of most cranes above 2,000 lb. capacity when used in construction will need to be either certified by an accredited crane operator testing organization, such as the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), or qualified through an audited employer program [§ 1926.1427(a)]. The exclusion for cranes of 2,000 lb. and below refers to the maximum manufacturer-rated capacity.

Operators who hold current CCO certifications will stay in compliance after the new ruling.

Also remember, that anyone hiring or operating in a state that requires special licensing must still comply. OSHA’s ruling has no effect on state licensing, though the state could reconsider their licensing regulations due to the OSHA ruling.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know without checking with your local governing bodies. Regardless of any rulings, it’s important to remember that certifications are in place to protect both workers and the general public. As frustrating as compliance is, the regulations are always imposed for good reasons. Even if they might result in some hardships.

Guest ContributorNew Crane Rule Changes for OSHA Compliance in 2017