According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) rules and regulations governing cranes and derricks, a rigger must be considered a “qualified rigger” to perform certain tasks on the project site. In this brief article, an OSHA attorney will discuss what distinguishes a qualified rigger from a normal rigger. Contractors who allow an unqualified rigger to perform tasks related to lifting and hoisting could find themselves subject to an OSHA citation. For all of your OSHA defense needs, consult with an OSHA defense lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.
Defining a “Qualified Rigger”
In order for a rigger to be considered a qualified rigger, they must meet two primary criteria:
- They must have in their possession a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or otherwise have extensive (and verifiable) knowledge, training, and experience.
- They must demonstrate their ability to find and execute solutions to problems involving rigging loads.
Qualified riggers need not possess the qualifications for every type of rigging job imaginable, only the task at hand. Since every rigging load has unique characteristics, handling them can either be simple or complex. That said, a rigger’s prior experiences don’t guarantee that they are qualified to rig “unstable, unusually heavy, or eccentric loads that may require a tandem lift, multiple lifts, or use of custom rigging equipment.” It’s up to the contractor to make certain that the person tasked with rigging work is qualified and has the proper equipment for each and every job they are asked to do.
Certified Operator vs. Qualified Rigger
Certified operators and qualified riggers require distinct certifications, although a certified operator could potentially meet the qualifications for qualified rigger if they have the relevant knowledge and experience. Still, the qualifications for these two positions differ, and allowing one or the other to take on tasks they are not qualified for could result in an OSHA citation. If you aren’t certain whether or not an employee meets the necessary criteria for either of these positions, consult an OSHA attorney.
Other Important Considerations
Although there are many accredited organizations and other third party entities that offer services assessing qualified rigger candidates, the contractor is not required to utilize them. Additionally, a qualified rigger is not required to carry documentation pertaining to their qualifications. Qualified riggers can choose to carry such documents, but it is ultimately up to the contractor to determine whether or not they are suitable for the current job. Lastly, earning a license or certification through accredited channels does not qualify a rigger as an evaluator. Evaluating whether or not an employee qualifies for a particular rigging job is always the responsibility of the employer.
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.