Crane Rulemaking Committee Addresses Operator Certification

As the OSHA Crane and Derrick Negotiated Rulemaking Committee's (C-DAC) July deadline for reaching consensus approaches, one significant stumbling block appears to be the certification of crane operators.

A majority of committee members want the new rule to require the certification of crane operators by an accredited organization, according to Graham Brent, executive director of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. But two industry groups, the National Association of Homebuilders and Associated General Contractors (AGC), disagree. The committee discussed the issue during its May 4-7 meeting in Washington, DC.

"We feel the certification and accreditation process is a means of determining the competency of operators," explained Jim Brown, director of safety and health for AGC of Indiana. "But we don't believe it's necessarily the means there are other methods that are much more economical and that are as protective."

Brown explained that contractors prefer a provision resembling that found in OSHA's powered industrial trucks standard (1910.178). According to this rule, employers are allowed to ensure that operators have successfully completed a training course, the contents of which are spelled out in the standard.

Contractors are currently one vote shy of the three they need to scuttle the unwanted provision. But two dissenting votes from such big organizations with large memberships could pose some undesired complications for the rule, according to Brent.

The next scheduled meeting of C-DAC will be during June and its location will shift to Phoenix, Ariz.

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