Construction Groups Call for OSHA to Correct and Reissue Crane Operator Certification Requirements

Leading construction groups have formed a coalition calling for these long-awaited requirements

According to a news release, ten of the nation’s leading construction industry organizations have launched the Coalition for Crane Operator Safety (CCOS) – a group dedicated to ensuring the swift revision and finalization of the crane operator certification requirements within the OSHA Cranes & Derricks in Construction Standard. CCOS is working with members of Congress and the Administration to ensure that crane operator certification requirements in the Standard are amended and finalized in a way that provides the highest degree of safety for the construction industry and the public.

CCOS is calling for OSHA to rescind the crane capacity certification requirement, as well as a provision that essentially equates employer certification with qualification. OSHA’s final requirements contained these two provisions, which the industry argues are counterproductive and a misinterpretation of the intent of OSHA’s C-DAC.

“The uncertainty and delay around the new crane operator certification requirements jeopardizes the safety of construction workers and the general public,” said James T. Callahan, general president of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a member of CCOS. “It’s essential that OSHA gets it right, but we believe they can revise, correct and re-issue the new certification regulation well ahead of the November 2017 extension deadline.”

Requiring certified crane operators to be retested on a higher capacity crane of the same type does not advance safety and imposes tremendous financial burdens on employers and individual crane operators. This means that an operator certified to operate a 100-ton crane would not be permitted to operate a 200-ton crane of the same type; despite wide consensus in the industry that certification based on capacity is unnecessary and burdensome.

“Adjudicating operator certification requirements based on capacity would add significant new complexity for employers and their employees without yielding any discernible improvement in safety,” said Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), also a CCOS member. “As significant, no national safety study has found any additional safety benefits beyond certification by type, and OSHA has not analyzed the costs, benefits or other consequences of certification by capacity.”

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