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2012

Lift Directors to Get Certification Program

April 2012 - In response to requests by industry and other stakeholders, the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) has begun development of a new national certification program for lift directors. This new multi-disciplinary certification will demonstrate that those responsible for planning and executing lifts have the knowledge and skills required for their unique jobs and responsibilities.

More than twenty industry experts have volunteered to participate in the work of the NCCCO Lift Director Task Force, which held its first meeting in Houston, February 15-17, 2012, at the offices of the Houston Business Roundtable. Also sponsoring the event were Bishop Lifting Products, Inc. and TNT Crane & Rigging, both based in Houston.

The Lift Director Task Force is being chaired by NCCCO Commissioner William “Hank” Dutton, technical services senior specialist with construction risk control at Travelers Insurance. “Considering NCCCO’s long history of success developing nationally recognized certifications for crane operators, riggers, signalpersons, and most recently inspectors,” Dutton said, “this new certification is a logical next step in NCCCO’s efforts to ‘close the loop’ on crane and lifting safety.”

According to Joel Oliva, NCCCO Program Manager for Test Development, “This new certification will be a valuable tool for construction professionals and companies to ensure that the people who are directing lifting operations and who are responsible for the safety of the people, machinery, and materials involved—as well as the public at large—are qualified.”

The Task Force will meet for two to three days every six to eight weeks to develop the new certification program, which is targeted for launch by the end of 2012.

A lift director is defined by ASME B30.5 as the person who “directly oversees the work being performed by a crane and the associated rigging crew.” As a result, lift directors must know about all of the technical aspects and personnel roles involved with lifting operations. This can range from ensuring adequate ground conditions to managing communications among all lift team members to orchestrating complex, multi-crane lifts. Lift directors are also responsible for stopping crane operations if alerted to an unsafe condition, restricting unauthorized access to the crane’s work area, allowing crane operation near power lines only when OSHA and ASME guidelines have been met, informing the operator of the weight of loads, and ensuring that the load is properly rigged.

As with other NCCCO certifications, the new program will draw on three major resources: industry support, subject matter expertise, and psychometric guidance. Experts in their respective fields are participating on the task force and will be guided by psychometric consultants from International Assessment Institute (IAI), the testing services company that has provided exam development and administration services to NCCCO since 1999. As with current CCO programs, a professional job task analysis will be conducted to serve as the foundation for exam development activities.

NCCCO Commission Chairman Kerry Hulse, Operations Manager of Deep South Crane & Rigging. Houston, TX, noted that all elements of the new programs would be developed according to the strict psychometric standards that have been a hallmark of NCCCO’s certification programs since their inception. “The resulting certification process will be valid, reliable, and legally defensible,” he said.

Hulse also stated that NCCCO would be seeking accreditation for the new program once completed, such as it has achieved for its other certifications. “Accreditation from a national personnel certification accreditation body such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is an indicator of a level of quality that is simply not available from every testing program that aspires to ‘certify’ individuals.” he said. As with existing NCCCO programs, Hulse added, the new lift director certification will meet all prevailing ANSI and OSHA standards.

NCCCO Executive Director Graham Brent said, “Employers and candidates have a right to expect that the exams that they or their employees are taking are fair and accurate, and that they have been developed to the very highest professional standards of test construction and administration.” NCCCO will model the development of the new program on its existing certification programs, Brent added. “Our certification models have been very successful in the eyes of the industry, and NCCCO will continue to use those principles to build the lift director certification program.”