OSHA’s Final Rule Explained

It’s been a long time coming (8 years after the rule was officially published and 15 years in the making) but OSHA’s Final Rule about crane operator training and certification is now in effect. As of December 2018 all but the amendments 29 CFR 1926.1427(a) and (f) are fully engaged and must be followed to the letter. But, as you might expect with something in “development” for so long with so many revisions, the ruling is a bit hard to understand. Not to mention, it’s over 50 pages long!

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

Certification is Now by Crane Type Alone

While OSHA is still allowing operators to be certified by hoist weight capacity and allowing employers to accept those certifications, the agency is only mandating 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

But it’s not enough anymore to rely on outside certification. Indeed, the new 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) which went into full effect in February of 2019.

Download the Crane Operator Evaluation Form here

Note: the wording effectively puts employers in the hot seat if their crane operators are found to be lacking basic safety and operational skills.

Employers Remain Responsible for Training

Employers must still 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 Your Crane Operators Certified & OSHA Compliant ASAP

This on the job training 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.

Keep in mind, this is just a summary of the major changes effected in the latest iteration of OSHA’s Final Rule concerning crane operator training and certification. You can read the full text online