Crane Certification Does Not Equal Crane Qualification

Crane operator certification took center stage recently at the 35th Biannual Meeting of the Commission of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO).

Jim Maddux, director of OSHA Directorate of Construction, speaking to more than 60 NCCCO Commissioners and guests at the Maritime Institute, Baltimore, MD, confirmed that OSHA was seeking a postponement to the effective date of the new operator certification/qualification requirement so it could fix the issues that the construction industry had brought to its attention.

"The vast majority of the crane industry thinks that while it is a useful thing to have certification, and it has a really important place, it is probably not enough,” Maddux said. “That we also need to make sure that the employee is qualified to operate the crane they are operating."

So while certification could be an important component of qualification, it was not, in and of itself, the same as qualification.

In anticipation of the rule re-opening OSHA would continue to conduct interviews with employers (23 had been completed or were scheduled to occur, Maddux said) in order to build an “information base that we need to know how to move forward.”

Maddux also presented an updated list of the “Top Ten" crane standards being cited by OSHA, noting that fully six of them related to rigging, signaling or inspection. “Documentation continues to be a big issue,” he noted, "with cranes without load chart manuals and proper hazard warnings.”

Compliance Directive Nears Publication

The lack of a Compliance Directive had certainly had the effect of "holding back" the full "qualitative and quantitative" effects of the new rule, Maddux said and, as a result, it hadn't hit its "full stride” in terms of the safety effects it could have. However, with all the responses from its regional offices now in, the draft Directive was now nearing publication, he said, having passed through the Directorate for review by the Solicitor's Office.

And, perhaps good news for employers and OSHA compliance officers alike, the final draft has been reduced in size from about 260 pages to slightly less than 200.

For a complete report of Maddux's presentation go to


Source: ACT Magazine, December 2013 Issue

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