NCCCO Plans Focus Groups, Develops New Programs

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is planning a full slate of activities at ConExpo 2008, scheduled for March 11-15 in Las Vegas, Nev. Complete information on all CCO crane operator certification and practical examiner accreditation programs will be available at NCCCO's booth, L-3102.

In addition, an opportunity to learn more about two new programs coming in 2008 will be provided via two focus group meetings. The focus groups, on CCO rigger certification and signal person certification, will meet in one hour back-to-back sessions on March 12 and March 14. Feedback from focus group participants will be reviewed prior to the launch of the programs later in the year.

The certification programs for riggers and signalpersons will become a reality later this year as the NCCCO makes significant progress in development of the two new programs.

Two task forces NCCCO set up in April of last year are well on their way toward completion of separate programs aimed at helping to “complete the loop” with regard to crane safety on construction sites. “The role of the crane operator, and the need to ensure he or she is qualified, is well understood,” said Kerry Hulse, NCCCO commission chairman. “What these new certifications are geared towards is ensuring that crane operators are given safely rigged loads to lift in the first place, along with accurate visible or audible directions on where to place them.”

Both programs will consist of a written and a practical examination. “Development is being 'double-tracked' to speed things along and provide for optimum synergy between the two task forces,” said Phillip Kinser, NCCCO manager, program development. The task forces are made up of some 60 volunteers, representing all facets of the industries that use cranes in construction, and all of them are active in their field. Identified as subject matter experts (SMEs), and trained by NCCCO in program development, they have been meeting approximately every six weeks since the task forces were established last April.

By last December, a job analysis had been conducted for both programs in accordance with the standards for educational and psychological testing. In addition, SMEs in each task force have now identified the necessary knowledge and skills for each activity, and grouped them into content areas. Don Jordan, rigging task force chairman, noted that, for riggers, these focus on the scope of the rigging activity, planning the rigging activity, selection of rigging components, inspection of rigging, and the execution of the rigging activity.

The signal person task force has decided that signal persons need to know and understand both hand signals and voice communications, have a basic knowledge of crane operations, understand specific considerations concerning the construction site, and know applicable safety standards and regulations. “All the knowledge statements the task force has selected for its five content domains have been identified as being critical to the task of signaling crane operators safely,” said Kenny Shinn, signal person task force chairman.

“Although there are currently no state or federal requirements for either riggers or signal persons to be certified, all construction personnel must be qualified, and CCO certification is a means of ensuring this is the case,” said Graham Brent, NCCCO executive director. In addition, he noted that the Federal Proposed Rule that would revise 29 CFR 1926.550 contains specific qualification requirements for both.

Signal person certification should be available by mid-year, with rigger certification following closely on behind.

Anyone interested in participating in the focus groups at ConExpo should contact NCCCO at ejones@nccco.org.