OSHA published a final rule today that clarifies certification requirements for crane operators and maintains the employer’s duty to ensure that operators can safely operate the equipment. The final rule will preserve safety and health protections for workers while reducing compliance burdens.
Under the final 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 need to repeat the evaluations. They are only required to document when those evaluations were conducted.
The rule also requires crane operators to be certified or licensed and to receive ongoing training as necessary to operate new equipment. Operators can be certified based on the crane’s “type” or “type and capacity” which ensures that more accredited testing organizations are eligible to meet OSHA’s certification program requirements. The previous requirement stipulated that crane operators be certified by equipment “type and capacity” which created a regulatory burden that did not provide additional safety benefits and limited the potential for crane operators to obtain certification. 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.
With the exception of the evaluation and documentation requirements, the final rule will become effective on December 9, 2018. The evaluation and documentation requirements will become effective on February 7, 2019.