Mobile Crane Operator Certification

CFR 1926.1427-Training And Certification For Mobile Crane Operators

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Mobile Crane Certification and Training is required Nationwide. The new law was published in the Federal Register on August 9, 2010 and took effect November 8, 2010. crane operators have 4 years to comply with this new ruling. Which will be November 10, 2014. The new ruling applies to operators using a crane on a construction site (see CFR1926.1427) cranes and derricks in construction.

Read our detailed questions & answers for information

Q. Does the final rule require construction crane operators to be certified or qualified?
A. Yes. By November 10, 2014, all equipment operators (except operators of derricks, sideboom cranes, and equipment rated at 2,000 pounds or less) must be certified/qualified under one of four specified options.

These options are:

  • Certification by an accredited crane operator testing organization;
  • Qualification by an audited employer program;
  • Qualification by the U.S. military;
  • or Licensing by a state or local government entity.

Where the scope of the final rule exempts equipment from all requirements of Subpart CC, operators of that equipment are not required to be certified. Operators of this equipment are still required to be qualified in accordance with other applicable requirements of 29 CFR Part 1926 as applicable, such as Subparts O, Motor Vehicles, Mechanized Equipment, and Marine Operations, and the general training or experience requirements of 1926.20(b)(4).

Q. Are operators required to be certified under existing state, county, or city licensing programs?
A. As of the effective date of the final rule, November 8, 2010, operators in states or localities with operator-licensing requirements must continue to meet those requirements. Failure to do so would likely violate the law of the licensing jurisdiction and, as explained in Q #19, could violate Subpart CC as well.

Q. Must employers in states without state or local licensing do anything before November 10, 2014 to ensure the competency of their operators?

A. Yes. As in the past, they must ensure that equipment operators are qualified by training and experience to operate the equipment safely. If an employee assigned to operate machinery does not have the required knowledge or ability to operate the equipment safely, the employer must train that employee prior to allowing him or her to operate the equipment and must evaluate the operator to confirm that he/she understands the information provided in the training. In addition, both before and after November 10, 2014, employers must ensure that operators of derricks, sideboom cranes, and equipment rated at 2,000 pounds or less are qualified by training and experience to operate the equipment safely.

In addition, employers in states with OSHA-approved state plans with state certification requirements that are effective before November 10, 2014 must comply with those requirements.

Q. if an operator has a state or local crane operator license, is the operator’s employer in compliance with OSHA’s standard when operating within the licensing jurisdiction?

A. The answer depends on whether the licensing criteria meet the minimum requirements (“federal floor”) in 29 CFR 1926.1427(e). If the state or local licensing program does meet the specifications in 29 CFR 1926.1427(e), and the operator is licensed accordingly, then OSHA does not require any additional certification for work performed within that state or locality. If the licensing program does not meet the federal floor, then OSHA does not require operators to be licensed in accordance with that program. Note, however, that the operator may still be subject to action by the state or local authority for failure to comply with its requirements even if its programs do not meet OSHA’s specifications. In addition, as of November 10, 2014, if the licensing program does not meet the federal floor, employers must use operators who are qualified/certified under one of the other methods specified by 29 CFR 1926.1427.

Q. How does an employer know whether an organization is an “accredited crane operator testing organization” and therefore qualified to certify operators?

A. To qualify for this title, the testing organization must be accredited by a “nationally recognized accrediting agency.” The definition of “nationally recognized accrediting agency” in 29 CFR 1926.1401 states that the term includes, but is not limited to, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). NCCA and ANSI have accredited several testing organizations, and their websites identify the organizations they have accredited. Note that a testing organization’s accreditation must be reviewed at least every three years, so employers looking for an accredited crane operator testing organization must make sure that an organization’s accreditation is current.

Q. How long is a certification by an accredited crane operator testing organization valid?

A. The above certification is valid for 5 years. After 5 years, it must be renewed to confirm that the operator’s knowledge and skills are up-to- date

Q. I plan to hire a new crane operator. An applicant for the job was certified for the equipment by an accredited testing organization while working for another employer. May I rely on that individual’s certification

A. Yes, such a certification is portable. However, as stated above, the certification is valid for only 5 years, after which it must be renewed. Please note that a qualification by an audited employer program or by the U.S. military is not portable.
Additionally, if the operator is certified under a state or local licensing program that meets the specifications in 29 CFR 1926.1427(e), the certification is only valid within the boundaries of the state or locality that issued the certification.

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

A. 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 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.

Q. I acquired a certification from a testing organization before November 10. 2014 and the test did not cover the new requirements of the revised crane standard. Do I need to take the test again before November 10, 2014, or will my current certification be grandfathered until my next scheduled recertification test?

A. Except as required within the jurisdictions of government entities, operator certification is not required until November 10, 2014. After then, the certification test must cover the new requirements. If your test did not cover the new requirements, your certification will not be valid. However, if your testing organization provides you with a supplemental test covering this material, and amends your documentation, your certification would be
considered valid.

Q. If the operator certification that I received from a testing organization does not identify the type and capacity of the equipment that I am certified to operate, will it be a valid certification?

A. No. After November 10, 2014, the revised rule requires your documentation to include the type and capacity of crane you have been certified to operator

Q. What is the crane operator certification examination like?

A. The exam consists of both a written and a practical test. The written test covers, among other topics, (1) the controls and operational/performance characteristics of the equipment; (2) use of, and the ability to calculate (manually or with a calculator), load/capacity information on a variety of configurations of the equipment; (3) procedures for preventing and responding to power line contact; (4) the ground conditions needed to support the equipment and load. The practical test is conducted with the operator at the controls of the equipment. It requires the operator to demonstrate, among other things, operational and maneuvering skills, the ability to apply load chart information, and the ability to safely shut down and secure the equipment.

Q. Must a candidate for operator certification take a training course before taking the exam?

A. No. The standard requires that the certification exam cover certain topics relevant to safe crane operation, but does not require any particular type of training. An experienced operator may have the necessary knowledge and skills without further training. However, a number of organizations offer courses that are designed to prepare an individual to take the exam. Even for experienced crane operators, such a course can help update the individual’s knowledge.

Q. Does OSHA have a list of approved training providers?

A. No. OSHA does not evaluate or approve crane operator training courses.

Q. Is the option for qualification by the U.S. Military available to employees of private contractors working under contract to the Department of Defense?

A. No. This option is only available to civilian and uniformed employees of the Department of Defense. Private contractors must use one of the other options for operator certification/qualification available under 29 CFR 1926.1427.

Q. I am planning to lease a crane with an operator. The lease provides that the operator will be certified in accord with OSHA requirements. Can I rely on the leasing company, or do I need to check the operator’s certification card?

A. In general, you are responsible for ensuring that the operator is certified. However, the standard does not specify how to ensure certification of the operator. Some methods for ensuring certification include but are not limited to: examining the operator’s certificate;A and if there is any question as to whether the operator’s certification is valid, you should contact the testing organization that issued the certification.

Q. Does OSHA require an operator to speak English in order to become certified?

A. No. The examination may be administered in any language the operator candidate understands. It may be administered verbally as long as the operator can demonstrate that he or she is literate in the language of the exam and demonstrates the ability to use the type of written manufacturer procedures applicable to the class/type of equipment for which the candidate is seeking certification. The operator’s certificate must note the language in which the exam was given, and the employee may only operate a crane that is furnished with materials required by the standard that are written in the language of the certification.
It should be noted that in accordance with 1926.1421(c), if there is a lift director or signal person used during the operation of the equipment, the operator must be able to effectively communicate with those individuals.

Q. Is a person who is being trained to be an operator permitted to operate the equipment as part of that individual’s training before becoming certified?

A. Yes. An operator-in-training may operate equipment under the conditions and limitations set forth in 29 CFR 1926.1427(f).

All Purpose Safety Training Solutions, LLC. provides Mobile Crane Training and certification for crane operators. Our two to three day prep class will help crane operators pass the required written test. Our trainers are knowledgable and experienced crane operators. Operators must pass a core exam and a specialty exam.
We help individuals or companies through the certification process. Our team will assist in the administration of processing applications and scheduling written test dates as well as practical test dates. Our one stop shop makes it more convenient for businesses and individuals.
All Purpose Safety Training Solutions, LLC. provides training for operators with no experience and with experience. Crane training can be done at your site, or open enrollment sites are available through out the United States.


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