Crane Operator Licensing News Causes Industry Waves

In the United States and Canada, chatter about crane operator's licenses has been anything but quiet in the last few weeks. News of licenses being revoked, new regulations going into effect, and updates on county ordinances have all made headlines.

More than 10,000 crane operators in British Columbia have registered for assessment to comply with the province's new crane operator certification program requirements. WorkSafeBC, the provincial regulatory authority with respect to health and safety in the region, required crane operators to register for assessment by July 1, 2007. Starting this month, a team will begin its assessments of operators at their jobsites, rather than requiring operators to go to a test site to operate unfamiliar equipment. The assessment will validate that the operator understands how to use the load chart, as well as knows how to rig and make a lift.

The number of crane operators who have registered with the BC Association for Crane Safety (BCACS) is nearly double what the organization originally predicted. News of the unexpected volume of registrants has the rumor mill churning that the deadline will be postponed. But the delays are false, according to Fraser Cocks, executive director for the BCACS. He said it's possible that the deadline may be extended, but right now, the assessment deadline is still July 1, 2008.

On the other side of the continent, crane operator licenses have caused headlines of a different sort. In November, reported that 129 crane operators have had their licenses revoked in New York. By mid-December, that number had increased 30 percent. According to WSRY-TV in Syracuse, N.Y., only 1,800 of the 3,000 operator licenses have been reviewed so far, so more suspensions are likely.

The State Department of Labor suspended the licenses after an investigation found that several issued between 1972 and 2000 had gone to operators who had failed the practical exam. Of the nearly 200 licenses suspended, only one operator was found responsible for an accident over a span of 30 years, WSRY reported. The inspector general's office launched its probe last May, but the source or nature of the complaints triggering the investigation has not been revealed.

Finally, talks continue in Florida as the Miami-Dade ordinance for requiring crane operators to be certified in the county failed its reading in early December. This week, the proposed crane ordinance was deferred until the Board of County Commissioners meeting on March 18. The ordinance will not go into effect until certain portions of the ordinance have been reviewed. According to Bruce Whitten, chairman of the Florida Crane Owners Council, these portions include a review of the special crane inspector process, language requirements in the ordinance, and crane inspection requirements. We'll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

Online knowledge assessment

As crane operators face changes in their states or provinces, the Crane Inspection & Certification Bureau has introduced an online assessment tool to help operators assess their scope of knowledge of the OSHA regulations and ANSI/ASME standards.

CICB's Online Assessment Training is made up of a database of questions divided into 17 categories that cover everything from load charts to standards, communications, responsibilities, planning, rigging, and safety. The complexity of the questions is kept at a level that any operator should be able to answer without the need for additional documentation.

With the results broken down by category, the assessment shows the areas of weakness. This information can be carried into the training environment where that person can then focus on the areas that need the most attention, which makes it a great resource to help crane operators expand their knowledge.



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