New OSHA rule revises the way crane operators are trained, evaluated and certified in view of minimizing crane-related accidents.
Some 44 people are killed and 175 injured each year in US crane accidents, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. This April, crane-related incidents made national headlines.
Most accidents, happening on urban construction sites, are caused by human error. If crane operators or boom operations lack certifications
In case of an accident, the crane operator’s employer typically bears the responsibility, even if companies hire subcontractors for their crane operations.
Under the new rule, OSHA extends the employer’s duty to evaluate their operators’ abilities to handle equipment. Namely, crane operators must be “qualified” and receive ongoing training to operate new equipment. This includes mobile cranes, tower cranes, service truck cranes, digger derricks and pile drivers.
Furthermore, when transferring sheet goods or packaged goods, the crane must be equipped with a fork or cradle assembly, as well as an automatic overload prevention device.
The certification must be provided by a testing program that conforms to the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA) or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. Organizations that provide these are the NCCCO, the Crane Institute of America, the Operating Engineers Certification Program and the National Center for Construction Education and Research.
Employer-paid retraining will be required every five years and operators’ skills and know-how will be evaluated based on crane type – whether it is a tower crane, mobile crane or overhead crane.
“Because it makes qualification a three-step process involving training, certification and evaluation, it will undoubtedly make crane operation safer if followed correctly,” National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) CEO Graham Brent says.
“Making certifications plus evaluations required is a very powerful combination, if employers do their part to adhere to them.”
This final rule is not economically significant, the agency says.