In an interpretation letter released January 21, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that while crane operators must pass a practical examination to operate cranes, they do not have to be re-qualified under current federal standards. Current federal standards require crane operators to meet the requirements prescribed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Safety Code for Crawler, Locomotive, and Truck Cranes. The ANSI Code requires operators to pass a practical operating examination, limited to the specific type crane they will operate, but does not contain a provision requiring re-qualification by the operator.

A new crane safety rule proposed by OSHA on October 9, 2008 may change all that. The new rule is said to address ground conditions, the assembly and disassembly of cranes, the operation of cranes near power lines, the certification and training of crane operators, the use of safety devices and signals, and the inspection of cranes. While this new proposed rule is said to have broad support among those in the construction industry, a provision of the proposed rule requiring crane operators to be certified by a third-party remains in dispute.

Steven K. Metcalf

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