Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule, Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Operator Certification Extension, which delays its deadline for employers to ensure that crane operators are certified by one year, from Nov. 10, 2017, to Nov. 10, 2018. OSHA is also delaying its employer duty to ensure that crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely for the same one-year period. The final rule is effective on Nov. 9, 2017.
On Aug. 9, 2010, OSHA issued a final rule for cranes and derricks in construction through a negotiated rulemaking process. The final rule required employers to ensure that their crane operators were certified by Nov. 10, 2014. After the final rule was published, several entities informed OSHA that the crane operator certification was insufficient for determining whether an operator could safely operate their equipment on a construction site. In response, OSHA held a number of public meetings to discuss the issue.
Due to the concerns raised at the meetings, OSHA proposed to extend the deadline for crane operator certification by three years, to Nov. 10, 2017, and to extend the existing employer duties for that same period. In advance of the publication of the proposed rule, OSHA presented the proposal to the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH), which recommended instead that OSHA postpone certification indefinitely pending further rulemaking and continue the existing employer duties for that same period.
On Sept. 26, 2014, OSHA issued a final rule extending from Nov. 10, 2014, to Nov. 10, 2017, the enforcement date for crane operator certification as well as the employer duty to ensure crane operator competency for construction work.
On Aug. 30, 2017, OSHA proposed a second delay in order to address stakeholder concerns about the operator certification requirements. The proposal would delay the deadline for operator certification and extend the existing employer duties for one year, to Nov. 10, 2018.
ABC filed comments on OSHA’s proposal to extend the operator certification in Cranes and Derricks in Construction on Sept. 27. In its comments, ABC reiterated its position that while it appreciated OSHA’s proposed one-year delay, ABC strongly encouraged the agency to consider an indefinite extension. Extending the certification deadline indefinitely would alleviate any confusion regarding the current compliance deadline and allow OSHA to craft the safest possible solution to the type and capacity issue.
By Dan Parks, ABCWI Safety Manager