In May, OSHA announced its intention to extend the November 10, 2017 compliance date for crane operator certification. The proposal was presented on June 20 to the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health. Although nothing official has been issued, OSHA is expected to issue a formal extension of the enforcement date by one year to November 2018.
The latest proposed delay comes more than six years after the crane rule was issued in 2010. Among the issues which need to be resolved are whether testing operators should be done by type of crane as well as by capacity. Many in the industry think testing by capacity is onerous. The other issue is whether certification is equivalent to qualification. Many employers argue that certification is a baseline and that other factors must be evaluated to determine if an operator is qualified for a specific lifting scenario.
According to Bloomberg BNA, “The 12-month delay would give the agency time to complete work on an updated rule (RIN:1218-AC96) and determine how the rulemaking would fit into the Trump administration mandate limiting new regulations.”
Many in the industry speculate that existing language will be substantially changed to remove the requirement for certification by crane capacity and to better define the role of certification in determining whether or not an operator meets OSHA’s definition of qualified.
“CIS supports national crane operator certification regulations, but we are hopeful that OSHA will modify current language. Certification should be required but acknowledged as a learner’s permit. Meanwhile, qualification should be documented by employers demonstrating an operator’s skill by type of crane, not by make and model of crane. Finally, qualification of operators should be re-evaluated and documented annually,” said Debbie Dickinson, CEO of Crane Industry Services, LLC.
Despite the likely one-year delay, Lexology.com reports, “Employers remain responsible for ensuring that these operators are properly trained on the equipment assigned to them. We suggest that companies do internal compliance or policy reviews periodically to ensure that their policies comply with the latest, changing standards.
ACCSH FAQ for the May 20 meeting regarding the compliance date extension.
Federal Register Notice June 6, 2017 of the ACCSH June 20 meeting.