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New OSHA Guidelines for Crane Operators in 2018-19

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed new guidelines for construction professionals that operate cranes. Cranes are an integral part of the construction process, but current guidelines and certifications fail to accurately assess a crane operator’s skill and experience operating heavy machinery. As a result, OSHA is publishing new operator certification requirements this November to improve job site safety and reduce the number of crane-related accidents that occur each year. OSHA estimates that there are 71 crane-related fatalities every year. If you want to ensure that your project site is OSHA-compliant, consult an OSHA lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.

Changes to Certification and Licensing

These long-awaited changes aim to improve the certification process for crane operators by establishing unique requirements for different types of cranes and their lifting capacities. In other words, there will be a greater variety of crane certifications and more rigorous standards for acquiring them. By ensuring that crane operators are intimately familiar with different types of cranes, OSHA can reduce the number of crane-related fatalities that arise from user error. In a November press release, OSHA noted that these new certifications will ensure “more accredited testing organizations are eligible to meet OSHA’s certification program requirements.”

Licensing with Accredited Testing Services

From now on, all certification and licensing for crane operators must be completed under the supervision of one of the following:

  • Accredited testing service
  • Independently audited employer program
  • Military training
  • Compliance with qualifying state or local licensing requirements

8 Years in the Making

OSHA planned to implement similar revisions in 2010 with the intent of launching new certification programs in 2014. Conflicts with the proposed accrediting services and a lack of clear language derailed this initiative. When the time came to enact these changes in 2017, OSHA was still unable to get the job done. Fortunately, the new, specific certifications are now taking effect. These changes will go into effect in December 2018 sans the requirements for employers that evaluate crane operators and document their results which will take action in February 2019.

Final Considerations

One last component of these new guidelines is the inclusion of a new requirement that charges employers to “train operators as needed to perform assigned crane activities.” In addition, employers must provide suitable training for employees that will be operating new equipment.

These new guidelines are sure to improve crane operator safety and reduce the number of crane-related accidents in the construction industry.

If you would like to speak with our OSHA defense lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.