NCCCO Describes Articulating Crane Operator Certification in Detail

Mobile crane operator certification is moving beyond telescopic and lattice boom cranes. According to Joel Oliva, the National Commission of the Certification of Crane Operators’s program manager and regulatory affairs coordinator, North Carolina, Washington, and California have regulations that require articulating boom crane operators to be certified. “OSHA’s Proposed Federal Rule (C-DAC) that will revise construction crane standards also contains specific qualification requirements for articulating crane operators,” he said.

To meet this need, the NCCCO has introduced its Articulating Crane Operator (ACO) certification program. Last week at ICUEE, the organization laid out the details of the program, which is slated to be launched in early 2010. Like all other NCCCO certification programs, accreditation for the new program will be obtained through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

ACO Certification Program
The NCCCO program will offer three operator certifications: Articulating Crane Boom, Articulating Boom Loaders (such as wallboard cranes), and Articulating Boom Cranes with Winch Attachments. Eligibility requirements include a medical evaluation, acceptance of the NCCCO’s Code of Ethics, and passing of written and practical exams.

For the 140-question written exam, candidates choose of one of the three cranes that fits their knowledge base. Questions are based on the site and crane setup, operations, technical knowledge, and manufacturer’s load charts.

The certification program also will have two separate practical exams: one for Articulating Boom Cranes with 22- to 30-foot boom lengths and 30-foot boom lengths and up, and the other for Articulating Boom Loaders with boom lengths that are 40 feet and up. New elements were added to the practical exam because of the nature of the knuckleboom crane, including placing weight in a corral, doing a blind pick and moving through a zigzag, and placing a test weight into a test bed.

NCCCO used the biennial tradeshow as a place for attendees to test their crane operating skills on a sample test course that is the basis for the ACO certification program’s practical examination. Attendees had the opportunity to run the course using a Hiab articulating crane and provide feedback on the test. NCCCO is also using the information collected from ICUEE to determine the optimal time each ACO candidate will need to take the practical exam.

Task Force Achievements
The Articulating Crane Operator certification program fulfills an industry need identified last year by crane users, manufacturers, and the Articulating Crane Council of North America (ACCNA). Oliva said this new ACO certification program meets and/or exceeds the requirements of the state and proposed federal regulations.

Although the program has been in development by the Articulating Crane Task Force for only nine months, Graham Brent, NCCCO’s executive director, said completion of this work in such a short space of time is a remarkable achievement. “[It] is a tribute to the support of all the world’s leading manufacturers of articulating boom cranes represented in North America that have committed resources to this vitally important project,” he added.

The Articulating Crane Program comprises a task force of 23 members, including Bradco Supply Corp., Crane Tech, Fascan International, Fischer Crane Co., Gypsum Management and Supply, Hiab, Iowa Mold Tooling, IUOE Local 825 Operating Engineers, KJ Shinn, L&W Supply Corp., Lifting Solutions Corp., Manitowoc Crane Group, National American Lifting Equipment/Effer USA, Overton Safety Training, Palfinger North America, PM North America, Ruco Equipment Co., Trench Plate Rental Co., and V&H Trucks.

Task force members have met approximately every six weeks since its establishment in December 2008 to develop and refine the program. Additionally, the group is putting together a reference manual for articulating cranes that will be available on NCCCO’s website in the next two months.