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


Seasoned Operators Pilot Test New CCO Practical Exam

December 2009  – Twenty-two experienced crane operators, most from the greater Chicago area “road tested” the Practical Exam portion of the new certified crane operator (CCO) program for articulating boom crane operators on September 30 and October 1 at South County Gypsum, an L&W Supply yard in Crown Point, IN. Representing a diverse cross-section of users, this select group helped the new program clear one of the final hurdles before the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) makes it available to the industry in early 2010. 

Like NCCCO’s other certification programs, this new Articulating Crane Operator (ACO) program includes both written and practical exams. So that the pilot test operators could test with familiar controls, both Practical Exam courses were set up and operators were encouraged to bring their own trucks. The following companies contributed time, people, and/or equipment so that 33 pilot tests could be completed during the two-day event: Allied Building Products; Big C Lumber; Bone Roofing Supply; Bradco Supply Co.; Cargotec, Inc; CraneTech; Eagle Concrete; Glover and Sons; South County Gypsum (L&W Supply); Overton Safety Training; ProBuild; REW Materials; and V&H Trucks, Inc.


Candidate navigates Test Weight through right-angle corridor, one of the four tasks required to pass the new ACO Practical Exam. 

All aspects of the new ACO Practical Exam were tested for clarity and completeness, from the course setup to the verbatim instructions read to each exam candidate and the scoring sheets themselves. Quantitative data for the experienced operators—including times and scores—was collected and run through the new system to validate the expected baseline scoring. The event’s host, Ted Gill, Safety Director for L&W Supply and Articulating Crane Task Force member noted, “These experienced operators’ test results show that the new ACO Practical Exam’s design and content is a fair and accurate way of evaluating a crane operator’s skill in a real-world environment.”

NCCCO’s Articulating Crane Task Force spent most of the last year designing a testing program consisting of three multiple-choice written examinations, covering Articulating Boom Loaders, Articulating Boom Cranes, and Articulating Boom Cranes with Winch Attachment. Separate practical examinations for Articulating Boom Cranes and Articulating Boom Loaders have also been developed. Candidates will choose one written exam and one or both practical exams, depending on the certifications they seek. Certifications are valid for five years, after which operators must take a recertification exam.

This new program was developed because as other CCO programs for mobile cranes, tower cranes, and overhead cranes have gained momentum and acceptance, the need for a distinct certification program addressing articulating cranes and their unique applications had become apparent. Articulating cranes require a different knowledge and skill set to operate, so NCCCO worked with key articulating crane manufacturers, users, and industry experts to develop this program.

According to NCCCO Executive Director Graham Brent, “This new ACO certification program promises to bring the same safety, insurance, and risk reduction benefits that NCCCO’s other certification programs have demonstrably delivered since 1995.” The Articulating Crane Council of North America (ACCNA), an affiliate division of the National Truck Equipment Association, and NCCCO cooperatively developed the ACO certification program for operators of truck-mounted articulating boom cranes. In addition to ACCNA and NCCCO personnel, the Task Force is made up of representatives of all facets of the industries that use articulated cranes in construction as well as material delivery. The Task Force members—all subject matter experts (SMEs) active in their fields—have met approximately every six weeks since the Task Force was established in December 2008 to develop and refine the program.

To do the jobs they are assigned, equipment operators must be appropriately qualified. NCCCO certification is a federally recognized means of ensuring personnel are qualified, which is why so many employers, federal agencies, states, labor unions, industry organizations, and insurance firms have come to recognize or require NCCCO certification. “Three states already require articulating boom crane operators to be certified,” said NCCCO Program Manager and Regulatory Affairs Coordinator Joel Oliva. “OSHA’s Proposed Federal Rule (C-DAC) that will revise construction crane standards also contains specific qualification requirements for articulating crane operators, and this new ACO certification program meets and/or exceeds also of these requirements,” noted Oliva.

Get additional information and updates about the new CCO Articulating Crane Operator certification program