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2008

California Operator Certification - Three Years On

September 2008 - More than 10,000 crane operators have been certified in California, most of them in the last three years since the state requirement went into effect.

This noteworthy statistic formed part of a report last month by Graham Brent, Executive Director of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), to the Cal-OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board.

While mobile crane operators accounted for the vast majority of certifications, Brent said, NCCCO had certified almost 400 tower crane operators, and the number continued to rise.  The mobile crane type most frequently selected by crane operators was the fixed cab telescopic crane, followed by the swing cab type.

CCO practical examinations continue to be administered by practical examiners trained by NCCCO.  Since 2004, NCCCO has conducted 16 Practical Examiner Workshops in 10 cities in California, including one this past January in Sacramento.

A total of 91 practical examiners in the State of California are currently authorized to administer CCO practical exams, of which 50 are classified as “for hire” indicating they are available to be hired by employers to administer CCO practical exams. In addition, practical examiners from other states provide practical examination services in the state.

In order to preserve its independent status as a third-party provider of certification NCCCO does not conduct training.  However, since training is an integral part of the qualification process, NCCCO maintains a list of training providers on its web site as a public service to candidates and employers.  As of July 1, this list included 26 firms with headquarters in California.  In addition, many others provide training services from out of state.

A recent initiative aimed at further improving access to the CCO testing process in California was the selection of this state by NCCCO for the debut of its delivery system of written exams via computer (CBT).  Initially piloted in the first two months of this year, this program was officially launched in March after careful selection of a specialist CBT services provider, LaserGrade, whose parent company, PSI, is headquartered in Burbank, CA.

NCCCO currently offers its full mobile and recertification exams (18 exams in all) through 33 LaserGrade test sites in 27 cities in California. While in no way intended to replace the traditional pencil-and-paper delivery system, CBT testing, with its ease of scheduling, online registration, and speed of score reporting, offers candidates an additional means of access to the testing process required by the state of California.

California’s requirement for operators of most cranes in general industry and construction to be certified by an accredited certifying entity came into effect in June 2005.