Crane Signalperson Certification Program Launched

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators is introducing a certification program for signalpersons today. The program follows the intent of the latest revision of the ASME B30.5 standard for mobile and locomotive cranes, the ASME B30.3 standard for construction tower cranes, and the imminent OSHA proposed rule that will revise Subpart N for cranes.

The new program is designed to ensure crane operators receive accurate information about where loads need to be placed, said Fairfax, Va.-based NCCCO. Signalpersons will be tested on their understanding of basic crane operations and limitations and their knowledge of hand signals and voice communications. Written and practical tests are required. The organization is using a new computer-generated and -delivered exam for the first time.

"This practical exam requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of the signals without the use of actual cranes or crane operators," said Dr. Anthony Mitchell, president of International Assessment Institute, NCCCO's test development and services provider. "The development process ensures that the certification process is fair, valid, reliable, and legally defensible."

NCCCO announced its plan to develop the program in February 2007 in response to demands from the industry. "The need for a signalperson certification program was a top concern for the crane industry," said NCCCO President John Kennedy. "We have built a quality certification program that is expected to have an immediate impact on crane safety."

NCCCO said the task force that worked on the program for 13 months included volunteers representing Operating Engineers Local 3, Atlantic Crane Inspection Services, George Young Company, Ironworkers Local 405, Operating Engineers Local 542, Operating Engineers Local 825, K.J. Shinn Inc., Ironworkers Local 25, BP America, International Assessment Institute, and Operating Engineers Local 18. "We have had great success to date in fulfilling NCCCO's safety mission through administration of our crane operator certification programs," said NCCCO Executive Director Graham Brent. "The already heavy pent-up demand for the signalperson program, coupled with our effectively designed certification examinations, will ensure a higher level of crane safety and professionalism in this industry." It is NCCCO's fourth personnel certification program, following mobile, tower, and overhead crane operator programs. More than 325,000 written and practical exams have been administered to some 65,000 crane operators since those programs began.

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