SC&RA and Others Seek to Clarify Pending Crane Operator Certification Rules

The SC&RA reports it has been working with the NCCCO, Small Business Administration (SBA), and OSHA to provide clarification to OSHA’s interpretation of the pending crane operator certification requirements.


Beth O’Quinn, vice president of the SC&RA and Graham Brent, executive director of NCCCO, met earlier this week with officials at SBA to discuss the economic impact on small businesses should OSHA’s implied interpretation regarding testing on specific crane capacities be enforced.  The SBA, at SC&RA’s and NCCCO’s urging, is scheduling a meeting in September and inviting OSHA officials, small business and construction industry representatives to further discuss the issue and its implications on the industry.


In November 2010, OSHA adopted Regulation 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC requiring all crane operators in the United States be certified according to the new standard effective November 10, 2014. The rule further specifies that certification written and practical tests be conducted by type and capacity.


On May 10, 2012, OSHA issued a document containing the answers to 50 Frequently Asked Questions to clarify the regulation. In the FAQ document, question 21 and OSHA’s response reads as follows:

“Does an operator’s certification mean that the operator is qualified to operate any type of equipment covered by the standard?

“No, an operator may operate a particular piece of equipment if the operator is certified for that type and capacity of equipment or for higher-capacity equipment of that type. For example, an operator certified for a 100-ton hydraulic crane may operate a 50-ton hydraulic crane but not a 200-ton hydraulic crane. If no accredited testing agency offers certification examinations for a particular type and/or capacity of equipment, an operator is considered to be qualified to operate that equipment if the operator has been certified for the type/capacity of equipment that is most similar to that equipment and for which a certification examination is available. The operator’s certificate must state the type/capacity of equipment for which the operator is certified. “


Based on this interpretation, individuals may only operate cranes of a lower capacity than the crane they tested on and may not operate a crane of a higher capacity (even if the crane is the same type).  It is SC&RA’s position that the intent of the initial regulation was to require certification tests by crane type but not specific capacity.  The association further says the FAQ interpretation will cause an additional fiscal impact to employers that was never considered during the economic impact study.


Currently, 17 states certify crane operators and none has a capacity requirement in its program.