NCCCO Announces Code of Ethics, Updates Practical Exams

Two task forces commissioned by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) will meet this week to begin developing certification programs for riggers and signalpersons. The timeline for completion of these programs is expected to take about 18 months, according to Graham Brent, NCCCO Executive Director.

Brent recently gave an update on this and other NCCCO activities during the 2007 Specialized Carriers & Rigging Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Among the announcements are the adoption of a code of ethics, changes to practical exams and the naming of new directors and officers.

The organization's Code of Ethics for CCO-certified crane operators calls for operators to perform their work in a manner that is (i) free of bias with regard to religion, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin and disability; (ii) so as to place the safety and welfare of workers associated with the lifting operation above all other considerations; and (iii) so as to protect nearby general public, property and the environment. Other points call for operators to make management aware of safety concerns, to obey safety regulations, to accurately represent their capabilities, and to not misuse the CCO certification card. The full Code of Ethics can be read at

“All professional crane operators recognize that CCO certification is a privilege that must be earned and maintained. It is entirely appropriate that certification should carry with it a responsibility to carry out lifting duties in a safe and ethical manner,” said Brent. CCO-certified crane operators who intentionally or knowingly violate any provision of the Code of Ethics will be subject to action by a peer review panel, the Ethics and Discipline Committee, which may result in suspension or revocation of certification.

Other updates to NCCCO programs include the removal of the barrel ballast for telescopic crane practical exams and changes to accommodate short boom lattice crane testing.

Effective May 1, 2007, the 20 pounds of barrel ballast (weight) that is used in Task 3: Ball in Barrels will be removed for the small and large telescopic crane practical exams. The lattice boom crane practical exams (crawler or truck) will continue to use the 20 pounds of ballast for each barrel. The decision to remove the ballast was made after a detailed analysis of test statistics over a multi-year period as well as field reports from practical examiners. It was determined that, in some cases, instead of controlling the headache ball movement with appropriate control techniques (catching the load), candidates were using the weighted barrels inappropriately as a means to stop the headache ball from swinging.

Effective March 1, 2007, NCCCO began processing practical exam site requests for short boom configurations. Previously, all lattice boom cranes used for practical tests were required to have a boom of at least 120 feet plus or minus the shortest section (80 feet plus or minus the shortest section for cranes with capacities of 50 tons and below). Practical exam testing for shorter boom lattice cranes, however, are now permitted, provided that the testing is conducted on the longest boom length for which a rating chart is provided by the manufacturer. This includes equipment such as railroad cranes.

And, finally, NCCCO announces its 2007 directors and officers. John Kennedy, Manitowoc Crane Group, has been named president for a third, one-year term. Ronald Schad, Essex Crane Rental, continues as immediate past president. J. Chris Ryan, Boh Bros. Construction, will serve his third term as secretary/treasurer. Elected to a one-year term as vice president is Gary Higdem, CH2M Hill, who has served as vice president since 2002.

Kerry Hulse, Deep South Crane & Rigging, continues to serve the Board in the capacity of Chairman, Commissioners. Other members of the Board are: Stephen Brown, International Union of Operating Engineers; Dale Daul, Travelers; Robert Steiner, Kelley Equipment Co. of Florida; and Gene Owens, Granite Construction.