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


CCO Signalperson Certification Development Complete

July 2008 -The task forces established last year by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) to develop certification programs for signalpersons and riggers, respectively, have been hard at work over the past several months.

That hard work has paid off with the news in June that program development work for Signalperson Certification was now complete.

“Essentially, that leaves a certain amount of administrative support work to be completed, as well as final program implementation issues to be addressed,” said Task Force chairman, Kenny Shinn.  “We are on track for third quarter implementation,” Shinn added.  “Candidates should begin preparing for the first exam administrations in October this year.”

This final preparation stage includes the hosting of Practical Examiner Accreditation Workshops for those interested in becoming NCCCO Signalperson Practical Examiners.  For the initial workshops, all applicants are required to hold a current Practical Examiner card in any of the other NCCCO programs.


The Signalperson certification program will consist of a 60 question, multiple-choice written exam designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of standard hand signals, and voice signals, as well as a basic understanding of crane operations and limitations.  In this respect, it follows the intent of the latest ASME B30.5 Mobile and Locomotive Crane and B30.3 Construction Tower Crane standards as well as the yet-to-be-published OSHA Proposed Rule (otherwise known as C-DAC) that will revise Subpart N of the Code of Federal Regulations for cranes.

For the practical exam, the Task Force was faced with the difficult task of creating a test that was effective at measuring skills, while remaining simple to administer.  The solution was a practical exam using a computer-based delivery system.  Practical exam candidates will face a projection screen and view computer-generated animations of a crane demonstrating different operations.  Some questions will require a candidate to give the appropriate hand or voice signal(s), while others will test a candidate on his or her understanding of a crane’s response once a particular signal is given.

“The Signalperson Practical Exam is a fair and remarkably accurate way of testing candidates on their understanding of hand and voice signals, while not requiring the use of an actual crane,” said Shinn.

Before program release, NCCCO, together with psychometric specialists, International Assessment Institute (IAI), will be working hard to put together informational materials for candidates, examiners, and test sites.

“In light of developments at federal and state level, we are anticipating heavy demand for signalperson certification,” said Dr. Anthony Mitchell, IAI President.  “Employers are eagerly awaiting this program’s release and I think they will be very pleased with our final product.”

As excitement builds for the Signalperson Program, the Rigger Certification Program is close behind, with a new emphasis on completing Level 1: Basic Rigger for release by the end of the year.

“The complexity of this program has led our Task Force to focus on finishing this initial piece of the program,” said Don Jordan, Rigger Task Force Chairman, “with the second component following close behind.”  The rigger program is expected to consist of three levels of certification: Level 1-Basic; Level 2-Intermediate, and Level 3-Advanced/Critical Lift, Jordan explained.