Boom in knowledge on OSHA's construction crane rule

Date Posted: 06/19/2019
OSHA's construction crane rule

OSHA's Crane and Derricks in Construction (29 CFR 1926.1427) standard addresses workplace certification requirements for crane operators in the construction industry. Crane operators in construction can be certified through an accredited crane operator testing organization, or through an audited employer program.

Any construction worksite using a crane will need to understand OSHA's operator certification requirements. Employers had until November 10, 2018, to comply with this standard.

OSHA's three extensions for operator certification requirements were a result of wide feedback centered around the requirement to be certified by crane "capacity and type." Previously many operators were not certified by "capacity and type"—rather just "type" only.

General Industry crane operators need training too

Crane operators working under OSHA's 1910 General Industry standards aren't required to be certified. Instead, under 1910.179(b)(8), OSHA says only designated personnel are allowed to operate a crane. According to 1910.179(a)(35), designated means an operator who's qualified to operate the crane. Generally, qualified means that the operator is able to safely operate the crane and has demonstrated the ability to do so to the employer through training, experience, or instruction.

Four different options for construction

OSHA requires employers to ensure their crane operators complete one of the following to become certified under its standard:

  1. Certification by an independent testing organization accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency,
  2. Qualification by an employer’s independently audited program,
  3. Qualification by the U.S. military, or
  4. Compliance with qualifying State or local licensing requirements (mandatory when applicable).

Each of these four options requires a crane operator to be certified by both "capacity and type."

Keep your swing radius clear

Some other important requirements to the 2010 Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard include:

  1. Ground conditions underneath the crane must be adequate to support it.
  2. Workers must be trained on updated crane assembly/disassembly requirements that focus on struck-by or crush hazards avoidance.
  3. Maintain proper clearance away from powerlines while operating a crane.
  4. A pre-erection inspection must be performed, for tower cranes, by employees.
  5. Synthetic slings must be used while climbing tower cranes and during crane assembly activities. 
  6. Qualified riggers must be used for crane assembly and disassembly activities.
  7. Crane use related fall protection requirements were clarified and must be followed by employers.
  8. Updated requirements have been added for certain equipment, like floating cranes, that were vague in previous versions of Subpart CC standards.

Operators and employees are responsible for showing competency for safety rules to their employer.

How Safety Management Suite Can Help

Many OSHA standards require you to provide training to workers, including this standard. Training should occur initially at new hire and thereafter on a needed basis. Some standards will specify training interval requirements. Crane training topics should also include: swing radius safety, how to inspect, rigging safety, don’t swing loads over workers, tagline safety requirements, and fall protection.

In addition to your site-specific training, you can find classroom and online training in the J. J. Keller® SAFETY MANAGEMENT SUITE to enhance or jump start your site-specific training. You can also use the Audits & Inspections Tool to develop a checklist to inspect your crane, rigging, and work area.

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