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OSHA Considers Delay of New Crane Requirement

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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Earlier this month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration held a mandatory advisory meeting to discuss a deadline extension for crane operation certifications.

According to OSHA, the original rule, which was issued in 2010, stated that certification was the only thing needed to operate a crane. Stakeholders, however, expressed concern that certification did not equal a safe level of competence. OSHA then responded with a final rule that postponed the deadline for operator certification, in addition to permitting the agency to determine operatory qualifications.

Thue, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

According to OSHA, the original rule, which was issued in 2010, stated that certification was the only thing needed to operate a crane.

As of the June 20 advisory meeting, OSHA is considering postponing enforcement until Nov. 18, 2018. Those consulted for their input included construction and safety experts.  

The 12-month delay would give OSHA the time needed to finish updating the crane certification rule.

Industry Concerns and Conflict

The chief executive officer of the Crane Institute of America Certification, James Headley, prior to meeting with the committee, voiced his recommendation against the delay.

“Now another extension is being sought when in reality we have a perfectly good operator certification requirement in place and have had since 2010,” Headley said.

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, on the other hand, supported the delay, although reluctantly, citing that OSHA needed more time to make the necessary amendments to the rule. Organization chief executive officer Graham Brent urged for OSHA to make a final ruling before the 2018 deadline, highlighting the fact that even supporters of the delay are somewhat hesitant in doing so.

Primary Concerns

While many industry insiders support OSHA’s mandate, there is still some concern over what testing would be needed for certification and if OSHA must intervene to determine if a crane operator is qualified. One point of resistance is precisely what the tests would cover.

© iStock.com / Bogdanhoda

While many industry insiders support OSHA’s mandate, there is still some concern over what testing would be needed for certification and if OSHA must intervene to determine if a crane operator is qualified. One point of resistance is precisely what the tests would cover.

Under 29 C.F.R. 1926 Subpart CC, the current rule, the agency expects that operators be certified in accordance with the type of crane and the machine’s lifting capacity. According to Bloomberg BNA, many in the industry want the capacity mandate to be done away with. An operator who was certified to lift five tons could not lift any more, and OSHA-mandated testing could potentially tie up machines from doing work.

In December 2016, OSHA announced that it was almost ready to release a proposed rule that would further explain its position. However, any such announcement has been stalled as OSHA continues without politically appointed leadership under the Trump administration.

   

Tagged categories: Building operations; OSHA

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