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


Call for Volunteers: Digger Derrick Certification Task Force Established by NCCCO

May 2011 - The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) has announced plans to develop a new certification program for operators of digger derricks. This equipment is used primarily in the utility industry for setting poles, and positioning related materials. Volunteers for the Task Force that will develop the new program are currently being invited to participate in this effort which is expected to begin this summer.

Subject matter experts who would like to participate on the Task Force are encouraged to download an application form

The major manufacturers of digger derrick trucks are supporting NCCCO in its efforts to develop the certification program. Josh Chard, Manager—Prevention & Product Safety, Altec Industries, and Jim Olson, Product & Safety Engineer, Terex Utilities, have agreed to co-chair the Task Force.

Experts in their respective fields will staff 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. Other experts will serve as item writers to develop the actual exam questions. As with the current programs, a professional job task analysis will be conducted to serve as the foundation for exam development activities.

NCCCO Program Manager Joel Oliva stated that development would begin in June 2011 and continue throughout the year. “We have developed an aggressive schedule, with five subject matter expert meetings anticipated this year alone, beginning this summer,” he said. “Thanks to the current programs NCCCO has in place for crane operators, we have a great starting point; development of the digger derrick operator certification program could be largely complete by the first quarter of 2012.”

“The success of NCCCO’s certification programs for crane operators and other personnel has led to industry requests for certification of operators of another critical piece of lifting equipment, digger derricks,” said NCCCO President, John M. Kennedy, Manitowoc Crane Group (Manitowoc, WI). “Given the widespread adoption of its crane operator programs and the endorsements they have garnered, the industry clearly believes that NCCCO is the appropriate entity to develop and administer this new program.”

NCCCO Commission Chairman Kerry Hulse, Operations Manager of Deep South Crane & Rigging (Houston, TX), said that the new program would draw on three major resources: industry support, subject matter expertise, and psychometric guidance. “All elements of the new programs will be developed according to the strict psychometric standards that have been a hallmark of NCCCO’s certification programs since their inception,” he said. “The resulting certification process will be valid, reliable, and legally defensible.”

Hulse noted 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 ANSI is an indicator of a level of quality that is simply not available from every testing program that aspires to ‘certify’ individuals.”As with existing NCCCO programs, Hulse added, the new digger derrick operator certifications would meet all prevailing ANSI and OSHA standards. “We’ll have the federal rule that OSHA has prepared very much in mind,” said Hulse, “so all stakeholders can be confident that CCO certification will comply with all current and future state and federal requirements.”

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 programs 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 digger derrick operator certification program.” 


The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is a non-profit industry organization formed in 1995 to develop effective performance standards for safe crane operation to assist all segments of construction and general industry. Since NCCCO began testing in 1996, more than 500,000 written and practical exams have been administered to over 100,000 crane operators in all 50 states. NCCCO programs are the only certification programs to be recognized by Federal OSHA as meeting both OSHA and ASME requirements and be accredited by both ANSI and NCCA.