OSHA’s Crane Operator Rule, Explained

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a Final Rule regulating crane operation in 2018. Within it, OSHA adjusted and fine-tuned the requirements for certification of crane operators, evaluations, and other safety regulations. By the end of the review and enactment process, the document totaled over 50 pages long! 

So what do you really need to know about OSHA’s Final Rule concerning crane operator certification and how do these regulations affect you and your business?

Certification is by Crane Type Alone

It used to be that operators were certified for equipment based on its hoist weight capacity. OSHA’s final rule mandates  that operators be certified by crane type. This is a marked change from the original wording of the first version of the Final Rule—which caused a lot of commotion in the construction industry.

This means that operators no longer have to be recertified or additionally certified on cranes with larger hoist ratings if they’re already certified on the same type of crane.

Employers Must Perform Evaluations

OSHA also determined that it’s not enough to rely on outside certification. Indeed, the OSHA Final Rule requires that employers regularly evaluate their crane operators to ensure they’re capable of operating machinery safely and to federal standards. In addition to safely operating a specific type of crane, operators must also be shown to possess the ability to “recognize and avert” potential safety hazards.

This evaluation must be documented and that documentation must remain at the job site should OSHA inspectors come looking for it. Evaluation must be filed for every operator, and each operator must be evaluated on every type and configuration of crane they’re tasked with operating.

This documentation requirement is laid out in amendments 29 CFR 1926.1427(a) and (f). Note: The wording effectively puts employers in the hot seat if their crane operators are found to be lacking basic safety and operational skills.

NCT’s Crane Operator Evaluation Form goes over the details.

Employers are Responsible for Training

Employers must ensure that all their crane operators are fully trained and certified—whether that’s through an outside resource like Nationwide Crane Training’s multiple crane training programs or through in-house training.

Keep in mind that non-certified crane operators are considered to be “operators in training” by OSHA. They are allowed to operate machinery (with certain restrictions) while learning the skills and earning the experience they need to become certified. However, the employer must monitor operators in training whenever they are behind the controls. 

Save Time & Money: Get Crane Operators Certified and OSHA-Compliant ASAP

Providing on-the-job training to new operators can be time-consuming and costly. The easiest way to avoid this is to outsource your crane training and get all of your operators certified as quickly and efficiently as possible. Outside training by an NCCCO-accredited crane operator training program doesn’t fully negate an employer’s evaluation requirements, but it does allow employers to mitigate the costs of training operators by minimizing downtime and decreasing necessary payroll.

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