National Commission for the
Certification of Crane Operators
Committed to Quality, Integrity, and Fairness in Testing since 1995


Digger Derrick Operator

Written Exam - Exam Outline

The written examination portion of the CCO Digger Derrick Operator certification program tests the following knowledge areas relating to the operation of digger derricks:

Domain 1: Site
(Approximately 11% of the test)

Domain 2: Pre-Operation
(Approximately 17% of the test)

Domain 3: Operation
(Approximately 36% of the test)

Domain 4: Technical Knowledge
(Approximately 19% of the test)

Domain 5: Manufacturers' Load Charts
(Approximately 17% of the test)


(Approximately 11% of the test)

  1. Know the ability of supporting surfaces to handle the expected loads. Elements of concern include, but are not limited to:
    1. Weakness below surface, such as voids, tanks, and loose fill
    2. Weakness on the surface, such as retaining walls, slopes, excavations, and depressions
    3. Firm, drained, and graded ground conditions for adequate support
    4. Job brief and overhead obstructions
  2. Know electric power line hazards, corresponding regulations, and safety practices
  3. Know how to identify and evaluate hazards associated with:
    1. Access to the job site
    2. Site hazards, such as underground utilities
    3. Transportation clearances
    4. Traffic control
  4. Know how to review lift requirements with site supervision, including:
    1. Lift/job plan
    2. Travel clearance
    3. Ground support
  5. Know site restrictions regarding personnel:
    1. Qualified employees
    2. Unauthorized public


(Approximately 17% of the test)

  1. Know and perform the following inspections:
    1. Controls
    2. Safety devices
    3. Operator aids
    4. Visual/audible warning devices
    5. Pre-travel and DOT inspection
    6. Structural/mechanical
    7. Load lines, hooks, rigging
  2. Know the requirements for personal protective equipment
  3. Know how to plan the job, including:
    1. Load charts
    2. Clearance/minimum approach distances
    3. Rigging
    4. Signalperson
  4. Know the requirements for grounding and/or barricading
  5. Know and understand the proper setup of digger derricks, including:
    1. Positioning and securing of the vehicle
    2. Outriggers
    3. Slopes
    4. Ice and snow
    5. Pads, mats, blocking, and cribbing
  6. Know the purpose of decals and placards
  7. Know the requirements for operating in various weather conditions and understand how environmental conditions affect the safe operation of the digger derrick
  8. Understand the operation of all controls and components
  9. Have general knowledge of booms, platforms, liners
    1. Insulated
    2. Non-insulated
  10. Know how to prepare the digger derrick for transportation:
    1. Loading/unloading from trailers


(Approximately 36% of the test)

  1. Know which federal regulations and industry standards affect safe operations of digger derricks, including, but not limited to:
    1. ANSI/ASSE A10.31
    2. OSHA 1910.180
    3. OSHA 1926 Subpart CC
  2. Have specific knowledge of dielectric protection and safety
    1. Insulated/non-insulated parts
  3. Know the proper use of material handling and phase lifting equipment
  4. Know how to identify unsafe equipment conditions/deficiencies and when to notify supervision
  5. Know how to swing and place the load smoothly and safely
  6. Know proper procedures for multiple–part line reeving
  7. Know standard method signals as specified in OSHA 1926 Subpart CC
    1. Hand signals
    2. Voice signals
    3. Non-standard/special
  8. Know how to shut down and secure the digger derrick properly when leaving it unattended
  9. Know how to verify the capacity of the digger derrick, weight of the load, rigging, and path prior to initiating the lift
  10. Know basic load rigging procedures
  11. Know how to use and understand the requirements for safety devices, including:
    1. Digger derrick level indicator
    2. Hydraulic outrigger holding/check valve devices
    3. Horn
  12. Know and understand the requirements for operational aids and temporary alternative measures for:
    1. Load weight indicating device (LMI, LML, rated load indicator)
    2. Anti two-block device
    3. Boom angle indicator
    4. Outrigger position sensors/monitors
  13. Know the proper procedure for operating safely under the following conditions:
    1. Operating near electric power lines
    2. Traveling under or near power lines
    3. Using a personnel platform
    4. Lifting loads from beneath the surface of the water
    5. Lifting stuck or embedded loads
    6. Handling loads out of the operator’s vision (“operating in the blind”)
    7. Swing radius hazards
  14. Know proper procedures for load control, including the use of:
    1. Insulated tools/PPE
    2. Tag lines
  15. Know how to react to emergency conditions like:
    1. Overhead/underground utility line contact
    2. Loss of stability
    3. Control malfunction
    4. Block and line twisting
    5. Personnel under load or in fall zone
    6. Fire
    7. Two-blocking
  16. Know the effects of dynamic loading from:
    1. Wind and weather
    2. Stopping and starting
    3. Impact loading
    4. Moving the load
  17. Know the effect of side loading
  18. Know the operator’s authority to stop operations
  19. Platform work:
    1. Fall-protection (including guard rails, gates, and PPE)
    2. Combined use
  20. Know the requirements of:
    1. Stowing/unstowing boom
    2. Stowing/unstowing auger
    3. Storing/unstoring equipment
  21. Know the requirements for the following operations:
    1. Digging
    2. Screw anchor installation
    3. Pole setting
    4. Pole pulling


(Approximately 19% of the test)

  1. Know basic digger derrick terminology and definitions
  2. Know functions and limitations of the digger derrick
  3. Know load line (wire and synthetic):
    1. Construction and working load limit
    2. Inspection procedures and replacement criteria
    3. Capacity, line pull, multi-part reeving
    4. Care and maintenance
    5. Lubrication of wire rope
  4. Know rigging devices
    1. Slings
    2. Spreaders
    3. Lifting beams
    4. Rigging hardware
    5. Saddles (softeners)
    6. Hooks
  5. Know the limitations of protective measures against electrical hazards:
    1. Assembly/disassembly in proximity to power lines
  6. Know the effects of the load share and load transfer in multi-digger derrick lifts
  7. Know the significance of the instruments and gauge readings
  8. Know the requirements for inspections and maintenance
    1. Shift/frequent
    2. Monthly/periodic
    3. Annual/comprehensive
    4. Records
  9. Know how to use attachments/accessories and their effect on the digger derrick’s operations
    1. Anchor adaptors
    2. Jibs
    3. Pole pullers
    4. Augers
    5. Phase lifting equipment
    6. Aftermarket attachments
  10. Know requirements for fall protection
  11. Know requirements for access and egress
  12. Know the general requirements that apply to assembly/disassembly operations
  13. Know the requirements of operator qualification/certification:
    1. Equipment familiarization
    2. General training
    3. Retraining/recertification
  14. Know the operations and requirements for the use of winches


(Approximately 19% of the test)

  1. Know the terminology necessary to use load charts
  2. Know how to ensure that the load chart is the appropriate chart for the machine in its particular application
  3. Know how to use capacity load charts, including:
    1. Operational limitations of load charts and notes
    2. Difference between structural capacity and capacity limited by stability
    3. What is included in load chart capacity
    4. The range diagram and its relationship to the load chart
    5. The work area chart and its relationship to the load chart
    6. Where to find and how to use the parts-of-line information
    7. The safe working load of hoist line
    8. Appropriate load-handling deductions
  4. Know how to use the load chart with:
    1. Hydraulic overload protection gauge
    2. Load weighing devices
  5. Know how to calculate net capacity for the digger derrick configuration using the applicable manufacturer’s load charts